No guilt, but if you’re looking for a diet plan, here’s a basic outline for one. You can start it any day of the year. Any hour of each new day. You can take off for your birthday and start the day after. Just eat this way nearly daily, always coming back to it after a day or two or month off, for the rest of your life, and you’ve got a good, successful, healthy diet plan. Tweak it how you want, although keep true to the whole, real food “bones” of the plan.
Health is important. Eating right is important. But most importantly, YOU are important. Eating is a tool to make YOU the BEST YOU! I would be so happy if you started seeing it that way! Please, if you have any questions on what I mean when I write, do ask!
Ready? Let’s go! (Click this link for printable PDF version: Whole New Approach Diet Plan)
The Goal: Take it down to 100% whole, real food that hasn’t been processed.
This is what you’re shooting for here: Pretend you had farms, orchards, and fishing boats all over the world. The food you’re about to buy or cook with should be something you could have grown, picked, gathered, pressed, squeezed or butchered from the abundance of your farm, orchard, or from waterways you travel.
Yes, it’s a real challenge in today’s world to eat this way! You may not need to do this forever to reach your health goals. Or maybe you will need to do this forever to maintain your health goals. But for right now focus on today! Plan for tomorrow.
Loosen up as your waistline and/or health goals allow. Loosen up when it becomes too cumbersome. But keep this as your goal, your vision, your “perfect” plan, so you don’t stray back to eating fast food or too many boxed foods.
Maybe you’ll make exceptions to making your own peanut butter or almond milk. I get it! But I do challenge you to try to eat completely unprocessed foods for a set length of time you determine. It is a real eye-opener!
Yes! You can eat any fresh, unpackaged fruit or vegetable.
Eat them how you want. Raw. Steamed. Poached. Baked. Boiled. They’re on the table. If you have an upset stomach from eating them, pay attention to which ones! Eat less of those. Try them prepared a different way. Or eat another kind.
Some people don’t tolerate certain fruits and vegetables well, but there is PLENTY to choose from! Look up something called “FODMAPS” and see if you can sort out which foods might be causing you abdominal distress. BUT don’t go too crazy with it! It’s your body, and the FODMAP tables are only guidelines.
Yes! You can eat any fresh meat that has not been processed.
Meats that are canned with nothing added can be used occasionally, like canned tuna or salmon. Bacon and cold cut meats are convenient but require caution because they are usually processed with added chemicals or fillers .
Sad face: No refined flours at all.
None. No exceptions. Read labels. Most whole grain products are made with refined flour also.
Another sad face: The goal is no added “sugar” of any kind to the food you buy.
No sugar. No honey. No maple syrup. No dextrose. And definitely no high fructose corn syrup. Buy food items without sweetener, and then, if it tastes “yucky,” sweeten it yourself just to the lowest sweetness you can tolerate. You can control “sugar” (or honey or maple syrup) this way. It’s a difficult rule. You may find yourself making some exceptions, but don’t make many.
No artificial colors added.
I can think of NO reason an artificial color is needed. Many children, especially, are sensitive to food dyes. All food dyes do is muck up the body and brain with no benefit to nutrition. Eliminate them.
Like eliminating sugar, this is a tough rule. But it’s still important to not allow too many exceptions. Preservatives alter the VITAL gut bacteria that our bodies DEPEND on for health. I cannot stress enough how we must protect our gut bacteria to protect us from all disease states.
No more than 3-5 ingredients that you understand and have access to yourself should be listed in the ingredients for the product.
Do you understand maltodextrin? Or soy protein isolate? Don’t buy that stuff.
Oils and fats should be ones you could make right there on that farm or orchard we talked about at the beginning of the post! Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or butter are oils and fats you could make!
This is a huge, very important topic! Processed oils like Canola oil, soybean oil, and vegetable oil as they are purchased in the supermarket are faulty oils that place a large stress on the body. Liquid oils should have the date they were squeezed from the food they came from (called the pressed date) on them, and they should be simply pressed—not extracted under high heat and processed with deodorizers.
Solid fats should be solid naturally, like butter and coconut oil are. Margarine, Crisco, and hydrogenated fats are liquid fats that have been chemically processed to be solid. Do NOT eat them if you can help it.
Watch for food sensitivities, and be aware that gluten and dairy have lots of pesky proteins which make them top health offenders.
After eliminating processed foods, it’s time to explore if there are sensitivities. Common problematic foods include: eggs, nuts and seeds, grains, dairy, legumes, shellfish. But any food can cause symptoms. Anything you swallow can have side effects, and each person is different.
Do I eat this way? It is my gold-standard, but I adapt it differently as life changes and puts me in different stages. This is the eater I’d like to be! But I do not feel guilt when life dictates that I must deviate!
Guilt is just a part of us screaming (or whispering) because it wants us to do the right thing. Guilt doesn’t make us healthy. In about four minutes, my four-year old will wake up and come find me on the computer here, trying to write this post. Guilt will tell me to stop writing now and be a good mother. Guilt will also tell me I’ll never be a writer because I don’t make time for it. My guilt is simply trying to help me do the right thing to find balance in my life.
I don’t want you to have guilt about your eating. I just want you to do the right thing for your health, your body, and your mind. Usually, the path for that will be clear and you’ll stick to homemade soups and salads and yummy, crunchy nuts day in and day out! But then, there will be moments where eating unhealthy is the healthiest thing to do in that moment for you, like at your birthday or Christmas. Paradoxes like this make life a fun art!
Best wishes for a pattern of LIFELONG real, whole eating! I really want you to succeed in health and vitality in 2019 and onward! I would like for you to feel good and paint, sew, write, sing, or garden. I would like you to travel with your grandkids, bike with your friends, or climb up on the tractor for another season of harvest.
The world needs more real, whole, healthy people–inside and out! Eating is a tool to make you the best you. Are you eating that way?
Terri- Any way to get this in a printable format? This post is very balanced. Most everyone at school knows I am on a health journey and really care about them. This would be great to leave in our break room. Definitely want to give you credit where credit is due.
Hi, MEH! How are you? Good here!
Yes! There is now (a printable PDF)! I’ve modified it for you, too. Wish I could have gotten it down to one page, but at least I got it down to two! PLEASE let me know of typos or suggestions so I can modify it. Don’t feel bad telling me if you’d change something or catch a mistake. I’m solo with only my own eyes here, so I miss lots! Thanks! If you look at the top of the post, right before the red headline, there is the link for the PDF. I hope it works!
Thanks, Terri! Looks great! Looking forward to sharing it at work. I’ve had a major health setback this last fall. Can you believe almost 4 months of c-diff!! Wicked. Set me back almost 15 years in managing post cancer symptoms. I am now, finally (!) on the journey back to health. I have a great functional doctor who really makes a difference. Your blogs help me to stay focused along the way. Happy New Year! Mary
Oh, no! That’s terrible! But I’m so glad you have a functional medicine doctor to help! That’s a blessing most people don’t have in their area! So I’m glad you do!
Writing helps me practice what I preach. It keeps me focused, motivated, and wanting to learn. So I’m glad it provides focus for you too.