I decided that 2013 would be the year that I permanently changed my eating habits. I describe this as “permanently change eating habits” vice using the word “diet” as diets seem to imply a temporary solution. Here at Sustainable Evolution want to evolve in ways that can be sustained over time. You may know someone who dropped 20 pounds in one month on the whatever diet. Great. How long until that 20 pounds comes back?
As per human nature my nutrition-related research revealed that there are several camps with each having their own theories that seemed dismissive of anyone who was not a strict adherent. I needed to find something that worked for me. I started with the great quote from Michael Pollan “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” You can read an outstanding article by Michael Pollan here: Click As I continued my research I discovered and instantly fell in love with the African Heritage Food Pyramid which can be viewed here: Click At the conclusion of my research I came away with the following principles five principles:
1. Eat breakfast. Do not skip meals.
Eating breakfast sets the stage for your day. It not only increases your energy level and therefore your morale but it gets your digestive system going and you start to burn calories. Eating breakfast also ensures you do not over-eat at lunch and have that 2pm energy crash which is usually followed by a caffeinated beverage of some variety. For breakfast I have six hard-boiled eggs, discard the yoke, and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar as I am not perfect. 🙂
2. Avoid foods that were never living.
I side a bit with the paleo crowd here as I believe that there are many things on the market called “food” that our bodies just weren’t made to process efficiently. I also find that when I eat foods that were once alive my energy level is higher and I do not feel sluggish. For lunch each day I have a large spinach salad with chicken and a sprinkle of vinegar and olive oil.
3. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Meat is good. Meat as a side dish is better.
If I were a Sesame Street character I would be “Ribeye Monster” as I love me some ribeye. However, what I love more than a 14oz medium-rare ribeye with Montreal steak seasoning is how my digestive system has to work hard to process raw fruits and vegetables and thus burns more calories longer. For dinners I try to have a small portion of meat with a large portion of vegetables.
4. Substitute bad foods for good foods to achieve the effects you desire when you feel the need to deviate from your plan.
I like to feel full. I like sweets. Acknowledging this I try to substitute sweet foods that make me feel full, like ice cream and cake, with better food choices such as yogurt. Yogurt sits heavy in my stomach, is sweet enough to check the block, and is much better for me than ice cream and cake. Think about bad foods that you love. Think about the effects you get from those foods, then try to find some healthy substitutions.
5. If you must deviate from your plan, do it hard, do it fast, do it to excess, and then get back on your plan as quickly as possible.
All of us eventually reach that point where we are fed up and want to eat an entire large white pizza with bacon and sausage while sipping a cookies and cream milkshake. No big deal. However, don’t make it a daily ritual. You will find the longer you eat well the less you will want to deviate and when you do deviate it just doesn’t feel as good as it used to because your body has adapted to eating healthier foods.