My Vegetarian with Benefits Lifestyle
Free from the 2am "you up" texts and unsolicited pics, this is the only "..with benefits" relationship I need in my life. After going vegetarian for one year and trying out veganism for less than a month (can't remember exactly how long that lasted) I can confidently say that I refuse to be bound by the rules of a specific diet = yay!! Although this may seem like I'm opting for the "easy way out" ...lemme explain.
But first: total respect & love going out to those who chose to fully commit themselves to a strict vegetarian, vegan, paleo etc. diet. You guys are super creative and resourceful, I salute you 'cause It's hard work! As much as I love the plant-based way of life, I also love greek yogurt and goat cheese and grilled chicken breast from time to time.
From experimenting with different eating styles, I've discovered a lifestyle that works best for me at this point and time. And that is.. drumroll please.. the 80/20 plant-based "diet". That is to say, I love to eat colourful veggies, fruit, dairy & meat-free alternatives, nuts and so on 80% of the time, but like to leave that 20% for foods like chicken, tuna, turkey and then other not-so-healthy cheat meals every so often (aka birthdays, celebrations, summer bbqs, a hungover Sunday morning for example). This is not a new concept as I'm sure you've heard of this before - I'm def not trynna reinvent the wheel here. I'm just simply promoting what works best for me and maybe it's something you could try if you're uneasy about adhering to a specific diet OR use it as a segway into a specific diet.
If you read my intro post, you may remember me saying that nutrition is a science. And because of this, there are new studies popping up all the time. ALL the time, like every day it seems. So if it so happens that a new study has been conducted and I've researched the pros and cons and everything in between, I may just give it a go. But, (and this is impt) my main concern is and always will be optimal health. I want to feel healthy, less bloated, strong and energized. While weight loss is a great residual side effect of healthy eating, it is my secondary concern overall. What I'm saying is this: if I feel there is another diet out there that may be most beneficial for my overall health, or that I've discovered a new personal health concern that makes me rethink my diet, I'm going all in - while still adhering to my 80-20 rule as much as possible. That usually means tailoring a specific diet to my needs and likes.
IMO, this 80/20 thing is a more practical lifestyle approach for a healthier long-term relationship with food. It keeps me balanced and nourished while satisfying cravings PLUS I feel like it's the least diet-y way of living a healthy life. I've tried so many different on-trend diets only to be disappointed and haaangry in the end. I love cooking with whole foods and discovering new recipes and new concepts/alternatives/creative ways of combining certain ingredients. This year I'm really gonna try and explore international recipes, be more open-minded and try new foods that I prob would have said "meh/no b'y" to before.
I'm not about perfection. To me, the never-ending chase for perfection in any scenario is quite boring and unjustifiably time-consuming...efffff that sh*t. I don't think you should force some healthy food into your life if you genuniely don't like it.. that prob won't last long-term. What you can do is research different healthier alternatives, experiment with different recipes and discover healthy food that you truly enjoy. For example, if you can't get into kale, eff kale! Be free from the kale, this is your permission :D - just opt for another green alternative you truly enjoy, like arugula or spinach.You can even start small and choose some healthy sweeteners over that Splenda that's doing your body nooo favours. At all.
Also, I was never that person who tried to convince or push my nutritional/dietary opinions onto others. I feel as though you gotta decide you want to make a change for yourself. So if someone asked me a question, I'd be happy to talk about it (reminding them I'm no expert, I just have a genuine interest in the topic) and would provide info that I've found or something that worked for me. No one appreciates being told what to do via unsoliciated advice. At least I don't.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on my journey is that eating well isn’t about cutting out all of life’s pleasures. It’s not about sacrifice or going without, and it’s certainly not about tirelessly obsessing over calories. It’s about giving your body the nourishment it needs so that you can tackle the day, feel good and bounce back when that [enter fave food here] comes a-calling.
Yes, I’m addicted to green smoothies and I eat a mostly plant-based, anti-inflammatory diet. BUT, I also treat myself to some sort of chocolatey-goodness and pizza (albeit, most times cheese-less) and one-too-many glasses of Pinot Grigio every now and then. You do you!