I love food. Seriously! I could read, learn and talk about food, and cooking all. Day. Long.
And baking?! Fuggedaboudit! (Oh the love I have for kingarthurflour.com products and their step by step blog for feeding my carb need... *sigh*)
Not only do I have a love for preparing, learning about, and of course eating food, I love learning about the nutritional aspects of food and how the body responds to food, not only for fuel, but also as some wicked powerful medicine.'
Ironically, that love also put me in a bad, bad place of info overload and self doubt for quite a while... It wasn't a pretty place.
The problem arose from getting too much information of the same thing, and then getting into comparison mode - how does what I eat compare to how other people eat and is my way better than theirs or vice versa. I know I've made a lot of changes in the way I eat over the last few years and how I relate to food is vastly different now than how I started...
I also know that the quickest way to get on someone's bad side is to critique how someone eats. You can kick their dog, insult their sister, and call their clothes ugly... no problem, you can still be BFFs till your dying days.
Point out possible improvements they can make in their food choices and it. is. ON.
Food has so many applications and contexts. It can be public and social but when it comes down to it: food is deeply personal.
For me, personally, I realized that I was trying really hard to put a label on my eating, put myself in a tight little niche that was defined by someone else, but it just wasn't working for me. All it was doing was making me want to apologize for how I was eating.
I've alluded to a disdain for "Trademark" diets because of that very fact - they try to make people think of eating in black and white terms when eating is a technicolor rainbow. It makes people strive for the authors version of perfection that may work for some, but not for all. Sure, I've gleaned the info I've needed from those "Trademark" diets, and a multitude of other sources - and in my effort to be brilliant with the basics, I had to figure out what the basics meant for me, come to terms with it, embrace it, and not apologize for it...
So I'm back to basics with my eating, and to me it boils down one simple principle: I eat real food. If God created it, it's good enough for me... if man mucked it up, it's put under serious scrutiny.
The more detailed version is this (only because I feel compelled to share. ;)
I eat meat. I love it, I eat it daily. I tried to be vegetarian ages ago and was miserable... so the only time I'm a veg is when I'm eating my side dishes.
No, my meat isn't grass fed, free range, sustainably grown. I get the quality I can afford, which usually means commercially raised. While I'm moving towards higher and higher quality all the time, and my heart goes out the horrible conditions critters are raised in, I'm not at a place where I can spend $30 on a chicken or a beef/pork roast, or $6 for a dozen eggs... If someone wants to gift me with a side-o-free range critter, I'll make room in the freezer. Throw in nitrate free bacon and I'll give you my first born. (Ok, he's getting up there in years, and kinda cranky... and furry... but he'll warm up to you eventually. ;)
Fruits & Veggies - love 'em, and find new ones to love all the time. Sometimes I'll shop from the organic section at the store, but most times I get the regular produce that's most likely covered in pesticides, but I do know that most of my produce hasn't traveled more than a few hundred miles, rather than thousands. I'm not low carb by any stretch, but it's low enough to keep my insulin levels stable.
Speaking of carbs, yeah, I eat bread and some other grains, but they're the exception rather than the rule. I make my own bread and baked goods that are full fat, full sugar, and full flavor. The only time I have any regret for for eating them is when I've had more than my body can handle and I pay for it... luckily that's a rarity, and it certainly doesn't make me primal by any stretch.
Fat - LOVE IT! I'm certainly not one who bought into the low fat lie for long. Like trying to go Veg, I dipped my toe in the low fat lake for a bit, only to have seriously messed up energy levels and have my blood sugar go completely hay wire. Give me peanut butter, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and good old fashioned butter any day of the week.
Speaking of butter, I eat dairy - love me some good quality cheese, the occasional cream in my coffee, and yogurt when I have a hankering for it... So if the consumption of grains didn't kick me out of the Paleo club, this certainly clinches the deal.
There's times when I feel like I'm the worst advocate for weight loss because I couldn't tell you the calorie count of any given food, but I can give you the general breakdown of fats, carbs, and protein.
There's times when I feel like the best advocate for a healthy _lifestyle_ because after a point, the calories and ratios stop being important, and eating to fuel and enjoy a healthy, vibrant life become top priority. Does it make you feel like poo? Stop eating it, or as much of it. Does it make you feel good? Eat enough to keep feeling good, but not too much, or you'll feel like poo.
See... it's all about avoiding the poo. LOL!
I know in reading this, it does sound very apologetic, and it is, but it's meant more as an apology to myself, the part of myself that wants to do everything perfect, to achieve a level of better-than-you-ness... or even just a higher state over better-than-I-am-right-now-ness... It's a means to an end of facing the reality that I'm far but perfect, but doing the best I can. And it's also acknowledging that I'm doing pretty darn good - I've taken the time to figure out what works for me, based on a sustainable foundation that can work for anyone: Eat real food.
The rest are just details.
What about you... what are your basics? Do you prefer to label your style of eating or forge your own path?