This is a question I’ve asked myself over and over and over again. I use to think that “healthy eating” was a very specific rigid way of life. A way of life that made people groan when it was mentioned and grouped foods into “good foods” versus “bad foods”. As my personal journey and knowledge has progressed, I’m realizing that could not be further from the truth. Not long ago someone redefined for me the way that we think and talk about food. They said that in reality there are foods – real, actual foods that deliver nutrients to our body – and there are non-foods, which are made up almost entirely of “things”, additives, etc. that are not natural and would be un-recognizable to anyone a few hundred years ago. One is not a good food and the other a bad, one is simply a food and the other isn’t.
That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in these “non foods” once in a while. They are a big part of our society and it’s very hard to avoid them all the time, in fact, I’m sure you even have some favorites – I know I do – but recognize them for what they are… or are not. Maybe you disagree or perhaps you view it differently (in which case, please send me a message or comment and share, I’d love to hear your viewpoint) but it made sense to me and I hope it will to you also. There is no one size fits all shoe when it comes to a successful healthy diet or lifestyle. Our bodies are all very unique and so too are their needs.
One of the most beautiful things I have learned thus far is how to listen to my body. A certain way of eating or a certain way of living might be serving your best friend wonderfully, and it might look good too. But that doesn’t mean that it’s right for YOU. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. Give it a try and then pay attention. Really, truly listen to your body. Over the last year and a half I’ve had so many different tests done as I’ve tried to navigate my own health journey back to healing. They were all useful and served a purpose but in retrospect, some of them simply validated what my body was already telling me.
Don’t get trapped in the belief that you have to eat keto or paleo or gluten free or vegan or whatever you might believe or may have been told is the “right way” to eat healthy, because there are many. (Just to be clear, this isn’t a free ticket to indulge on a diet that consists of chocolate chip cookies and Coca-Cola. That’s not what I’m talking about here.)
What does healthy eating mean to me? To me, eating healthy means a protein shake every morning (not because I need more protein, but because I simply enjoy them and love starting my day off with a chocolate/peanut butter/banana flavor combo… soooo good!). To me, eating healthy usually involves a lunch that consists of yummy leftovers or a one pot hodgepodge that may or may not consist of leftovers, fresh veggies, beans, rice, and maybe some chicken. (By the way, some quick, easy recipes coming soon for these “hodgepodge” meals. I’m obsessed with them.) To me, eating healthy means snacks – lots of them – that make me want to keep moving, not lie down and take a nap. To me, eating healthy means eating mostly gluten and refined sugar free. To me, eating healthy means colorful vegetables. To me, eating healthy means finding foods that make my body feel good inside and out. To me, eating healthy means not beating myself up when I’m traveling and have had too many orders of sweet potato fries… a personal weakness. To me, eating healthy means finding the time to bake and doing so creatively (minus the gluten/refined sugar) without skimping on the taste OR the chocolate content. To me, eating healthy means listening and readjusting to my body’s ever changing needs.
What does eating healthy mean to you?