Friday, November 27, 2009

it's just food

It's just food. It's what keeps us going through the day. It's just that and yet so much more. As I have been paying so much attention to my food and trying to optimize it, I have come to realize that it may be time to stop thinking so much. Stop overthinking, eat what I know works, and let go of all the rigid rules.

I have tried out many different types of food plans in the last 2 years: vegetarian, vegetarian plus fish, omnivore, vegan, vegan gluten-free, vegan plus fish, paleo, zone. There are good and bad things about all of them. One could take nearly any food group and come up with equal amounts of research both praising and condemning: meat, grains, cooked food, fish, etc. Pretty soon, the only thing that is safe and environmentally friendly to eat is raw spinach that you grew in your own backyard. The bottom line is that we have to eat, and we just have to weigh all the conflicting the information and go with what sounds like the most logical argument.

I cycle between all these different types of diets and have trouble landing on one that I want to stick with. What is up with that? I think the issue is that all of them are rigid and restricting in some way, whether it's type of food or quantity. I was eating vegan and then I switched to paleo to add meat and now I am thinking that I would rather switch back to vegan. Couldn't that also be my body telling me that it wants both meat and grains, and that neither vegan or paleo are right for me?

I have come to the conclusion that the key to a successful healthy diet is mindful balanced moderation. Ah yes, like so many things in life it's not a simple black and white solution. I have learned a lot from trying out the Paleo diet and I will likely incorporate much of this in my ultimate food plan.  In fact, I plan to take the best of all of the diets and combine them. Here's my best of list:

1. Eat as many vegetables as I want
2. Eat a variety of fruit, preferably around workouts
3. Fuel workouts with whole foods, no processed bars or gels
4. Choose gluten-free grains, eat more of these on long workout days
5. Eat lean turkey or fish most days
6. Eat eggs once in a while, mostly whites
7. For dairy, stick to Greek yogurt and only as a treat
8. Eat nuts on a regular basis
9. Every meal should be balanced with protein, carbs, fat
10. Eat when I'm hungry and stop before I'm full
11. Have a cheat meal every once in a while and enjoy it

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