Nourishing Your Individuality

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Explore Styles of Eating - Stop The Blame!

“Yes, I’ll have the chicken club sandwich please…no bread, no cheese, lots of avocado, extra bacon on the side”. 

Sound like a bit much?

Don’t get me started on the side salad/half sweet potato fries seeesh. To me though, this is the fuel that’s keep my engine running just right. It wasn’t something that I ordered to sound different, or to be a part of some fad, it was the sum of efforts I’ve put into figuring out what my body needs and eliminating the stuff that makes it feel less than optimal.

It doesn’t fit under a single category, if I were to spell out my style of eating it would be mostly Paleo, on and off Keto, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free. In no way does this warrant the label “restrictive” that seems to be such a popular term these days. This is the food equation that keeps MY body happy and healthy. I feel my best when I’m eating higher fats, moderate proteins and small to sometimes moderate amounts of whole food carbs. It works well with my active lifestyle and in healing my hormones. It took me a long time to figure this out, with a lot of trial and error and trying different things, constantly evolving, different diets and really dialling in to what my body was telling me did and didn’t work. Now I honour my body the best I can in listening to what it has had to say these last 35 years and it has said A LOT…mostly about pizza 😉

{Side note: I may be destined to one day write a cook book on how to make pizza for all of the different styles of eating!}

With so many different diets (styles of eating) out there, books, blogs, social media, your friends, their friends, your hair dresser…it’s easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is eating. Sometimes we roll our eyes and sometimes be become curious. Especially when we see and hear of certain diets (styles of eating) are working for other people.

You may notice that I’m following up ‘diet’ with ‘styles of eating’ that’s because there is a big difference between the two. You have on one hand A Diet, which can be a means of eating to help you lose weight for a certain period of time that supports your short term goals but usually ins’t sustainable.

And then there’s Your Diet in terms of “style of eating” which is a long term way of eating that supports your needs as an individual, goals and your lifestyle. I’m talking about the latter here, in supporting a style of eating that works for you as a part of your every day life. Something that leaves you happy and healthy at the end of the day and not fixated on what it is you think you can’t have.

You may also notice that I will use diet names only as examples in this post.

I want to make it clear that I do not intend to judge, or tell you what diet or style of eating you should be doing. I’m not here to promote Keto, Paleo, Low-Carb, Vegan, Lacto Vegetarian, Pescatarian, you see where I’m going with this. I’m also not saying that we all need to explore different styles of eating, some of us have no intolerances to food and are fine eating foods from any category and that’s just fine, go on with your bad self! This is not the green light to go buck on every other diet you come across either. This post is based on my experiences and my opinions and my only intention is to help you make informed decisions and to advocate exploration as a means of learning about yourself and what YOU need from your food as an individual and not through someone else’s experiences. 

Another major point of my post is to drive home the importance of ownership in the exploring that you do and your choices. I feel like there is a lot of diet bashing, blaming and labelling out there and a lot of it sadly comes from people who don’t do their research, half ass a diet for a week or two, giving it no time to integrate as an actual lifestyle or form any noticeable change in their lives and then BLAME THE DIET. Quit that shit- Food is food people and how it found it’s way on to your plate is YOUR doing! Some styles of eating may not work for you but in no way is it the diets fault. And please, take it with a grain of salt when listening to anyone who would tell you otherwise because those people have no right to assume that any diet will or won’t work for you. Sometimes this comes from people with commitment issues, poor attitudes or some people unfortunately just don’t have good relationships with food at all, who knows, but we’re all ultimately responsible for our own decisions and there needs to be more ownership and less blame and judgement.

After the blame game comes the labelling. The “that diet is just too restricting, I can like never give up cheese”. Which brings up Restricting vs. Eliminating. I feel like people often get these mixed up. Restricting yourself from certain foods means you are otherwise perfectly capable of eating that food or types of food but don’t allow yourself to, not so healthy right? 

Where as Elimination involves removing items from your diet that although you’re capable of eating might not make you feel well. Let’s say you love dairy but it doesn’t love you, you bloat, your tummy hurts, you have difficulties digesting it and by “eliminating” it from your diet you improve your quality of life. It might be hard if you enjoy dairy but the benefits in the long run definitely out weigh the immediate gratification. 

Making changes and forming new habits can be very tough, and in most cases we are generally healthy people just trying  to find the balance, for others, maybe those living with illnesses, it can be life changing. We are for ever changing throughout our lives and so are the needs we get from our food. From having kids, to dealing with injuries and illnesses, hormonal changes for women for example. What works for us today may not work for us the next day, we need to learn how to ebb & flow with this evolution of our lives. 

So please, stop thinking of your attempts at integrating new diets as failures! You are prioritizing your health and there is no shame in that. And stop listening to the people that would have you think that way too. As long as you are TRYING and LEARNING from what did and didn’t work for you can not go wrong. Continue to tinker, adjust and get in tune with your body!

Nourish YOUR individuality with what I hope you’ll find to be helpful tips when thinking of exploring different styles of eating to find what works for you.

 

 

Things to consider Before trying a Diet

Where are you at right now:

  • Have a closer look, do you really need to dive head first into ‘Veganism’ or do you simply need to remove the Cheetos from your life?
  • Are you looking for a lifestyle change or a quick fix?
  • What is your mentality? Do you have a good relationship with food?
  • I would suggest trying a food journal to start, take time and track your habits and see if you can figure out what may or may not be working for you before you commit to any changes

Know Yourself & Be Real:

  • If you don’t like tofu (for example), do you think you can realistically commit to a diet that is heavy on tofu?
  • Why are you considering this diet? 
  • Does it better suit your lifestyle
  • Weight loss
  • Performance
  • Does it align with certain beliefs
  • Be realistic about what you are really capable of committing to

Time Restrictions:

  • Some diets are hard to adhere to while you’re busy and on the go without being prepared in advance. Are you able to commit time to meal prepping in advance?
  • In most cases being prepared in advance helps set you up for success in not having to scramble for certain foods when you’re already hungry. Hello Hangry!

Do your research – FOR YOURSELF!:

  • Advice from others is great to get an idea of THEIR experiences but keep in mind it could be completely different for you. This is why it’s important to do your own research.
  • Read books, and articles online, just try and make sure they are from reputable science based sources. Barb’s Blog may be great for relatable experiences but keep in mind that resources like these and social media (my own included) are often based on opinion which can be bias
  • What does the diet entail? Make sure you are fully aware of what the diet involves:
  • Who it was meant for
  • What you can expect
  • What are the costs? Is it expensive?
  • Make note of the pros and potential cons
  • Does it fit your lifestyle and goals?

Prepare for Success:

  • With any style of healthy eating you can expect that good choices are sometimes hard to make when you are busy and unprepared
  • Take time and prep some meals for yourself, as little or as much to help you make the right choice when it comes to your meal time
  • Start out with a positive mindset! You should be exploring for your benefit, it shouldn’t feel like torture!
  • Find like minded people or experts in their field and ask questions

Listen Up – Your Body is Trying to Tell You Something:

  • Make note of how you feel in relation to what you ate or how you are eating
  • Your body will let you know when something makes you feel good or bad
  • If you are noticing a trend, make adjustments 
  • If it doesn’t feel right, STOP, some diets like Keto take time to incorporate and you can experience a period of flu like symptoms (keto flu) before your body adapts, but you should do your research to make sure this is what you’re experiencing if you’re trying Keto otherwise you should never feel uncomfortable or ill from your diet. Above all, don’t force anything that doesn’t feel natural.

Try it – But ACTUALLY try it:

  • Commit to the diet, don’t just give it a week and expect your body to adapt in that short amount of time
  • You body has adapted to your habits over years and you can’t expect that to change overnight
  • Some diets can take a matter of weeks to start feeling change, others months

Learn From Your Experiences:

  • Make sure you are learning from the things that worked for you, as well as the things that didn’t and be open to exploring why? Is there a reason your body seemed to perhaps crave more carbs?

Be Open, Be Adaptable, Be Kind to Yourself:

  • As I mentioned above, we are always evolving and possibly our bodies needs for nourishment
  • Be open to the chance that a style of eating you adapted today may not work for you in the long run and be open to changing as you need to
  • Be kind to yourself, we are not perfect and no matter how supportive and well intended our means of eating are, there will always be times for foods that might not necessarily be good for us, but enjoy all of it and move on

Love your body and love yourself by making good relationships with food, don’t put yourself in one category. Explore and get to know yourself better! 

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