It’s hard to write a philosophy on food. There are always exceptions and I am forever learning… which you’ll notice as you scan through my posts. The recipes I created when first starting this blog are different from the ones I make now, not only in format, but in ingredient choice too. As I learn and change, my recipes change with me. That being said, there are certain beliefs I hold true no matter what current fad may be happening out there. Simply put, my food philosophy revolves around these five simple thoughts:
1- Food should be real
Real food, what a concept. But, so much of the food in our grocery stores is not. It’s so modified and processed that it hardly even qualifies as food by the time it gets to us! Ideally, we’d always buy whole foods- forms in their natural forms, but if you’re a human like me, that’s not always possible.
So how can you tell how real your food is? It’s simple- look at the ingredients list. A quick glance at an ingredients will tell you right away how processed something is. If they’re foods you could actually use in your own kitchen- that are part of our natural environment- chances are you’re good to go. But if it’s a list of twelve-letter words you can’t even pronounce, suspicions should rise. That’s not to say all processed foods are terrible… sometimes buying something that’s been slightly processed lends us a helping-hand. Spinach that’s been cut and pre-washed, for example, is an awesome score on a busy work day. As a general rule though, the fewer the ingredients, the better. Less is more.
2- Eating should be fun
All too often, people get so caught up in making sure they’re eating “right” that they miss out on enjoying it all. Food shouldn’t be something that makes us feel terrible about ourselves. As a girl with pretty much zero will power, I know how difficult it can be to indulge guilt-free… but, if what we’re indulging in is “real food” to begin with, this shouldn’t be such an issue. Enjoy that cake… in balance. You should enjoy what you eat, as should your body. Which brings me to the next point…
3- Know your body
Just like our personalities, all of our bodies are different. While the person next to you might be able to eat bread and milk without repercussions, you may not. Listen to your body; if it becomes upset at the things you are ingesting, stop ingesting them. If it likes them, cool, scarf on. Just pay attention. You and it will be happier in the long run if you do.
4- Avoid “diets” and gimmicks
I have been a victim of this too… I’m pretty sure we all have. Even after being raised in a super healthy home, I believed some unhealthy truths. I used to choose non-fat yogurts, skim milk, and get sucked into the low fat malarkey. I thought I was doing good… I thought it was the “right” thing to do.
Once I began researching more about nutrition and food though, I started realizing I was doing it all wrong. This was not an overnight switch- re-learning took me some time. I eventually allowed myself to let go of all previous notions of nutrition- what I thought was the “right” thing- and I began shifting my old ways and opening my mind. Milk doesn’t come out of a cow as 2%, so why I am drinking it that way? It finally dawned on me that the best thing for my body is to eat what nature made. What a relief this new thinking was! I now can enjoy whole milk, butter in my eggs, and super fatty coconut milk without hesitation. A whole new world…
5- Be open to learning more
Last, and most important to me. It’s hard to know what’s best until you learn more. Knowledge = wisdom = well-being = happiness. And that’s all I have to say about that!
*Here are some generals about what I include and avoid in my real food ways…
I try to buy organic as much as possible, but sometimes a non-organic piece of produce finds its way into my kitchen. This handy-dandy little graphic shows when it’s crucial to buy organic, and when it’s not as necessary. You’ll notice that for the most part, foods that we eat the skins of need to be organic, otherwise the pesticides on the skin will become part of our meal, too.
Foods I stay clear of (most of the time anyway):
Canola oil. That was the first thing to go! I stick to ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in my cooking. There will be an occasional trial of something else here and there, but I like those staples and will never use canola oil again. 😉
Foods with MSG- anything with monosodium glutamate has got to go.
Anything non-fat or low-fat. Fat is where it’s at.
Artificial sweeteners. If I sweeten something, I’ll use honey, pure maple syrup, good quality sugars, or dates.
Things with mystery ingredients. If I don’t know what it is, I probably shouldn’t be eating it. Of course, being human, I’ll sometimes just dive in without a care, but in my ideal world, I peep at the ingredients before I devour.