There is something I have been wanting to discuss with all of you for quite some time now, but I haven’t quite had the right words to say it…so I just started writing to see what would come out.
Recently, I read some really great and inspiring posts about how different people DON’T put a label on how they eat or how their eating habits have changed over time(Calorie Counting, Fat Fears, and Trusting Yourself, My Diet Doesn’t Need a Label). I have finally decided that it’s time for me to speak up about this too.
Being in the health and wellness industry means that people are always asking me: “What are your favorite workouts?” “What will give me the quickest results?” What do you recommend eating for…” “What do YOU eat?” “Are you a vegetarian?” “What would you label yourself when it comes to the food you eat?”
Honestly, it’s hard for me to put a label or give a name to the way I eat, and I think the answer that I give most of the time is probably frustrating to the person asking. Many times I say “I’m really in an experimental phase of my life, but I eat a lot of vegetables and fish as lean protein.”
To be COMPLETELY honest, it’s confusing and I don’t know that there IS a label for the way I eat.
A little back story: Growing up, my family ate chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs as our “meat” protein options. We were not red meat eaters, and while I have tried ribs and steak it just doesn’t do it for me so I still do not incorporate those foods into my diet. Sometime around October 2011 I stopped eating chicken and turkey and focused on organic soy protein, legumes, eggs, fish, and lowfat dairy to get adequate protein into my diet. At the time, I was learning more and more about the processes that meat and poultry go through and I was not comfortable putting those foods into my body.
Since then, I have eaten pretty much the same type of diet (whatever you want to call it!)…until recently.
Recently, I have been educating myself on the benefits of a balanced diet (which means varying sources of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats in the diet), and the harmful chemicals that could be in fish sources of protein. Because of this self-education, I have decided to incorporate free-range, organic chicken (local if possible!) into my diet and I have limited my intake of lowfat dairy, legumes, and organic soy protein (but I haven’t cut them out completely).
One of the hardest things about changing my diet is having to answer questions from friends and family about the way I eat. “Are you a vegetarian?” “Do you eat meat now?” When I first considered incorporating chicken back into my diet, one of the first things I thought to myself is “What kind of label should my diet have now? Eating meat doesn’t fit the pescatarian lifestyle I was living. People are going to question what I am eating.” Technically? I’m not a vegetarian or a pescatarian, and I am incorporating meat into my diet, but I still like to consider myself someone who eats a plant-based diet. I eat greens and veggies at every meal and lots of them!
I can understand why friends and family want to know what to “label” me, but at the same time I don’t think it’s necessary to have a label for the way I (or anyone else) eats. I eat the foods that make me feel good, and I want to focus on making healthy choices for my body NOT on fitting into the perfect mold of whatever food label I THINK I may fall under. This should be the same for you too!
Friends, here are some good take-aways…
You may be wondering how this will effect the blog and the recipes I share. I don’t think much will change. I will still share delicious recipes with you, share any food experiments or new way of eating that I am trying out, some recipes may have meat some may not, I will still continue to LOVE my veggies and fruits, and I will still incorporate some treats in moderation (it’s all about balance!).
Boy, does it feel good to get all of that out in the open!
Now, if you ARE comfortable labeling the way you eat…more power to ya! Like I said before, I truly believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON is different and unique in every possible way, this includes the way we eat. Right now, I don’t fall into a perfect food “label,” but I understand some of you might and I am 100% MORE than ok with that 🙂
Based on this post, here are a few similar ones you should check out.
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YES!! I wrote something awhile back about how I eat mostly vegetables but I’m not not a vegan. I think labels help people when they are trying to figure you out or what to make for a dinner party…and yet they just cause so much confusion! I prefer to be able to eat whatever my body is telling me it needs without feeling like I’m going to break a rule provided by a label
Thanks so much for reading!! Agreed…they help others, but not us so who really CARES what my diet is called?
great post! I couldn’t agree more! I also get so many questions too. Is this good? what’s better? so what about fast results? .. 1- there is no fast results if you want to maintain and 2- I say go with your gut! if you eat healthy all day.. better believe I am eating cake for dessert or whatever other sweets cross my path. balance would be my label IF I WERE naming it 🙂
BALANCE is the key!! 🙂
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This is a great post! I often get the same question as an elite athlete, as people think if they eat like me they will suddenly run minutes faster than they do now, but I think your takeaways are right on. It is what works for you. I tend to eat healthy for the normal range of calorie intake for a normal person, and then the remaining caloric intake (the calories I burn) are things I want to eat/enjoy eating the most.
Thanks for sharing your story 🙂
Yep! Gotta know what works for you 🙂
I try to keep it balanced. Lean proteins and lots of veggies and fruits throughout the weekdays (I actually love red meat, pork, chicken, fish…everything). Then I just about eat whatever my heart desires during the weekends. I know not the best diet, but it works for me. I’m not one to resist when temptations are calling my name. You only live once, right?
YES! No need to stress about food choices!
I definitely relate to this post. As a nutritionist the first thing people always ask me is what is the best diet or what do you eat? Food preferences are so personal and what makes me feel good may not make you feel good. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Personal is right!! Glad you can relate!
This resonates with me in a lot of ways. I have considered going in a certain direction towards pescetarianism (is that a word?) but I realized that putting a restriction on my diet would probably do more harm than good. The label only really helps others understand what I typically eat…until I confuse them by eating some chicken!
I feel ya, Ashley! Just do what works for you 🙂
I love your take on this 😀
The only label I try to apply to my diet anymore is ‘balanced’, cuz I think it’s important to vary the types of food we consume so that we get all the nutrients we can!
Thanks for sharing!
Yes, balance is the key 🙂
Love this. Love you. (hope that’s not creepy/weird). Really proud of you for writing this post (and thank you for sharing mine). Here to no diet labels 🙂
Not creepy at all!!! Thanks for so much support, Amy!! 🙂