Have you ever gone into the kitchen to fix something for dinner and thought “help, I don’t know what to eat!”? Well you are not alone and if that is you, then you have come to the right place!
There is so much division going on in the world today, and that is true in the world of the real food movement as well. In this movement you will find those who follow Weston A Price, the Paleo and grain free crowd, vegetarians, low carbers, clean eaters and so many more. And among all of these groups you will find a variety of dietary theories and passionate people who fully believe that their way of eating is the absolute best way.
In a way, they are all correct! Their way of eating is the absolute best way of eating…..for them. But unfortunately, too often when we find something that we are passionate about, we forget that everyone is not us! One man’s food is indeed another man’s poison!
What I’m talking about is the idea of biological individuality. We are all unique, and as a result, our bodies all require different things. Some can thrive and see their health improve significantly without meat. Others suffer health issues when eating grains and do much better on a natural gluten free or Paleo diet. Some find that they thrive following WAPF, vegetarian or low carb.
So why am I writing about this today? Well, there are so many different ways that you can eat and different dietary theories that you can follow, that it can be overwhelming and confusing to those who are genuinely trying to transform the health of themselves and their family. I know I experienced moments that I was so overwhelmed that I felt like I should just scrap everything and go back to eating crap….because that was so much easier!
If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about what to eat, then this article is for you!
Here are some basic things to remember:
- Most real foodies will agree that it’s best to remove as much packaged, processed and fast food as possible! No matter which way you look at it, these foods do very little to support us nutritionally. Does this mean that you have to remove every possible packaged and processed food? No! You have to decide how much to get rid of and what to keep. A good goal is to eat 80% whole, unprocessed food and 20% processed and packaged foods. That seems to be “doable” for most families. If you want to do more than that….woo hoo! That’s great!! The goal is to make the majority of your diet nutrient rich foods, instead of the large percentage of junk filled foods that so many regular families are eating every day. This can (notice I didn’t say “must”) include grass fed meats, organic produce (you can do the clean 15/dirty dozen to save money), raw dairy, natural sweeteners, whole organic soaked or sprouted grains, nuts and seeds, high quality fats like coconut oil, lard, tallow, butter, ghee, olive oil, palm oil. All of this is based on what works for you and what your body will tolerate! And don’t forget some fermented foods or beverages….we need the good gut flora!
- You have to figure out what foods work best for your body! Just because someone else is promoting a Paleo lifestyle or vegetarian way of eating does not mean that it will work for you! I’ve seen way too many people adopt a way of eating that doesn’t work for their body and suffer health consequences as a result! If you are concerned that you have an intolerance to grains, dairy or any other food, then you can test it out by removing those foods from your diet for a couple of weeks. Just remove any foods that you may be concerned about and then after the two week period add one food group back at a time. Pay attention to any symptoms that show up after consuming that food. If you do have symptoms, then you have a problem! If not, then add the next food after a couple of days. It’s all about listening to your body and what works best! Once you have a better idea of which foods work best for you, then you will have a better idea of which real food lifestyle will work best!
- Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t doing things perfectly! I had to learn the hard way that there is NO SUCH THING as perfect. It doesn’t help your health to feel guilty about things when you are learning and actively making changes! And it doesn’t help your mental health to worry non-stop either! The best thing that you can do is to set goals for yourself. I tell people all of the time that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback, so if you fail to meet a goal or feel you are taking a step backward, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your goal. Sometimes it is better to take a goal and break it down so that it’s easier to achieve.
- Don’t let others and their viewpoints lead you to feel guilty or fear about making the best health choices for you and your family. There are a lot of passionate, well intentioned people out there who truly believe that their lifestyle is the best. And some do get a little carried away by forgetting that we are uniquely made individuals……and that’s okay! If you need to eat meat to feel your best, then do what’s best. If it’s better to remove it….that’s okay too! It doesn’t matter what anyone else says! There is NO one size fits all way of eating…and isn’t that great that we are diverse in so many different ways?
It really is all about where you are in your journey…and what is most important to you! One thing that you will never see here on my site is any putting down of other real food dietary theories! I know how beneficial different lifestyles are to a lot of people and although we primarily write about a real food way of eating that includes meat, dairy, and grains, I never discount how many people have benefited from excluding those things!
It’s time we celebrate all the different ways we can eat real food!