I thought I’d write a post about my food philosophy since the subject of food forms a large part of this blog and why I’m studying nutrition.
I don’t follow a particular “diet” or “eating plan”, but I do enjoy most Paleo-style recipes because they naturally tend toward using nutrient-rich, minimally processed foods. In short, the Paleo way of eating avoids gluten-containing and other inflammatory, difficult-to-digest ingredients. So grains, refined/added sugar (which increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and more) and dairy are out.
As Paleo advocate and chef Pete Evans sums up nicely: “The Paleo Way promotes the minimisation of sugary and starchy foods, the MODERATION of protein intake (something most other approaches fail to recognise the importance of), the liberal consumption of fibrous vegetables and greens (raw, lightly cooked and/or fermented/cultured), nuts, seeds, eggs (if tolerated) and AS MUCH DIETARY NATURAL FAT as is needed to satisfy the appetite and support the healthiest brain and nervous system. An occasional very small amount of seasonal fruit is purely optional. The diet totally avoids grains, legumes, conventional dairy products, conventionally raised meats, non-organic produce, GMO’s and processed foods.”
A great approach to food, don’t you think? I couldn’t agree more.
But I’m not strict about it. You could call me ‘Paleo-ish’ – I live by the 80/20 rule; I’m good 80 per cent of the time and naughty for 20 per cent. On occasion, I like to eat grains such as quinoa (high in non-animal protein), oats (they lower LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol because of its beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that absorbs LDL which your body then excretes and it’s super versatile) and brown rice (er, I’m Asian… there’s no way I’m not having rice!).
I also have a MASSIVE sweet tooth so I’m not going to say I never eat standard desserts and treats. But when possible, I make my own healthy treats using healthy ingredients (raw cacao powder, dates and nut butter do wonders) which taste just as good, if not better, than your traditional favourites.
If I had to sum up the way I eat – it’s a lot of whole foods, protein and veg for most lunches and dinners, gluten-free and colourful. Oh, and I eat fat (nut butter and avocado being some of my my favourites). You need it for your body and brain to optimally function.
My belief is that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Knowing from experience what nourishing, whole foods (that is, foods as close to their natural state as possible, or how they’re found in nature) can do – like giving you more energy, better sleep, better skin and health) – is why I’m so passionate about nutrition.
What’s more, I’m passionate in helping people make smarter and healthier food and lifestyle choices and I believe there are great alternatives to some common foods that can help make the shift to a healthier way of eating easier, without compromising your tastebuds:
• Swap wheat for more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. So if you usually have a sandwich or wrap, ditch the bread and have salad instead.
• Swap refined sugar for soaked dates, raw honey or maple syrup.
• Swap refined spreads or dips for nut butters like ABC spread (almonds, brazil nuts and cashews) and tahini (ground sesame seeds).
• Swap white flour for almond meal, coconut flour or dessicated coconut.
• Swap vegetable oil for coconut oil or olive oil.
• Swap coffee for herbal teas.
My aim is to help increase our awareness of good nutrition and the benefits of making healthier lifestyle and food choices.
There’s no quick fix, no secret ancient powder or magic weight loss smoothie. I believe in making long-lasting, maintainable changes from a holistic point of view. Bonus: you can eat chocolate for breakfast, have cheesecake and even brownie balls. Yep, being healthy can actually be FUN and 100% delicious.
If I happened to have lost you in this long post, just remember this:
P.S. The above pic is of my Very Chocolately ‘Cherry Ripe’ Smoothie 🙂