defining my version of ‘healthy eating’

Hi lovelies! If you’re like me, it can be hard to wade through the barrage of “eat this, not that!” information that’s out there on the internet, in magazines, etc. Not only that, without having the full picture, it can be really difficult to know whether or not you can trust the information being provided. Hate to say it, but Cosmo is not a doctor and is thus not a 100% reliable source of nutrition information. 😉  It seems like every week the trend in the fitness/diet world changes and a new fad is born, from paleo to raw vegan to low-carb-high-fat. I personally believe that moderation is key in basically everything you do, so I try to use this approach with my nutrition. I believe in cheat meals (one or two a week don’t impact my health or my progress) and I believe in eating what makes you feel well.

A few things that I’ve discovered lately have helped me further carve out my personal definition of ‘healthy food’. One of those is a ‘sugar awareness’ so to speak. If you read the ingredients on most of the stuff we tend to buy from the grocery store, some form of sugar is on the list. Even things like chicken stock (WTF?!) have added sugar, and it’s not always easy to spot because there are so many different varieties of and names for added sugars. (If you’re looking to cut down your sugar intake, a quick Google search will provide you with all the different sneaky names that added sugars have.) I did an experiment where I tried cutting out as many added sugars as possible for a week, and let me tell you, it was a CHALLENGE. However, after the week was through, I found that my skin was clear, I had lost some weight, and my stomach felt better than it had in years. Now, I’m not recommending that we all quit sugar cold-turkey and live our lives in a cupcake-free hell forever and ever, but it is worth noting. I have since incorporated this into my broader definition of what is healthy to me, and that is simply: less processed. I am trying to eat waaay more foods that are one-ingredient only. And when I do combine ingredients, I try my best to take all fresh, whole items and combine them. (For example, taking canned or fresh tomatoes and adding herbs, spices, and veggies to make a pasta sauce rather than buying the pre-made stuff from the store.) I find that eating less-processed foods results in my sugar intake being way lower, and that I’m eating far fewer ‘mystery ingredients’. Although I steer clear of white, processed sugar, I still make life sweet by using honey or raw sugar every once in a while. Keep in mind, too, that lactose (major ingredient in milk) is a sugar… so, if you’re like me and sugar bugs your tummy (again, I discovered this through my sugar-free experiment) it might be worthwhile to substitute some of your dairy products with an almond or coconut alternative. I, for example, still eat cheese every once in a while (because obviously) and will even have a latte every now and then, but I have substituted almond milk for my usual skim milk in my morning smoothies and in most of my recipes. It’s all about what works well and makes sense for you.

This was a bit of a crazy post but to summarize: everyone’s definition of healthy and what works for them is different. For me, I try to eat less-processed foods as well as limiting my sugar intake and have found success this way.

Let me know if you have a different definition that you’d like to share, or a trick for fuelling our bodies better!

xo,

J

**Please refrain from chastising each other on our diet/nutrition choices. What works for one will not work for all, and attacking other people based on what they eat only leads to food shame. If you’re a vegan, I’m happy for ya, but please don’t shame us occasional meat-eaters, and meat-enthusiasts, please don’t bug the vegans. Everybody do what makes you feel happy and healthy and support each other in our differences and our choices.**

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