It’s a crazy world we live in today in that we have endless choices of “diets” we can follow and foods we can eat! A lot of the foods we have available to us at grocery stores, don’t grow anywhere close to us or are highly processed and packaged so that you forget what “whole foods” even are. If you saw my recent post on “The Only Diet Tip You Ever Need” – you know that I’m all about advocating for following a diet that is in line with your lifestyle and your unique value system.
Below I have listed some of the ways I personally choose to structure my diet. I’m definitely not saying this is the only way to go about things – however I have found it’s what makes the most sense for me and the things I care about!
- I try to eat as many REAL and WHOLE foods that grow on this earth as I can. I try to avoid packaged and processed foods. However, this isn’t always black and white for me. Every now and again I enjoy some yummy crackers or “health-ier” chips and so on.
- I eat very limited animal products. I am currently eating pasture raised eggs on occasion (mostly I use them in my baking) and am open to eating fresh caught lake fish. I am currently avoiding wild caught ocean fish due to mercury and depletion levels of these amazing beings, such as Salmon. That being said, this is always changing as I continue to research marine life. I know muscles and oysters are amazing for both our health and our oceans so I am open to the idea of eating them (when I can find an amazing source). I occasionally have treats with high quality grass fed butter (goats or cows), but this is not too often (mostly only my moms famous chocolate chip cookies).
- I focus on local and seasonal foods as much as possible. I grow tons of my own produce and the rest of the fresh foods I eat, I buy from farmers markets (we are spoiled here on Salt Spring with an amazing market)! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my avocado toast and banana smoothies from time to time however I am always looking for alternatives to localize my diet as much as I can – and notice that I feel best when eating foods grown close to me. This is obviously way easier in the summer than the winter, but I do my best to modify my diet according to the seasons.
- I limit refined grain and sugar products. I try to avoid white flour and sugar as much as possible. Refined white sugar is an absolute no in my diet/ household as most of it is GMO and highly toxic. I opt for local honey and real Canadian maple syrup as sweeteners and occasionally I use a small amount of organic raw cane or coconut sugar in some of my baked goods. In terms of grains – I try to always choose locally grown ancient grains (spelt, buckwheat, kamut, rye, etc.) and whole wheat products. I occasionally enjoy quinoa or brown rice however these aren’t huge staples in my diet. I don’t get too fussed about consuming white flours once and a while especially if they are Canadian grown however I definitely keep them in moderation and they absolutely must be organic if I am going to eat them. If I eat bread, I only choose sourdough (naturally leavened) and try to stay away from all products containing commercial yeast.
- I try really hard to eat fully Organic and non GMO– The only times I deviate from this is when I am travelling or occasionally when I eat out. However, I have noticed most of my favourite restaurants are highly conscious and also use mostly organic foods (they really do just taste better)! This is one of my biggest struggles with my diet as I whole heartedly feel as though pesticides are one of the biggest issues with our food system however the awareness is not where I think it needs to be. After doing my Organic Only challenge I realized the “inorganic blind spots” in my life and try to avoid these as best I can! It can feel defeating when you realize your favourite foods/ companies aren’t organic, but it is totally worth it to find an organic alternative to the things you love! I highly recommend others doing an “organic only challenge” as well (even just for a few days) to figure out the areas in their life they could make more organic swaps 🙂
- Ethical – I try my best to not support big food corporations as they are solely profit driven and their values do not align with mine at all. This is easier said then done, as once you start diving into things you realize that a lot of smaller companies are owned by larger corporations who are then owned by even larger corporations. For example, Lara Bar (the super delicious and healthy date/ nut bars) is owned by General Mills, who is owned by Monsanto, who was bought out by Bayer- gah! If you haven’t watched “The Corporation” documentary I highly recommend it.
- Social life – along with nourishment, food for me is such a social thing. I know I would be pretty grumpy if I placed too many restrictions around when I can and can’t eat if it wasn’t aligned with my social life and relationships. I try to be flexible while also remaining in tune with my body when I am eating with others. When I am on my own, the timing of my meals often varies day to day. Lately I have been enjoying a bowl of oatmeal upon rising, a good size lunch, and a lighter protein/veg based dinner (like sauteed tempeh and roasted veg). I like fairly big meals and have a good appetite most of the time. I also am a huge post-dinner sweets fan so I usually find myself enjoying tea and dark chocolate after dinner. My second favourite healthy “go to” dessert is an apple with nut/seed butter.
- Blood sugar balancing: I usually try to include leafy vegetables, complex carbs, clean proteins, and healthy fats at as many meals as possible. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but I usually feel best if my meal is balanced in this way. It also helps my energy levels to stay consistent.
Okay, I could go on and on but that’s about all from me and my diet for now! I hope this list has given you some ideas to think about when creating your own personal “diet guidelines” – especially if you have been feeling confused with the “diet world” we currently live in. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments you might have. Thanks so much for reading!