Find a Balanced Eating Philosophy
What comes to mind when you think of the word diet? For most people, it’s probably related to the idea of a deprived, temporary, weight-loss oriented way of eating – ugh! I wanted to write a post about this topic because that negative connotation really just relates to a “fad diet”. These diets advertised on TV and in magazines, that we have all been bombarded with, are meant to be quick-fixes. They really just leave people right where the started. I feel like this is how most people have shaped their perception of what “diet” means. But guess what? Your grandma was right, there’s no such thing as a quick fix! Health takes dedication and time, and you CAN change your meaning of the word diet to find a renewed relationship to your food.
Your diet is the way you choose to eat, every day, as part of your lifestyle. Embracing a customized, mindful approach to your personal way of eating is an empowering way to reach your health goals. For example, my diet is gluten-free, dairy-free, made up of whole foods (like tons of produce) and low in added sugar and grains. I have experimented a LOT and this is how I feel my best. This is my commitment to lifelong healthy eating. Yes, I can have days like everyone else where I overindulge on not-so-good-for-me foods, but I get back into my normal dietary rhythm as soon as I can. Ups and downs are just a natural part of being human. Nobody is perfect all the time, and an obsession with healthy eating in an extremely restrictive manner is actually now categorized as an eating disorder called “orthorexia”. Flexibility is an important part of health.
People embrace different diets for different reasons. Food sensitivities or allergies are important motives for avoiding certain food, like eliminating gluten, dairy, or nuts, among lots of other possibilities. Another example, some people with autoimmune conditions find that grains and legumes make their condition worse. As you age you might notice differences in what your body needs, which can lead to new dietary preferences and patterns as well.
Finding a diet that agrees with your morals is also a huge part of deciding what to eat. Some people are Vegan because they are passionate about animal rights and so they do no eat any byproduct of another living thing. Others are Vegan because health research led them to that decision. Then there are those of us that do eat meat but prioritize quality, opting to buy from sources that provide animals with natural, humane settings and healthy diets. Certain people buy organic products because they support an integrity for the land, fair treatment of farmers, and the productions of foods without chemical residues. Religion, culture, and location are some other aspects that can affect what kind of diet you choose. There are many dietary labels out there, like Vegan, Paleo, Pescatarian, Gluten-free, etc., but you may find you don’t fit into just one, and that’s totally okay! You’re eating for your body, not other people’s titles.
There are many types of therapeutic diets that are used temporarily for specific health conditions, like the Candida Diet for yeast overgrowth or an Elimination Diet to pin down food sensitivities. Diets like these can be used for varying amounts of time to address a particular concern and can then be transitioned into other approaches. Many times people even decide to take on certain qualities of therapeutic diets and incorporate them into their long-term dietary plans. Cleanses are another category of short-term diet that can focus on a specified health goal. For example, a cleanse to detox the liver. Or, a cleanse might simply be a way to challenge your taste buds and digestions to something new, like a raw food cleanse in the beginning of summer to take advantage of all the fresh produce. Nutrition is about eating real foods that provide your body and mind with the right nutrients to function at their best. The good news is that there are tons of variations on a nutritious diet, so it’s completely possible to find one you truly love.
If you want to be more conscious of your food choices, it’s important to ask yourself questions and be mindful. Do I care how far my food travels to my plate? What foods make my body feel really good, and what foods do the opposite? Is this diet sustainable for me? Do I feel satisfied and happy eating these foods? Am I eating a wide variety of foods? Most of us have grown up without giving food a second thought – which is so weird! Eating is something we all do from the moment we are born, so wouldn’t it make sense for us to learn more about it, other than that one month in 6th-grade health class?
Identifying what matters to you, what makes you feel the best, and how you can approach and – this part is key – ENJOY food are all major stepping-stones to a balanced diet. When you hear the word diet think of it as food philosophy, or a type of therapy, and ditch the association of the fad-diets that science has proved wrong so many times. Change your meaning of the word diet and feel good about how and what you eat!
If you ever want some extra guidance in experimenting with your diet and finding your own food philosophy, I’m here to help! As a Clinical Nutritionist with a holistic approach, I can help you learn how to manage your health and find a new connection to your diet, helping you shine from the inside out. The best part is that we can make it fun and flavorful 🙂 Just check out my Work With Me page for more information on how we can get together, thanks so much for reading!