Nowadays, it feels like the definition of “healthy” changes by the minute, and with the many mixed messages presented to us all, it can be hard to know what proper health means for each of us. That said, don’t worry because I’m here to help you all see just how simple healthy eating is!
Before we get into the good stuff, though, it’s important to stress that each of us is uniquely made; thus, our nutritional needs will differ from one person to the next. My message does not proclaim to be “one-size-fits-all” but instead one of balance; what matters most is that each of you listens to your body and finds ways to enjoy good food with the people closest to you!
I’m sure many of you can relate to the desire to eat healthily yet struggle to bridge the gap between wanting to and knowing how to do so! For me, it was after years of dabbling in different ways of eating, whether that be a Paleo lifestyle or even just making an effort to make generally healthy choices when eating, that I felt perpetually like I was missing something.
Take the example of my two years following a Paleolithic lifestyle (often referred to as the “caveman diet”): I loved eating whole foods and even found great healing in cutting out grains and refined sugars...but my goodness, as you all well know, I love peanut butter and unfortunately, legumes are a no-no according to a Paleo lifestyle. Also, what do I always, and I mean *always* enjoy with my healthy treats? Some coffee with heavy cream! And once again, I was left feeling deprived because dairy is also not part of the Paleo way of eating.
Since I wasn’t wholly enjoying the way I was eating, I soon realized that I wasn’t willing to feel that way forever; I not only missed the foods that I loved but, more so, the memories I made when sharing those beloved foods with some of my favorite people. This is a crucial takeaway that I hope you all can learn from my previous experiences, so I’ll repeat myself for emphasis: if you want to switch up your eating habits, you’ve GOT to make it sustainable for your lifestyle!
I knew a couple of things: my body didn’t react well to grains or refined sugars, so I wasn’t about to reintroduce those into my eating. However, I also knew how my body thrived when fueled by healthy fats like salmon, avocadoes, heavy cream, and PEANUT BUTTER TOO! When I found the Ketogenic lifestyle (more commonly known as “Keto”), life seemed a little too good because I could eat all these flavorful, creamy, and rich foods while still leading a life of wellness in all aspects. Although when things seem too good to be true in life, they usually are, I have found Keto to be a remarkable exception to that rule!
Now, you might be thinking: Great! You can have peanut butter again, but what is Keto anyways?
The Keto lifestyle is centered around the consumption of high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb foods. That may sound vague, but honestly, that just means returning to the foods our bodies were meant to consume! Think of whole, natural foods, and you’re there: berries, high-quality animal fats, nuts, butter, the list goes on (and is a pretty delicious one at that)!
The fantastic thing about Keto is that while it may appear to be very restrictive, just like anything else, you’ve got to find what works for you! There’s something extraordinary and encouraging about knowing that I am nourishing my body and enjoying that process rather than resenting it! I’ve found that through eating Keto foods, in tandem with whipping up healthier versions of treats (and, you guessed it, enjoying them daily), I feel energized and satisfied as well.
The sustainable factor has come into play for me, and it can work for you too! Regardless of whether you choose to look into the Keto lifestyle or simply whole foods on a broad level, I hope that all of you know that “healthy” doesn’t need to be synonymous with miserable, bland, and boring. Instead, it can be colorful, nutritious, and delightfully creamy (I’m talking about all those healthy fats)!
Foodies, let’s get back to the basics and redefine “healthy” for the better together!
Here’s to health,
Contributor & Founder of The Wooden Spoon Healthy Eating Blog