Food freedom has been my jam for quite a few years now. I am all for breaking up with the diet and just finding peace when it comes to food and your body. I don’t think that anybody should be counting calories or be on any other diet, trendy or not. That is what I preach and what I work on myself every single day.
Having said that, as a nutritionist, I can also not tell you that what you eat, won’t have a direct impact on your body and your health. Food is information. Every single thing that we eat, will provide us with either nourishment or it can trigger reactions in our bodies. Reactions like inflammation for example.
Knowing your why helps you find the sweet balance between embracing food freedom and healthy eating. Ask yourself whether your eating and lifestyle changes are coming from a place of love for your body or because you are unhappy with how you look. If it’s the latter, you have to start with working on this part before anything else. The body and self love part. Being in peace with yourself will help you make the right decisions when it comes to your body. Not out of fear, but out of love. And not to sound cliche and all, but love does conquer all. It’s the strongest force and drive within us.
Now, back to why we can’t only embrace food freedom and kick healthy eating to the curb. We get all of the nutrients that our bodies need not only to survive but also thrive, from foods. Think about that for a second. We NEED these nutrients for our survival. No multivitamin or shake will ever be able to replace it. Food is not about the calories. In fact, that is something so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. So from this moment on, you are officially released from ever having to count calories.
Tell me the truth, how freeing do you feel right now?
You might now be wondering if calories are not important, then what should you be paying attention to? And here’s a good place to start.
Make sure every meal you have, whether big or small, has the main components: a healthy source of protein, healthy source of fat, fiber, and a nutrient booster.
Protein: Your mind might go straight to building muscles when we talk about protein. But it does so much more for the body. Protein helps with supporting strong bones, healthy/shiny hair, glowing skin, strong nails, your immune system, and it even plays a role in helping you stay full for longer. Just to name a few. Some nutritious foods that can up your protein intake for the day include: eggs, almonds, cashews, peanuts, soy, peas, chickpeas, beans, lentils, fish, and dairy (or dairy alternatives). You can learn more about Protein here.
Fat: The time to fear fat is finally coming to an end! Granted, not all fats are created equal. But healthy fats like the famous omega-3, are important for the brain and nervous system, they also play an important part in heart and hormone heath and support healthy joints. A few nutritious ways to incorporate the wonderful benefits of healthy sources of fat include: fish, walnuts, eggs, peanuts, avocado, olive oil, and seeds in general like flax, hemp, chia, and pumpkin.
Fiber: Fiber is commonly used as a strategy for those wanting to shed a few pounds. This is because it helps you stay fuller for longer. But it’s not the only reason I love fiber so much. It’s important for heart health, blood sugar management, and to help you stay regular while eliminating toxins from your body. Fruits and vegetables in general are great sources of fiber, along with beans, legumes, seeds, and whole grains.
Nutrient Booster: This includes fruits and vegetables. The reason you should make them a priority in every meal is because it’s where you’ll be getting all the good stuff, like vitamins, minerals, and tons of antioxidants.
This my dear friends, is what healthy eating is all about. Finding the sweet spot between food freedom and balanced nutritious meals. Without dieting. Just showing your body tons of love. Like you would do when you want to treat yourself to a spa day. I mean I’ve never heard anyone be unhappy about going to a spa.
-Ughh, I HAVE to go get a massage – said nobody.
So why do we see healthy eating that way? Why are we forcing ourselves to follow someone else’s idea of a diet? They don’t know what’s best for you. They don’t know your routine and lifestyle. They have no clue that you hate kale. But yet, here we are forcing ourselves to “eat healthy” while hating life.
But by keeping these 4 components in mind, you’ll be refreshingly adding flexibility when it comes to your meals. And dare I say even enjoy healthy eating without feeling guilty or deprived. For once! And it’s about time, too. The secret to healthy eating is basically understanding the role that each one of the food components play in your body, while incorporating good sources in every meal you have. And whenever you feel like having just pizza, that’s OK too. You enjoy that moment and come back home, to your baseline after.