When I was a little girl I’d get to hang out at my grandma and grandpa’s house for the weekends. They had this big back yard with an awesome garden (that I still dream about) and they let me have bunnies and chickens as pets. Ahhh such good times.
Why am I talking about my grandparents on the food page? Well, because when I think about how to describe my ideal diet, they come to mind. When I’d get to stay with them, breakfast was eggs (straight out of the hen house) over medium (sprinkled with pepper), with some toast and butter, or maybe a little cinnamon/sugar. Lunches were some sort of sandwich on whole wheat – usually tuna. Dinner was something from scratch, (she made amazing macaroni & cheese) and dessert was a bowl of fresh raspberries picked out of the garden with some real sugar and milk. All real food. Nothing was ever processed or fake and they ate from the 4 food groups. But somehow between that time and now, our food industry has become this crazy GMO powerhouse where everything is fake and full of chemicals. Yuk. Gross. Not for me.
For the most part, I try to eat as “whole” as possible. Meaning if I don’t know what an ingredient is on the label, it’s not going inside of me. We definitely eat organic when eating from the dirty dozen and I pride myself on my garden in the summer where we get most of our veggies until the frost comes in the fall. But let’s be honest – I love myself some desserts. When it comes to sweets I have no “shut-off valve,” and have been known to devour cookies like a starving child. What can I say? We all have our weaknesses.
We cook at home, from scratch, at least 6 nights a week. And with the exception of an out of the blue, 2am, 4th meal from Taco Bell I don’t eat fast food. Rarely will I eat anything with “fake” sugar (splenda, stevia – ug, bleh, gag me) and I couldn’t tell you the last time I drank a soda. I think that eating the real thing in moderation is so much better for you than trying to cut calories/fat by eating sugar free, 0 calorie, I can’t believe it’s not whatever. Because it’s not. It’s chemicals.
For no real reason other than I don’t like the look of anything bloody in my food, I don’t like to eat red meat. I’ll do the occasional burger at a restaurant but I’d prefer it to be turkey. My primary source of protein is chicken (organic) and fish, especially shrimp (top 5 favorite foods). I also try to supplement with nut protein like almond and peanut butters. When we go out to eat, Chris and I always split our portions. You don’t need that much food. Plus you save money. Occasionally I’ll have a glass of wine or beer with dinner but that’s rare. I pretty much only drink on Friday’s and Saturdays. Champagne and cider are my weakness but I do love a good microbrew.
I have IBS so my stomach can totally turn on a dime. It took me a long time to figure out how to manage it but for the most part, I have it under control. I can’t eat a ton of greasy/heavy foods, ice cream kills me (but I love it) and if I all the sudden eat a bunch of food that I don’t normally eat (think tons of junk food on a girls weekend) I want to crawl in my bed and cry. The biggest thing that helps me? Fiber. It’s totally my friend. If I don’t eat enough fiber I can tell. I do my best to get it naturally from foods but sometimes I’ll supplement our smoothies with psyllium husk powder or chia seeds which have good amounts of fiber and I also swear by probiotics.
Because of my IBS (and at the recommendation of my naturopath) I’ve also tried going dairy/gluten free. The verdict is still out on this for me. I would say I feel better overall…less tired, more energy. But I don’t know if I’ve noticed a huge difference in how my stomach behaves. Gluten is wheat and wheat has fiber so if I stop eating gluten then I lose a lot of the ways to bring natural fiber into my body (think whole grain bread, pasta etc). So I’ve sort of adopted a “gluten-light” type of approach. M-F I try not to eat any gluten for breakfast or lunch. On the weekends I’ll have the occasional bowl of cream of wheat or sandwich but that’s definitely the exceptions. Dinners for the most part are also light on gluten. If I want a starch, we’ll do rice, quinoa or potatoes with are GF but if we’re doing pasta we do whole wheat noodles. I’ve tried GF noodles and they taste fine but typically have half the fiber of whole wheat. If we’re doing mexican, I’ll do hard taco shells (GF) unless we’re doing shrimp tacos and then I use whole wheat wraps.
Dairy-wise, same sort of thing. “Dairy-light.” I tend to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my smoothies (Chris gets organic Fat-Free milk) and coffee more because I like how it tastes than how it makes me feel. But real cows milk has amazing nutritional benefits like protein and calcium so I’ll occasionally switch it up and drink that. Cheese is amazing. I love it. One of my favorite things. Swiss is probably my favorite but I’ve never met a cheese I won’t eat. I just try to eat it in moderation since it can definitely bug my stomach (especially when it’s melted for some reason). And lately I’ve been doing a lot of goat cheese (goat gouda is delish) because it’s lactose free and my body likes it.
And last but not least, how could I talk about my philosophy on food without talking about pizza. My favorite food ever! There is nothing better than a slice of pepperoni pizza – even better with slices of cold tomatoes and dipped all in ranch. I know it’s horrible for me, especially the amount I tend to consume. But I love it. And I would never, ever give it up (even though it sometimes makes me feel sick) but who cares. It’s just so darn good.
So there you have it. A long, rather rambling post about food. I’m certainly not a perfect eater. I totally have my days where nothing but junk enters my body but that’s going to happen. And I try not to get too mad at myself when it does. It’s ok to enjoy life (and food). As long as the majority of the time, most of the things going in through my mouth are clean, whole, natural foods I figure I’m doing pretty good.