The topic that everyone wants to talk about; food!
It is absolutely everyones favorite thing and biggest struggle. Especially in today’s manufactured world, what are you supposed to freaking eat?
With more obesity, unhappy body images, food allergies, food intolerances, and GMOs than ever before, it can be both intimidating and discouraging to try to “eat healthy.”
This post wasn’t created to push a diet on you or to try to convince you to eat like me. Eating healthy is very subjective. There is wayyyy too much controversy over various diets and I’m not going to argue them. I am, however, going to share with you what has worked really well for me, my body and my lifestyle. If you’d like to take all, some or nothing from this post, be my guest! **Diet tips are italicized throughout the post.
Food is everything to me. It’s absolutely a priority in my life. I personally do not mind spending more money on better, higher quality foods because I see it as an investment into my health and my quality of life.
When my plate is in order, my life is in order.
What I Don’t Eat
- Meat. I’m technically a pescatarian because I do eat sushi and very little fish. My thoughts on cutting meat out of my diet are too extensive for this post, but stay tuned for my “Meat-Less Series” (lots of research going into that one). I will, however, say that my main reasons for cutting it out are because I really do not like the taste of meat, I don’t have time to cook it (I think its a pain) and I don’t believe that I need it to have a strong, healthy body. I am really happy with the changes that have happened in my body since cutting out meat; none of which include losing muscle mass or suffering from a protein deficiency.
- Soy. Through cutting meat out of my diet, I’ve actually found out that I have a soy allergy. I was eating more soy to make up for less meat and it was wrecking havoc on my stomach. This is a really extensive topic; but in short, there is such a thing as unfermented soy & fermented soy. Fermented soy is good, unfermented soy is very bad (things like tofu and soy milk). If you care to know more about unfermented soy, or are experiencing any issues that you think may be soy related, read this.
- Processed Crap. This one is really difficult. Mostly because if you want to get technical, things like carrots are processed. So I added “crap” to discern between processed foods and processed crap foods. I don’t eat junk food or anything that has an extensive ingredient list. I try really hard to stick to processed foods that only have 10 or less ingredients (RX Bars are a great thing). I love the taste of Cheez-Its as much as the next person, but I don’t like the idea of my food chemically altering my brain.
Changing your diet and lifestyle gets a whole lot easier when you educate yourself about what you are consuming. It turns “I can’t have that” into “I don’t want that.” And that mindset shift is a big deal. Especially if you are always hungry.
If you are “plateauing” with losing weight, the processed foods you are consuming should absolutely be the first place that you look to adjust.
- A Ton of Dairy. Like meat, I don’t really like the taste of dairy products. Dairy products have a negative energy about them and they’re not that great for you. They are extremely processed foods (especially cheese). You can get your vitamin D, protein and calcium from vegetables. But, if drinking/eating another species sex hormones satisfies you then march on.
What I Do Eat
- Fruits/Veggies. All of them. A lot of them. As much as possible. Cooked, baked, steamed, grilled, raw. I love them all. Veggies are the focus of my plate, not meat. Fruits & vegetables actually provide you with almost everything that you need to sustain a healthy diet. And yes, they provide a sufficient amount of protein.
I try to eat my fruits/vegetables as seasonally as possible. For example, winter is a perfect time to eat citrus fruits. They are in the height of their season and we need the extra antioxidants during the colder months. Eating seasonally also cuts out a lot of preservatives from foods that are trying to “stay fresh” all year long. Mother nature knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.
- Plant Based Protein. Since I don’t eat meat, I rely on plants to provide my body with the protein that it needs. I think that it’s important to note here that you may not actually need as much protein as you think or have been told. I used to be obsessed with eating as much protein as possible to build as much muscle as possible. While I did see results, I also saw setbacks in my body. I felt heavy and my body didn’t react too well from constantly processing all of that protein.I weigh about 118 pounds and I used to strive for over 100 grams of protein a day. (That’s about the equivalent to eating 17 eggs every day.) I was eating so much meat and artificial protein, it was disgusting. I wanted so badly to build muscle. But what I didn’t realize is that I didn’t actually need all of that protein, especially from those sources.Think about it; rhinos and elephants are two of the biggest, strongest animals on the planet and they only eat plants.
- I’ve done a ton of research (again, this is for another blog post) on this topic to support my beliefs. I’ve also experienced it for myself; I now strive for about 40 – 50 grams of protein a day and with that I’ve kept my muscle mass and strength. I’m actually happier with my results because I have much leaner muscle now without all of the fat from meat.
- So anyways, I eat things like beans (usually black beans), lentils, edamame (this is a fermented soy), falafel, hummus, nut butters, avocados, quinoa, tahini, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spinach and peas. All are amazing forms of plant based protein.
- Carbs. I love carbs because they’re delicious and they are a tool that you can use to manipulate your body. That would explain why fad diets always involve cutting carbs. Increasing and decreasing your carbohydrate intake WILL change your body, but you have to know how to manipulate them correctly. For example, I treat myself to the most carbs around my workout times. Especially runs. That way my body will immediately use the carbs the way that I want it to. Educating yourself on things like quick and slow carbs and when to eat what would be super beneficial if you are training or trying to build muscle.
A Typical Day
Avocado toast; Ezekial bread, one avocado, sea salt, red pepper flakes.
RX Bar or raw veggies or fruit or homemade granola
Meatless salad with kale, edamame, sunflower seeds, shallots, shredded carrots, dressing.
Fruit smoothie; black or raspberries, Kefir, ice, avocado, hemp seed, almond butter.
Apple & almond butter or a banana & almond butter.
Pita or raw veggies with hummus (I really like the real, mediterranean kind)
Meatless chili or brown rice and veggie bowl or stir fry or salad or veggie pizza or lentil soup or sushi.
I probably eat Chipotle about three times a week (I get a veggie bowl, brown rice, black beans, mild and hot salsa and guac – about 500 calories).
Tea (green tea, black tea, white tea, herbal tea)
Coffee (black, with a shot of espresso)
Sometimes I have some dark chocolate or a few bites of ice cream. I honestly haven’t craved sweets much at all since I’ve stopped eating meat. I’m not sure if it is related or not.
I think that is everything I wanted to cover in this post… I plan to talk more about the topics above in separate posts here soon! If you have any questions, comment below! I’d love to hear your feedback! Let’s start the conversation about diet & eating well…
*** I do not claim to have full knowledge of diets or what will work for any individual, this is simply what has worked well for me.****
***A “plant based diet” as referenced above to me means that I make plants the center of my plate. I am not a vegan as I do consume some dairy, but I do support vegans!***