For the most part, Tiho and I follow a clean eating regime when it comes to our diet. I've become more serious about this since January, and now, at four months in, I can honestly say it's changing the way I feel, both physically and mentally.
I've never believed in fads for the sake of dieting, especially those that adhere to the "all or nothing" mentality; for example, paleo, atkins, vegan, alkaline, etc.). I totally support those who follow these, but I recognize that they're not for me. I like food too much to cut out entire groups of it from my diet.
My philosophy with eating pretty much boils down to these very basic guidelines, with the first as principle:
Eat real food.
Stop when you feel full.
Listen to your body.
Drink water, and lots of it.
Indulge occasionally, and enjoy it.
Fruits & veggies are your friend.
Eat seasonally whenever possible.
When I share my experiences with eating whole, I'm referring to the idea of eating mostly non-processed food. I still consume dairy, wheat & sugar, I just stick to limited quantities that are comprised of healthier varieties; whole grains, raw brown sugar, honey, etc. I avoid white flour whenever possible and perhaps surprisingly, I don't buy low-fat products. As I mentioned, I mostly stick to eating "real food," which includes full-fat butter, yogurt and cheese, because that's how it comes in its purest form.
I'm not a vegetarian, but try to base my meals around vegetables and healthy grains, with meat as the supplemental element. I don't eat red meat or pork anymore, and occasionally consume seafood and chicken/turkey (less than 3 servings per week) . We buy our poultry from a local farm. When purchased from the supermarket (cold cuts for example), we always buy organic & hormone-nitrate free.
In general, people like rules, so I'm listing the accepted definition of whole/clean eating below. For the most part, this is the approach we follow:
1). Eat foods that are "whole" or real: product of nature and not of industry.
2). Plentiful fruits & vegetables, bought organic whenever possible (we follow the dirty dozen & clean 15 rule).
3). Dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt) should be organic, whole (not low-fat), unsweetened & pasture-raised.
4). 100% whole-wheat and whole-grains products (no white flour).
5). Seafood, preferably wild-caught.
6). Meat (chicken, beef, pork) should be humanely-raised, hormone-free & consumed in limited quantities.
7). Sweeteners should be natural and consumed in moderation. Avoid artificial sugar replacements.
8). Approved snacks: nuts, seeds, dried fruit, popcorn, whole-grain crackers, veggie chips, etc.).
9). Beverages: water first and foremost, with milk, natural juice, coffee, tea, wine & beer all okay in moderation.
10). A few general rules of thumb: avoid eating something out of a box/bag/can/package/bottle that has more than five ingredients. Become a label-reader! Also, when indulging in "junk" food, make it yourself. (i.e. baked goods).
Whew. Clearly, I have a lot to say about this topic and am excited to delve into it even further soon, but for now, I want to encourage you to follow along on instagram (@exquisitebanana) where I'll occasionally share my progress, setbacks and select meals & snacks. I've become really inspired from following other like-minded individuals there, and hope at the very least, to provide you with some fresh ideas for healthy eating.
In the next post on this subject, I will explain a bit more about why I choose to eat this way (it gets personal!), as well as give you a selection of additional resources and reading material.
[Images of recent meals, clockwise from top left: Farro & roasted veggie bowl // Zucchini pizza boats // Yogurt with mango, pineapple & granola // Whole-wheat naan with hummus, goat cheese, cucumber, tomato & green onion // Healthy(ish) nachos // Breakfast staple: eggs + avocado.