There are a lot of different approaches to healthy eating, probably as many as there are days in the year. This is mine…
I am guided by Michael Pollan’s principle of eating real food, as outlined in his book In Defense of Food. The goal is to eat real food, not processed, with a focus on plants. This goal has been refined into specifics by my trainer, tweaked over the past two years, often to a point that I find extremely annoying (like when we cut out carbs at night).
Here’s what I eat:
Lean protein: Chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, egg whites. In an ideal world, all the meat would be sustainably sourced, but that’s still an ideal I’m working on as I often get my meals from restaurants, Trader Joe’s salads, and the commissary at work.
Vegetables: All of them. I most enjoy kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, all the many squashes, broccoli, artichokes, and peppers.
Fruit: All of it. The goal is to eat fruit with a lower glycemic index like berries, but i enjoy all of it. I eat an apple pretty much every day, and I am happiest in stone fruit season (which is now) when my most favorite fruits, cherries and peaches, are in abundance.
Legumes: Beans are good. Particularly chickpeas. I eat a lot of chickpeas, most often in hummus form.
Limited dairy: My dairy is limited to nonfat, plain Greek yogurt. I eat it almost every day, and I love it.
Whole grains: My biggest struggle is to cut out processed flour in breads. I love me a good, fresh from the oven loaf of French bread, but my body does not love it at all. In fact, it can barely process it. My current intention is to not eat wheat flour at all. Instead, I ate brown rice or coconut flour. I also eat brown rice by itself and a limited quantity of corn tortillas, because I live in Southern California.
Nuts: I limit my nut consumption because I would eat all the almonds, all the time if I could. They’re good for me, but also dense in calories, so I eat a few, mostly in times of hunger.
Drinks: Water, black coffee, black or herbal tea. That’s it! Occasionally, I’ll have almond or soy milk. Occasionally, I’ll have a glass of wine. But most liquids are empty calories that I know do nothing for me.
Dark Chocolate: I’m only human, and dark chocolate keeps me sane. I eat 85% dark or higher. It’s got kind of an earthy taste, but I like it. I’m working now to limit the quantity of dark chocolate I eat because, given the opportunity, I would eat it all.
That’s what I do. It’s simple, but effective. What matters most to me about it is that it’s real food that actually nourishes my body. Sometimes it’s hard – often in fact – but it’s always rewarding. Sometimes it’s boring, but that’s a limitation I create. The more creative I am, the more interesting my food becomes. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of new and interesting way to make it delicious.