Whether you realize it or not, all of us have a food philosophy. Some people are just more aware of their dietary intake than others and make a very conscious effort to modify what they eat. My personal thoughts and philosophy on food are very simple – learn to enjoy and eat healthy fruits, veggies and lean protein, limit unhealthy carbs and sweets, enjoy guilty ‘pleasure’ food in moderation, and avoid fad diets, processed foods, and unnatural flavors, ingredients and preservatives.
Now, I haven’t always followed this philosophy because I am a southern girl who was raised on fried chicken, rice and gravy and biscuits. And to this day, we don’t have a family gathering without greens or beans with lots of fatback or pork shoulder to flavor it, several varieties of cheesy potatoes and lots of desserts. Oops, and let’s not forget the casseroles. Lord, we have to have our casseroles!!
Ironically, since the days of college, I’ve lived by the idea of counter-balancing what I ate verses my activity level. However, during those years, I absolutely ate what I wanted, so I didn’t really give much thought to the actual nutritional value of what I was putting into my body. In fact, I used our weekly ‘Melrose Mondays’ gatherings at our sorority house to devour a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. (Yikes! A pint!) Of course I didn’t worry about it much back then because I knew I was going to burn it off during exercise or walking back and forth to classes.
Well…then adulthood arrives and sedentary work life begins. I still worked out, but I continued to eat what I wanted (especially ice cream) without any thought to the nutritional value or calorie content of the food. All of a sudden, the pounds started packing on. So, I adjusted (very slightly) what I ate, and then started working out more and became an aerobics instructor.
Fast forward to today. I still work out daily but my food intake and dietary choices have drastically changed over the years due to the realization and fear of hereditary heart disease and frequent lack of energy. My daily routine of a frozen, processed box lunch is gone. I’ve learned to love all kinds of fruits and veggies. I avoid processed food. I rarely drink a carbonated ‘coke’, and I limit simple carbs. In fact, I started drinking unsweet tea several years ago. (GASP!! A southern girl who doesn’t drink sweet tea???? Yep, ’tis true.) Yes, I still have my guilty pleasures – anything chocolate, wine, cake, truffle pomme frites – but I enjoy it in moderation and I ‘balance’ that meal with what I eat earlier or later that day and with my workouts. For example, if we are going to a nice dinner where I know I will have wine and probably some carbs and a dessert, then I eat lots of fruit, veggies and lean protein for breakfast and lunch to counter balance my ‘heavy’ caloric intake later that night.
Just like you, I am still learning about healthy ways to eat and learning to enjoy a variety of nutritionally packed foods. Again, I don’t believe in fad or drastic diets, but I do believe that sometimes certain methods can be a great kick-start for someone who wants to make a change.
Now, it’s your turn to think about YOUR food philosophy. Even if you think you don’t have one, you do. Someone who eats fast food several times a week has a food philosophy – their diet is whatever is cheap and easy to get. So, take moment and think about your eating habits.
- Is there anything you can modify?
- Are you really gaining nutritional value from the foods you typically eat?
- Have you noticed that you eat when you’re hungry or when you’re bored?
- Do you feel a lack of energy or feel the need to caffeinate yourself often?
Helpful Nutritional Resources:
Share with me an old eating habit you had to work through. What was it and how did you change? Do you or did you have any misconceptions about your eating habits?