Today’s blog entry is about food. Anyone who knows me knows that I love food. A lot. They probably also know that I like all food. It’s not so much that I’m not picky (but I’m not) as I have a very varied palette (which I do!).
I read a lot of fitness blogs and stuff like that, so, I come across a lot of varying opinions on ‘how to eat’. As in, how to eat best for optimal fitness, how to eat to lose weight, how to eat to be healthy, how to eat to have good digestion, how to eat to have nice skin…the list goes on and the options seem endless: low-carb, low-fat, high protein, no meats, no dairy, gluten-free, no fruit (!), Paleo, Primal, South Beath, Atkins, etc…it is never ending and there seems to be research to support everything. Over the last couple of days I have read/heard that dairy is evil and bad for me, I eat too much meat, and carbs are not the ideal source of energy. I should probably link stuff here but I never bookmark this stuff. Maybe I should start.
Here’s the thing: If I followed all this advice I would eat spinach. And nothing else. Maybe some kale.
In September when I took a nutrition course through CanFit there was a guest presenter, a naturopath, who was AMAZING and I considered visiting him since I have coverage. Then it became increasingly clear that the first thing he would demand I do is cut out dairy. Then I would have to cut out gluten.
So, what’s a girl to do? Can I lose weight and eat something other than leafy greens? Um, well, yes. In fact, I insist on it.
Let’s look at food groups:
Dairy: I have stopped drinking milk (against my better judgement) but can’t give up all dairy – greek yogurt is a must and frankly, I love cheese too much to not eat it. I drink Almond Milk as a milk substitute. Oh, and I lied, I drink milk – when I go to Starbucks (I just had a lovely Venti Vanilla Latte, thankyouverymuch).
Meat (and alternatives): I eat chicken and fish as much as I want, I try to limit my red meat and pork intake but I eat it. I eat eggs (not enough to worsen my already bad cholesterol – although that’s another myth). And I eat beans. (EDIT: omg, how did I forget almond butter and peanut butter – amazing, and yes, the all natural no sugar kind only – I even have Iron Man converted!).
Grains: I eat grains (GASP!). I do try to limit them when I am in a deficit but nothing drastic. I don’t think I get below 100 grams (of carbs, not only grain derived) a day, as I read I should on a Primal blog today, or anywhere near 50 grams as I would need to be in Ketosis (which I did do when I did Atkins – for 3 weeks before I became a crazy woman). I eat whole grains mostly, although I won’t deny myself a piece of bread just because it is white French bread. I try to stay away from rice (except of course for my loved sushi) and from pasta (as much as I can, I do eat it though). I have learned to love quinoa and add it to my steel cut oats. I have considered going GF at times, although, after reading just this paragraph alone I realize how ridiculous that is.
Vegetables and Fruits: This is pretty much the one food group that is rarely attacked – although there are proponents of not eating fruits out there, at least for fat loss. Yeah, I eat it all. I have a list of my favourites from each group (long list) but I don’t really limit much. I try to avoid potatoes (which should/could be in the grains group, but aren’t grains so I refuse to put them there since just because something has a lot of carbs doesn’t make it a grain) but will eat them occasionally.
I am fairly certain that I just wrote a really long post to say one thing: I eat everything – in moderation. When I am in a deficit I try to limit my carb intake a little more than usual but mostly I just watch my caloric intake and make sure that I am still getting a good balance of my micro and macro nutrients. And regardless of being in a deficit or not I have been trying to reduce my milk intake (but not dairy overall) and red meat (kinda, sorta but not really) intake.
Here’s my thing: I read all those ‘don’t eat that, eat this’ or ‘this is the right option’ blogs/articles/websites and they ALL contradict each other. And they ALL claim to have research but all their research contradicts each other. So screw it. I am taking parts of each and ignoring parts of each and just trying to do something that works for me, that keeps me sane and that still allows me to lose weight or maintain my weight loss, depending on where I am.
The only thing I haven’t mentioned yet is sugar. I do avoid sugar as much as I can. I can’t remember the last time I had regular sugar (oh wait, yes I can, in some baking I did over the holidays and ALL THE CRAP I ATE that other people baked). But seriously, when I am being ‘good’ and watching what I eat, I avoid sugar. I do this two ways: stevia as a replacement, and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. I eat mostly ‘whole foods’, and I check ingredients a lot. I wouldn’t consider myself ‘sugar free’ by any means but I do try to be good. I know where I am getting sugar from (my fruit greek yogurt is one place, that non-fat skinny Vanilla latte is another – I think its low sugar not no sugar) and I try to be aware of how much I am taking in. Other than that, again, moderation.
My close friends would think that it is a little ironic that I am writing anything about my showing ‘moderation’, as generally, I show a lack there of. However, what I am writing about is my ideal – what I do when I am ‘doing it right’. When I am living a healthy, balanced life I eat all things in moderation. And it works. (For me, the rest of the world can do as it pleases).