I'm asked on a daily basis about my diet, what foods I eat, how I eat, etc. The main reason I haven't answered yet is because it's such a complex answer, I don't even know where to start.
So I'm not going to start at the beginning. I'm going to start at the end.
My conclusion, the points I want to make are:
1) EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.
The most important change I ever made to my diet had nothing to do with choosing a particular protocol, but rather it was recognising that my needs are different to everyone else's and I should LISTEN TO MY BODY before taking the advice of some documentary maker, article author, or random person talking about what worked for them.
I advise you to do the same.
For example, I've tried to be vegan. Three times in my life I have adhered to a vegan diet for a few months. I love animals, and I never ever want to see any living being suffer. I also love vegetables! So veganism appealed to me. But each time I've been vegan, no matter how much I supplemented with B12 and enzymes and amino acids and everything else, I stopped having a period. And finally after my third attempt at veganism and then losing my period, I decided it's not right for me. Does that mean veganism isn't right for you? Of course not. You're not me.
2) FOOD IS EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!!
You literally are what you eat. And drink. Every single morsel of food you eat and have ever eaten has dictated what bacteria live in your gut. Your gut organs are responsible for absorbing all the nutrients (or toxins!) from the food that you eat. They do this largely thanks to the trillions and trillions of bacteria that break down that food. You cannot live without these bacteria.
Some bacteria eat bananas. Some eat kale. Some eat sugar. Some eat meat. Depending on what foods you regularly feed the bacteria in your gut, certain types of bacteria will flourish (because they're well fed!) and some will struggle to survive (because they're starving.) So the more sugar you eat, the more the sugar-eating bacteria and fungi will proliferate and ask you for more more more!! The more leafy greens you eat, the more those bacteria will flourish.
And guess what? Your gut health does a LOT in dictating your hormone health and your mental health. So. Do I want my gut happy? Yes! And I eat accordingly.
There's WAY WAY WAY more to the science of what happens in your body than this, but...these little bacteria and what they're doing paints a little image in my mind of what happens inside my body to the food I eat.
I don't eat based only on how much I'll enjoy the food while it's in my mouth.
Sure I like things with a nice taste and texture just as much as anyone else.
But I keep in mind what happens to that food after I swallow it.
What is my body going to do with it? What nutrients and what toxins have I just given my body? Am I feeding the good bacteria? Or the bad bacteria?
This is why I am not tempted to eat junk food. It's why if my smoothie isn't super tasty but it's full of wonderful nutrients I know my body needs, I will enjoy it!
And it's this mindset that I think can be really helpful for anyone struggling to eat healthy. You KNOW what's good for you and what isn't. I don't need to tell you that the cupcake or pizza or takeaway isn't doing your body any good. But so many of us eat just based on what happens before the food is swallowed.
So I eat food that will fuel my body. Drinks that nourish my body.
Food can be medicine. Or it can be poison.
I choose foods therefore that are full of nutrients, and low in anything that will send my body into some chaotic frenzy of blood sugar spikes or trying to figure out how to digest something made in a Monsanto/Bayer laboratory.
If the gut is healthy and happy, then it can communicate properly with the endocrine system and the brain. That means your hormones are better balanced, and your brain is functioning optimally.
I'll repeat: FOOD IS EVERYTHING. A bad diet doesn't just lead to a larger waistline. Diet has been linked to anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's, and....well...just about everything. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
3) IT'S A JOURNEY.
In the last 6 months alone I've changed my diet about 3 times. Six months ago I was still eating rice occasionally, for example. Now I don't. Three months ago I wasn't eating any fruit at all. Now I do sometimes.
Just as every person is different, every day is different for each individual. What you eat in the summer differs to what you eat in the winter. What you eat when you're regularly working out differs to when you're not exercising so much. What you eat when you're a teenager is surely different to what you'll eat when you're in your 80s.
It's a constant journey of just listening to your body, paying attention to how you feel when you do or don't eat certain foods, and adjusting for as long as that works. Then re-adjusting when it doesn't work anymore. The body is complex, life is complex, and so there's no such thing as figuring out the perfect diet, and then for the rest of your life never eating anything outside of the confines of that diet.
So I think of each day as a mini scientific experiment. Each day is new, and so if I succumb to that chocolate bar beckoning me to eat it, I think, "Okay, I just ate a whole bar of chocolate. It PROBABLY wasn't good for me, but I'll see what happens." The next day, maybe I have a few pimples on my face, and then I think, "yup...probably wasn't a good day to eat the whole bar of chocolate. I guess I won't do that today." But I don't judge. I don't criticise myself.
It's a constant journey.
So back to this image.
I've always been thin. That's my genes. But in case you can't tell from the horrible-quality photos, I used to be quite soft and now I'm more toned.
Guess what? I don't pay attention to looking toned or looking thin. I don't eat for my waistline. I eat in a way that makes me FEEL GOOD. In a way that makes me feel light, energetic, alert, and happy.
But, if you look at the images, it seems it does have an effect on physical appearance too.
In the time of the older photo, I ate everything. Now I have found (more or less) a way of eating that works for me.
Before I proceed and share with you what that is, please keep in mind that THIS MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU. But here's the answer to your questions, finally:
I eat a low-carb, high fat diet. I don't eat any grains, and apart from if food in a restaurant is cooked for me with butter and I don't know about it, I don't consume dairy.
I fast intermittently (a high-fat diet helps with this) (usually 17-18 hours a day) and nowadays I like to break my fast with a smoothie full of things like almond butter, avocado, celery, vegan protein powder, collagen peptides, and spirulina. Whatever nuts and seeds I've got lying around might get thrown in, as well as maybe some kale or fresh aloe vera leaf.
I snack on nuts and raw veggies. Maybe a portion of good quality coconut yogurt if I can find it.
I love ending my eating hours with a massive salad with not just leafy greens and veggies, but also lots of fatty things like nuts and seeds and olive oil, maybe a can of sardines or a couple eggs for protein, and some good quality Celtic sea salt and pepper.
I supplement with magnesium, omega 3, vitamin D, zinc, b-12, and digestive enzymes. This is largely because I'm still on protocol with a functional doctor to heal my gut from issues caused by past behaviours (I'll write a separate blog on that in a few weeks).
If you're still reading, I'm guessing you're really into this whole idea of learning what diet works for you.
So I'll tell you, this is what I do through my health coaching. If you are interested in having a personal coach (me!) to help you towards your health goals, then please fill in the contact form (click "Connect" above and choose General Inquiries).