What has dozens of legs and has healthy eating on the brain(s)? Cleanse participants! The January 2022 Body Sass® Cleanse Group Program draws to a close this Friday. Our rockstar participants are thinking about healthy eating and what that might look in their New Normal.
Missed the group program? The solo version of this game-changing program is at your service, whenever you like.
Is healthy eating all-or-nothing?
Eating healthy food 24/7, as in the 21-day Cleanse above, for 365 days a year is unrealistic. It would be amazing for your body, to be sure, but not do-able for your mental-emotional self. So what exactly is important? How does one find the balance of nourishing the body for optimal health, while also keeping food fun, spontaneous and satisfying to our whole selves?
In my book Wild World, Joyful Heart, I share my simple food philosophy. “Eat yummy-tasting whole foods that provide the body with maximum nutrition,” and do that 80% of the time.
You see, we need something that’s do-able, in everyday life. I call it a Food Sass® Lifestyle. Yes to whole, nutrient-dense, delish foods 80% of the time. Also yes to flexibility, enjoyment and the non-judgement zone. Food and judgement are a hairy mix, kinda like drinking and driving. Just uncool.
10 Basics for a Food Sass® Lifestyle
Looking for information on healthy eating, or simply looking for a reminder on the basics? I got you. Borrowing heavily from Wild World, Joyful Heart, let’s spin through the ten basics of transformational nutrition. These ten insider tips will help you rock your health journey!
- Eat mostly vegetables.
The goal is 4 cups of veggies a day. Simply move closer to that from your current consumption level.
- Choose fats wisely.
Fats are essential for healthy eating but not all fats are good for us. Stick to foods like nuts, seeds, pastured butter, coconut oil, avocados, avocado oil, eggs and pastured animal protein.
- Heed animal protein caveats.
Consume animal protein in moderation. Choose meat from animals that live in a healthy environment, eating their natural food sources.
- Focus on fiber.
The goal is 45 grams a day. The average American gets about 10-15 grams. High-fiber food categories are veggies, fruits, legumes, oatmeal, seeds and nuts.
- Choose carbs carefully.
Limit empty carbs like commercial grains, sugars, white rice and potatoes. Seek out smart carbs like veggies, legumes, quinoa, oatmeal, wild rice and sprouted grain breads.
- Limit dairy and drugs.
Most research shows commercial milk products to be inflammatory to our sweet bod. Due to the natural presence of casomorphins, it’s also addictive. Speaking of addictive, we’re well-served to avoid/limit drugs. Including culturally-accepted drugs like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
- Eat local.
Lean toward locally-grown foods. This increases food nutrient value, improves flavor and texture, and supports local farmers. Bravo!
- Forget the calorie myth.
All calories are not created equally. The 230 calories in a bagel promotes weight gain and type 2 diabetes (among other health issues) and has no nutrient value, to speak of. The 230 calories in an avocado provides monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and 10 grams of fiber. Healthy eating honors the fact that calorie-counting is often not instructive. A food is not a number.
- Navigate food mindfully.
No food lifestyle is correct for all people. Some folks have food sensitivities or allergies. Some ethnic groups do better with certain foods than other ethnic groups. Spend time and intention getting to know food and your body.
- Be nice.
You are not a number either. The best side-dishes for any kind of food choices are: Kindness, flexibility, honesty and enjoyment.
Healthy eating is about MORE than food.
There are two stumbling blocks to healthy eating that are often overlooked.
- A great many diets overlook is the human aspect of food.
- They also often miss the planning aspect of food.
Both of these are key in your journey toward a healthier food lifestyle.
Humans have evolved to interact with food not simply as nourishment, but also as solace, enjoyment, neurosis and entertainment. If a practitioner, program or diet leaves that out of the discussion, improved health and weight loss are unlikely. For any length of time, anyways. It’s not just healthy food that’s important, it’s a healthy relationship with food. This human aspect of food may actually be more important than the food choices.
Humans have also evolved in another way. In the last 20-30 years we’ve evolved to fancy ourselves as very busy. Too busy for things. Especially things we don’t want to do. An initial step in my 1:1 client work is debunking this idea. While also guiding clients to honor the planning aspect of food. When it comes to healthy eating, planning is everything. Especially in the context of a life that feels very full.
You can learn more about the planning aspect of food in THIS blog post.
The bottom line for YOU
You’re a whole person with a body, mind, emotions, plans, dreams, foibles, likes and dislikes. You’re complex. As such, healthy eating is a complex topic. To boil food down to caloric intake or macros guidelines or anything else rigid and linear is a mistake. It might serve you for a period of time, and that’s fine. Maybe to get started on weight loss or some such goal.
Yet—as always—it comes back to relationship. We are almost always in relationship to things. You have a relationship with food. It’s a day-in-day-out relationship that you can never divorce (we need food!). But you can evolve it in a way that works better in your life, and for your health.
The 10 basics in this post can help you get started. The 2 surprise stumbling blocks can help you stay out of the weeds. Need help? I know just the gal. You can find out more HERE.
For now? Choose one thing from the missive above that speaks to you the most, and work with it. Small things are big things when we do them every day.
To your empowered well-being,