I take a no-frills approach to nutrition — and this works awesome for me.
I’ve made small changes over time towards the nutrition strategy I want to follow for the rest of my life: not one I feel obligated to maintain. It’s been a slow lifestyle change that has improved my health dramatically.
The most important thing to remember is to eat organic whole foods in their most natural form. Whole foods are ones that are found in nature + “organic” labeling means those whole foods are the most “uncompromised” by chemicals.
Here are my simple strategies for mindful eating:
I don’t stress over grocery shopping.
I shop with 2 basic rules in-mind:
- Stay on the perimeter — I avoid packaged products with long shelf-lives as much as possible. Organic Frosted Flakes are still better than regular Frosted Flakes, but it’s still a junk food sugar cereal. Organic labeling doesn’t make it healthy, it makes it healthier.
- The cart should be filled with about 75% organic fruits + vegetables. The other 25% is made up of lean meat + fish, pastured eggs, healthy fats/oils (coconut + olive oil are favorites), and some nuts, seeds, herbs + spices.
If there isn’t an organic option, I don’t beat myself up over consuming the next best option.
I listen to what my body is telling me.
I think cravings are our body’s way of telling us what’s missing by using a familiar food memory to trigger us to action.
I never crave foods, but when I was low on iodized salt in pregnancy, suddenly I wanted French fries and takeout pizza. It wasn’t just “permission” to use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want. Cravings — especially in pregnancy — happen because our body is signaling a need for different fuel to perform optimally.
If you can de-code what your body is messaging to you before you indulge, chances are you will curb that craving by making a healthier choice. I’m able to intercept the drive-thru craving + replace it with some homemade hash browns no problem. (That doesn’t mean I don’t ever hit the drive-thru… more on that in a minute!)
If I feel hungry, I hydrate first + then eat. We often confuse our dehydration signals for hunger, so drinking water helps prevent overconsumption.
I never count meals or calories; I just consume intentionally.
The best way I’ve found to do this is to minimize technology distraction (like eating in front of the TV) + eat slowly sitting down so that my body has time to signal fullness. There’s a little time delay between the gut and brain, so eating quickly on-the-go can be another cause of overconsumption.
I eat the rainbow everyday.
When you eat a wide variety of colors — ROYGBIV, anyone? — you can rest assured you’re getting plenty of beneficial phytochemicals + antioxidants to support your whole-body health.
I run through a little ROYGBIV checklist before dinner + my trick to filling in any “colors” I missed is to usually make a little side salad. Otherwise, I — again, don’t stress — and make sure I’ve taken all of my daily vitamins + supplements to help fill in the gaps.
I treat myself.
I eat milk chocolate, not the dark real cacao that I probably “should” have instead. I order pizza with real, gooey, greasy cheese on top — unapologetically. And I think ice cream without sprinkles just looks naked + wrong.
I have a great relationship with food because I don’t deprive myself. I listen to my body + give it what it needs first, then what it wants.