I tend to get a lot of questions on my eating style. Am I a vegetarian? Vegan? Do I follow the clean eating lifestyle?
The answer is no to all of the above.
I answer by saying I try to eat healthfully.
What does this mean?
1. I try to eat more natural foods than “unnatural”
I try to eat foods without an ingredient list — such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean sources of protein.
Chicken is chicken, vegetables are vegetables. Nothing else is added to them, so they are “natural”.
2. I try to eat organic.
I have been diagnosed as having allergies to chemicals often found in fertilizers and pesticides. Granted, this is a skin allergy, but I figure consuming food that was treated with pesticides isn’t good for me either. Eating organic is expensive, so I sometimes make hard choices. I look for sales and try to stock up when possible on organic baking ingredients and meats that I can freeze.
3. I try to only buy foods with natural ingredients.
After being diagnosed with some food allergies, I started looking at ingredient lists in foods and was pretty shocked at what I saw. Things that I considered “healthy” contained a lot of man-made chemicals. And since I’m allergic to a lot of chemicals, perhaps I shouldn’t be eating foods with so many chemicals.
So when I look at an ingredient list, I want to see foods I can pronounce, and no chemicals.
And it’s incredible what you find on ingredient lists!
Did you know shredded cheese contains a chemical called cellulose (that’s derived from wood pulp and is not digestible) to keep the shreds from clumping together?
So I’m phasing out pre-shredded cheese and buying blocks to shred myself. It’s a little extra work, but honestly, it tastes so much better!
There are some foods that I tend to make myself. I make my own bread and muffins to avoid chemicals that prolong shelf-life in baked goods.
4. I’m not perfect and don’t try to be.
You will find me eating a cheeseburger and fries on occasion, and I will partake in chips, crackers or pretzels from time to time.
If I go to someone else’s home, I’m not going to avoid eating something because they used pre-shredded cheese or their meat may not be organic.
I think this is what really separates me from any category. I’m choosing a lifestyle that works for me – and it doesn’t put limits on what I can eat. But it does provide healthy guidelines on what I eat the majority of the time.
I just can’t imagine skipping out on a yummy baked good because you are paleo, or starving at a college football game because you are eating clean and all they have is processed foods. If you can do that, great! But it’s not for me.
I like to eat healthfully when I can, which is most of the time. But if I can’t, you won’t see me starving!