I believe that we need to think differently about food. There are times when food is part of our entertainment, a time to share with family and friends, or a special celebration. Food takes on a new purpose, for enjoyment, and we can play with our senses, try new things, and be a little indulgent. Most of the time, however, food is meant for one thing – to FUEL you!
The human body is a finely-tuned biological machine, capable of incredible feats of strength, intelligence, memory, powers of deduction, learning, balance—the list goes on. Like any finely-tuned machine, clean and constant fuel—in our case, food, in the form of protein, carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and minerals—needs to be readily available and ingested. If not, this machine will slow down, perform poorly and ultimately, stop running.
Each person is unique. Each body operates differently and requires specific nutritional needs.
Unfortunately, we live in an era and culture that makes it easy for us to cut corners. Fast food, microwavable meals, and food delivery quickly provide food when we’re hungry. When we’re running low on energy, we can turn to coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages. While these may be short-term fixes, they can lead to long-term effects and potential health problems.
It’s very difficult to change habits and make lifestyle changes. I often fall victim and say “But I have no time!” and “I don’t have energy to go grocery shopping and cook tonight!”.
While many health professionals will tell you to start making small changes, such as swapping soda for water or to keep a food diary, I’ve found that this doesn’t work so well for me. I need an all-or-nothing plan and to make rules that make it easy for me to make decisions when I’m tired and running low on willpower.
I really enjoyed this article from Early to Rise. Craig speaks about the value of having a strong personal philosophy that can guide you to guilt-free behavior that helps you to achieve your goals. For example, when a vegetarian has a strong personal philosophy, under no circumstances, will ever eat meat. There is no, “well, everyone else is having a burger, so just this once, I will too.”
I encourage you to adopt your own rules for every aspect of your life, to guide yourself towards a life with less guilt, more energy, and more productivity.
Due to my autoimmune disease, I’ve found that I feel and function my best when I follow these rules. Reminder: every person is unique and should cater their nutritional plan to best suit their needs.
Personal Philosophy: Eat natural, non-GMO, preservative-free, gluten-free, dairy-free foods that use the fewest, cleanest, and simplest ingredients possible.
- Rule 1: No sugar, unless from a natural source (such as honey)
- Rule 2: Little to no gluten
- Rule 3: Little to no dairy, unless fermented (such as yogurt)
To be completely honest, I struggle to adhere to these rules on a daily basis. Lately, I’ve gone a little off course. When I’m tired and hungry and stressed, it’s more difficult to make good choices. And when I start making exceptions, it becomes a free-for-all. Once you break a rule, it’s easier to keep breaking them. Similarly, once you’re on a roll, it’s easier to stay on track.
That’s when I need to find new ways to make these decisions easier, or even better, make it so that I don’t have to make a decision at all!
Tomorrow I will share my personal shortcuts for eating natural, supporting my personal food philosophy, and avoiding the excuses. See you then!