As I shared a couple weeks ago, I have been researching a lot about healthy living and different approaches to forming healthy habits. I mentioned that I have been eating mostly plant-based for a while, something I hope to maintain. While there are always struggles to eating healthy, I believe it is possible to change our habits so that we enjoy the food we are eating and the life we are living. These are my five truths to my approach to healthy eating. They have guided my food philosophy and I hope you find them interesting and helpful!
1. Food affects our reality.
This may be an obvious statement, but I believe there is so much power in truly understand this concept. While we need food to survive and satisfy a hunger, we need nourishment and nutrition to be our best healthy selves. I truly believe that the food we eat affect our perspective and outlook on life–it affects our mood and emotions. Food can be such a personal thing. We all use food to affect our reality. We drink coffee to wake up we eat sweets to treat ourselves or feel better about certain things. We don’t use food just to satisfy hunger. Providing our body with what it needs improves our mind, mood, athletic or physical performance and much more. Food doesn’t just go into our body and do nothing. It is used either in healthy ways or ways to drag us down.
2. It is not about the calories.
Marketing traps have made us believe that a 100-calorie, processed and sugary snack of cookies, crackers, etc. is a healthy option. But our bodies cringe at all those extra chemicals and preservatives in processed food. What about a banana? A banana has about 105 calories–but we would much rather eat a banana for a healthy option. See how calories don’t really matter? The caloric system dates back to the mid-1800s. What did we do before we had calories to measure our food intake? We ate by intuition.
All that matters is getting enough of the right kinds of foods. Diets out there focus on cutting calories, which in some cases may be necessary. But some of these diets can promote starvation. These kind of diets rarely prove to be sustainable as we are not giving our bodies what they need. It’s not about restricting ourselves or even counting calories. It’s about giving our bodies the right foods.
3. Focus on long-term lifestyles, rather than short-term ineffective diets.
As mentioned earlier, fad diets or short-term diets rarely prove to be successful for many reasons. A transition to a healthier diet is just that: a transition. It is a long process that involves making small, healthy and sustainable changes to your lifestyle that you can maintain over time. It means adding healthy foods into your routine, not cutting calories or foods out of your diet all at once. Some of the long-term lifestyles I’ve see are vegetarianism, veganism, Raw Till 4, and fully raw veganism, in addition to the standard American diet. All of these but the standard American diet focus on plant-based foods and eating large amounts of fruits and veggies. They don’t cut carbs, they avoid processed foods in most cases and ultimately are focused on balanced and healthy living.
4. Focus on the quality of food.
When buying fruits and vegetables, we tend to look and find the best apples or bananas when searching through the produce section. We look for quality. But do we actually find the best quality foods?
While it can get expensive, focusing on buying quality produce makes a huge difference–making sure it’s organic, non-GMO and maybe even local will most likely yield amazing fruit and vegetables. If you make sure to eat quality foods, you are giving your body better food and also making it more enjoyable to eat healthy. If you had the best mango, kiwis, watermelons or berries on the planet, why would you want to eat something else?
I bought some amazing kiwis at our local co-op last week, and I will tell you: I could eat them everyday, all the time!
5. There is freedom in a plant-based diet.
While I believe different eating habits work for different people, I think there is freedom in a plant-based diet–getting most of our nutrition from plants, which means being vegetarian or vegan. While we think these two dietary lifestyles focus on what not to eat–there is so much freedom in what you can make and eat. In fact, there are so many options and I’ve felt more open to different foods as I’ve slowly cut out meat from my diet. I think there is freedom and joy in eating this way, knowing you help the environment and your health. If you are not considering a plant-based diet, I would encourage you to be open to new foods and culinary traditions. Being open and willing to change your views of food and eating habits can be so powerful. The first steps to change and healthy living is being open to it. Simply being willing to learn and hear from others, how they approach food and enjoy it.
Let’s strive to nourish our bodies, minds and spirits so we can creative, vibrant, abundant, meaningful work in this world.
What do you think? What are your approaches to healthy eating?