I love to eat! I may not eat alot  of it but I want real food when I do.   I want it to taste good AND be good for me. 

I’ve come a long way in my thinking about food. In the past when I was ‘dieting’ I could divide it into two groups: diet/ non-diet or healthy/unhealthy or good food/bad food.  Now, food is food. There are better choices than others but its just food.  My improved way of thinking: follow the 80/20 rule–if you eat healthy 80% of the time then you can splurge 20% of the time.  Most days for me its close to 90-100% healthy but I no longer beat myself up if I want something less than stellar nutritionally.

I’ve never had an eating disorder but this is the healthiest relationship I’ve had with food.  Its not the enemy. Depending on your choices it can either nourish you or harm you in the long run. But its a matter of balance. If you cut back on/ cut out  any of the major groups (carbs, fats, proteins) your body will suffer; it needs all 3 to be in balance and function smoothly. We need carbs for energy; without them our body breaks down muscle and then fat storage to produce it. We need (lean) protein for muscle development and repair. We need fat (the healthy kinds) for neurological functioning and healthy skin, hair and nails.  The “diet plans” that eliminate these things are ultimately doing us more harm than good.

What I propose is we eat more F.O.O.D and less C.R.A.P. !! The closer the food you eat is to its natural form, the better it is for you. I know most of us can’t spend all day cooking from scratch and may have to rely of some pre-made foods but choose fresh food whenever possible. You will be able to control the amount of salt and sugar you add as well as cutting back on preservatives and chemicals.  Go for “real” food over substitutes. I use real sugar in my coffee, its only a few calories more but I am avoiding the chemicals in substitutes. I use real butter, albeit whipped butter, and not margarine or spreads. The important thing to remember–using a little of the real thing is much better, in my opinion, than artificial ones.

One of the things I try to do to avoid using processed food is to have a “prep day”–I cut up and bag veges (celery, carrots, peppers, etc), I thinly slice chicken breasts and pre-cook them (grill or oven) so they can be added quickly to salads or meals. I try to use things in multiple ways–cutting up veges for snacking and cooking saves time and effort rather than doing it daily.  I try to make up food and store it in the freezer when I can–I make individual calzones ( usually spinach or broccoli), burritos, beef,vege or turkey burgers and whole wheat pizza dough. This way its ready to go and all I have to do is grab it and go.

I’ve started making food in jars. I love my ‘Fridge Oatmeal’ and I am planning on making “Salad jars” as well. They are great for grab and go food–no heating required so you can eat them anywhere.

The thing to remember is: eat real food that you enjoy. Eat it in moderate portions, choose wisely most of the time and your body will thank you for it. You’ll have a leaner healthier body that will amaze you with its ability to keep you in top form no matter what the challenge!