My journey to good health has had its successes and its obstacles.
In my early 50’s now, I feel like I’ve finally figured out the healthiest way to eat. Finally! Actually, I’ve really known for years now, but along the way, I’ve had a hard time truly committing to it:
Eat a balanced diet with mostly fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes.
It’s so simple. Or is it?
We know that brown rice, black beans, apples and greens are better for the human body than donuts or French fries. We know soda drinks and chips aren’t real food.
So, what’s my problem? Like most women, there are so many other factors that influence what we eat. Knowledge of nutrition helps, but it isn’t the only thing that contributes to our food choices.
Other obstacles many of us have to tackle:
- The addictive nature of so many foods, especially sugar, salt and fat
- Emotional associations to certain foods
- Food temptations are everywhere now: convenience stores, restaurants, fast-food, food delivery
- Social situations where food we don’t usually eat is right there, offered to us
- Patterns and habits, which can be difficult to break
- Dealing with stress on a daily basis through commitments related to work and family
Whoa! Ok, the terrain is tricky to get through, but we need to be careful. If we point to those things on the list too often, they’ll become our EXCUSES.
So, let’s get back to how I’ve finally found my food path to good health, which includes being close to my ideal weight.
Like many people, I’ve tried many different approaches to eating. Check out the different diets I’ve eaten over the years.
- Meat and potatoes, a standard North American meal (with a veg or small salad thrown in, almost like a condiment)
- Meat, meat and more meat (think Dukan Diet, similar to Atkins)
- 80-10-10 Diet (80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat): Nothing wrong with these numbers (80% of our calories should come from carbohydrates-the complex, healthy ones in fruit, veggies, grains and legumes) With the 80-10-10 Diet, however, the 80% is supposed to come from fruit mainly.
- Raw Food Diet, with low fat (easy on the avocados and nuts)
- Plant-based Diet, where anything non-animal goes (including potato chips and highly processed fake meats)
- Plant-based Diet, with low fat (easy on avocados and nuts)
- Plant-based Diet with low fat and little or no sugar
For each different style of eating, I either felt good or I didn’t. I either knew it was good for me, or wondered if it wasn’t. I felt it was either sustainable, or it wasn’t. My different experiences taught me what works and what doesn’t.
What works best? Whole plant foods. No animal products. No highly processed food. No oil. Very little sugar. Keep an eye on the sodium.
When I eat these foods, I feel great. I feel light. My energy soars and my weight drops.
Here’s what I had for a light dinner tonight: Homemade Kabocha Squash Soup
I just threw all the following in my Vitamix blender and voila! Yummy!
-a whole squash, unsweetened cashew milk until it was a consistency I liked (cashew milk is a thicker variety of plant-based milk), maple syrup, and spices (garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin).
It’s hard to eat this way ALL of the time, so I’ve decided that as long as I eat this way 90-100% of the time, health is within my reach. It’s too much pressure for me right now, to commit to all the way, all the time.
I’m proud of my progress so far. I’ll share more details as I continue the journey. In my next post, I’ll talk about some major players who’ve helped me understand the why and the how of plant-based eating.
I wish you health and success on your journey,