Vegetarian. Paleo. Standard American. Low-carb, high fat. Vegan. Bulletproof! Ketogenic. And Pegan (I'm not sure if this one will catch on like wild fire yet).
There are numerous labels we put on the food choices we make daily. We decide to be paleo and everything we eat is paleo- paleo pancakes, paleo pizza, paleo burgers. We decide to be whole-food and plant based, but cheat with a craving of boxed mac' and cheese.
Or, we do a 'challenge' and deprive ourselves of multiple things simultaneously, lose weight temporarily, then go right back to our bad habits.
These 'challenges' are the new 'diets' or the new way of dieting, by the way, but that's a blog post for the future. They certainly don't teach us long term habits!
The bottom line is this: when we stray off our chosen food plan, it creates stress.
Here in lies the problem. We feel like we failed because we ate quinoa on our paleo diet or low carb diet. We feel like we failed when we eat potatoes on our ketogenic diet. We failed when we gave in to a juicy burger on our vegetarian diet.
If we go off of our strict plan in ANY way, the feelings of failure lead us to eating behaviors and negative thought patterns that further take us off the plan.
Now, my entire point surrounding these labels is to reduce stress and increase compliance with your version of healthy eating. For those of you that are settled in your 10 year long stent of, say eating raw-vegan, I salute you!
However, there are many of us that will never be able to commit to one thing for that long.
Many of these plans simply restrict foods- which can be great for our health- but they don't teach us healthy habits that last forever. Often times we're too consumed by all the restriction that we can't wait to have our favorite food again.
One reason we fall off the wagon because we choose to jump on a food trend that may have never been the right thing for us in the first place. There is absolutely no single RIGHT way for all of us to eat. There are so many plans out there touting to be the best, to be the one that finally gets you results.
We are all different and there is never a one-size fits all when it comes to food! Honor what feels right to you, at this particular time in your life, and not be so persuaded by fad diets.
These food fads come and go and many of them focus on what you can't eat.
There is one very simple solution.
Just eat more fruits and vegetables.
Eliminate what you think might be aggravating your symptoms (like eliminating wheat if you have joint pain) and add more vegetables. Add more fruit.
I know fruit is getting a bad wrap these days because of it's natural sugar. Processed sugar (and processed food in general) should be avoided! It doesn't do any of us any good. But, fruit? I don't think that something so natural, so delicious right off of the tree should be avoided.
Just make adding fruits and vegetables- especially leafy greens- your mission. The more you add, the more you won't be focused on what you're not eating.
Renounce the label. Let go of the stress of eating. Chow down on a big bowl of leafy greens with your favorite fixings.
Next week, we'll talk about Easy Ways to Add More Fruits and Vegetables.