a little food philosophy

3:40:00 PM

Lately, with my focus on food on my Instagram stories, I've been asked questions concerning my diet: Are you vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo? Do you restrict carbs, protein, and/or calories? etc. etc.

I won't make this intro very long--here is my food philosophy. Throughout this, it's critical to remember that everyone's body works differently, so there is truly no standard perfect relationship with food. It truly depends on what your body needs. Don't feel inclined by any means to agree with other people's food philosophies in order to live a healthy life. In fact, I'd love to hear what works for you all! Please share in the comments section :)

1) Topic: Weighing yourself. 
People ask me what the ideal weight for a certain height is, and all I can say is what's pictured above. I don't check my weight, unless it's at the doctor's office. Personally, I believe that your weight is not a great indicator of your overall health, and only reinforces the idea that your body's worth is defined by a number. Muscle weighs more than fat, after all--a low number on the scale can not tell you how well your body is actually functioning. Weighing yourself also easily turns into an obsession, no matter who you are. I promise, if you create a workout schedule AND STICK TO IT, you WILL see results without having to rely on a scale to tell you. 
Ultimately, aim for a healthy lifestyle, and accept whatever weight that takes you to--there are far too many variables, including bone structure and muscle weight, to define your body's perfect weight at a certain number. 
2) Topic: Counting calories. I don't count calories. Nothing against counting calories (I can absolutely understand the reasons for doing so), but I do think that eating healthy is not just how little calories there are, nor do I think someone should restrict their diet to a certain number. It can't just be how little calories there are in your food; it's about making the calories count. You could become the skinniest little stick just from eating non-nutritious junk food, but you won't be healthy. 
3) Topic: SKINNY ≠ HEALTHY.  I wish I could scream this out to the world: HEALTHY LOOKS DIFFERENT ON EVERYONE. My definition of healthy may mean more weight than your definition of healthy, and it's okay! Primarily, one should be eating healthily for the lifestyle, not the look. It's very easy to spiral down into having a negative body image when you're absolutely set on having a certain look. While it's okay to have general goals about what you want to look like, don't get upset if you don't look exactly like the magazine cover girl you're aiming to look like. The cornerstone of a positive body image is accepting your body's abilities and limits, whatever they may be. 
4) Topic: Diets. As of now, I do not follow a specific diet. While I do understand some diets work wonders for some people, I believe healthy lifestyles are far more sustainable and fulfilling--for me. I am all about healthy alternatives rather than complete elimination, because it leaves me feeling far more fulfilled and happy. It's crucial to listen to your body; if you are craving meat, it's likely that you need it! You should never be miserable because of the way you're eating. It doesn't matter whether a million studies show that a certain diet is healthy; if it makes you miserable--whether it affects your emotional well-being or makes you lethargic--it is NOT for you! The safest way to find the best diet for yourself is listening to your body's needs and pairing them with nutritious, whole foods that satisfy those needs.

5) Topic: Carbs. I wish more people would actually do research on carbs. They can not all be umbrella-ed under "good" or "bad." Here's all you need to know based on the research I've done: 

-COMPLEX (WHOLE) CARBS = GOOD. SIMPLE (REFINED) CARBS = NOT SO GREAT. Whole carbs mean that they contain the natural fiber, unlike simple carbs, which have that part processed out of them (making simple carbs essentially empty nutrition). Fiber helps the carbs be absorbed slowly into your system, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.

-low sugar/glycemic index content: (the glycemic index tells you how fast your body converts the food's carbs into glucose; the lower the glycemic index, the easier it is to maintain stable blood sugar levels. If you want to be an A+ human, check the glycemic load as well by multiplying the food's glycemic index number with the amount of carbs to account for both.) especially in DRINKS! If there is a high sugar content in say, a juice, check whether that sugar is from the natural amount found in the fruit or from added sugars. Sugar should never be the first ingredient on an ingredients list.*
-in summary: look for low sugar, high fiber carbs, and carbs will provide a great source of fuel and there will be no need to feel guilty about eating them.
-examples of whole carbs: vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits
-examples of simple carbs: white grains, refined/added sugars 
6) Topic: How do I eat? These are some things I try my best to look out for when eating**. As a general rule, don't be fooled by any labels and always check the ingredients for yourself. It's very common to see claims like, "Excellent source of Vitamin C" when the food really only contains an insignificant amount. 

-carbs/sugar: see #5. Always check the ingredients list for added sugars!
-high fiber
-simple ingredients: you shouldn't be asking, "Why is this in this food?" nor should you be asking, "How do I pronounce this ingredient?"
-avoid hydrogenated oils, which contain lots of trans fats and are difficult for our bodies to break  down
-low amounts of sodium, trans fats, and saturated fats
-for meats: preferably pasture-raised/grass-fed, non GMO, local, and free-range--a lot, I know!

Again, by no means am I claiming that my opinions on food are going to work for everyone. this is simply the way I live my life, and frankly, I'm finding my way as well, learning to adjust as my body grows. Comment below for any questions and thoughts! 

*Brief pro tip: from a first glance, it's pretty easy to tell whether a product is actually healthy. If it's organic, non-GMO, etc., companies will make sure that's front and center and easy to see. However, don't be fooled by labels such as "healthy" or "natural;" look at the ingredients to see for yourself. As a rule, always check the serving size first to get an accurate picture of how much nutrition you are actually eating. Healthier products also tend to be more expensive, which is a shame, but understandable :(

**Ingredients on a package are listed by the amount that's found in the product. So, if sugar is first and wheat flour is second on a list, there is more sugar than wheat flour. 

please leave a comment :)

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