My facebook is blowing up y’all. With statuses about nutrition, food, supplements – I don’t think I can make it a day without seeing a post of at least half a dozen people’s dinners. From the looks of it – it seems to be something people care about. After all, I do.
The biggest talk I see going on via facebook and in a lot of the fitness circles I run in as a personal trainer is centered around “eating clean.” Maybe you’ve seen t-shirts repping the “eat clean” phrase (maybe coupled with “train dirty”). I read and hear comments on a regular basis along the lines of
“It is so hard to try to eat clean…”
“I just eat really clean…”
“Do you have any ideas for clean meals?”
“___ is a great restaurant with a lot of clean options.”
Can I be honest…every time I hear “clean eating” or one of its forms I think: “hey, I eat clean too…I wash all my fruits and veggies…all clean!”
In all seriousness though, what in the world does clean eating mean? Really…there is no ONE definition of clean eating. You can google search it and come up with a number of different interpretations and takes on the topic and methodologies. It is avoiding everything artificial? Is it avoiding all processed foods? Is it avoiding any kind of “treat” or sweet? Does it include food combination principles? Nutrient timing? Paying attention to macros and micros? No wonder people break out into a cold sweat when they start entering the nutrition world. I’m not surprised by people who try to follow strict rules that they found and then get so overwhelmed that they give up. Now, I’m not saying that “clean eating” – however you define it – is bad, wrong, silly or whatnot. I just think sometimes we spend way too much energy on trying to be perfect and get everything right.
I read somewhere…I don’t know where…but there is some blog out there I once happened upon and the author said something to the tune of “I follow an 80/20 rule. I eat 80% of the time in my home where I control what I buy, eat and I take great care to do it well. That means the other 20% I don’t worry about when I am out an about.” That doesn’t mean binging on sliders and supersized meals when out and about…but it means we can cut ourselves a little slack and not beat ourselves up for not being perfect all the time.
Here’s my little secret – I eat whatever I want. But here’s the thing – my wants have changed dramatically over time. I really, truly, honestly, don’t desire fast food, or sheet cake, or a number of other things that we encounter every day. Because I want my health and my fitness more. However…when it comes to ice cream; I almost always want that more 😉 I evaluate my food choices and I eat what I want…and what I want is my food to line up with my desire to be healthy, fit, and active. I want my food to fuel my body, to give me energy to play with my son, to allow me to run races or pay attention in an all day meeting. My want for those things overrides my want for junk…usually. I don’t stress about the “20%” that might not align so well.
I don’t pay attention to calories. I don’t look at nutrients. I don’t do much supplementation – I take a multivitamin, and when I was pregnant I took extra iron. I eat real food. Here’s my loose food philosophy:
– I pay extra for organic produce, meat and dairy when it is available…so mostly everything. I know too much about GMOs, glyphosate (the active ingredient in round-up), and other chemical use to not try. That said – a box of organic mac and cheese is still mac and cheese – it doesn’t make it magically “healthy” – so organic is NOT an excuse to eat whatever you want (though I do enjoy some mac and cheese now and then 😉
– I eat my fruits and veggies
– I eat meat (I only buy organic chicken from the store…no organic, no chicken; wild caught fish; I love it when the hubby gets a deer in the fall and we get our beef from the family), but not everyday…I LOVE beans for protein too – great northern beans, I’m looking at you!
– I don’t eat HFCS, colored dyes (except in sprinkles and an occasional gatorade), or trans fats (they still sneak in there if you read ingredients!).
– I pay more for cane sugar since beet sugar is most likely GMO. I use real sugar, never artificial substitutes or honey.
– Whole grains for everything – I even bake with all whole wheat flour.
– And I eat ice cream almost every night…I will probably have to stop after I’m done nursing (or I’ll just have to have another baby) – you need extra calories (200ish) when pregnant and while nursing (500ish) – that’s my ice cream.
That’s about it. Is it perfect? No. Is it doable? Yes. Oh yeah…I love good chocolate. And in the summers I get a cookie every Tuesday when I bake for the hubby’s softball team – the guys eat the rest. I also drink whole milk – if raw delivery was convenient for me, I’d probably make the switch…hubby drinks 1%. I currently love peas. I grow a garden each summer…and try to prevent the deer from getting it all. I love canning. I make jam – it has too much sugar in it, but it is amazing.
That’s really about it now. I try not to stress too much – fruits and veggies, good protein, whole grains, and ice cream. That’s my eating philosophy. What’s yours?