My Food Philosophy

Mt Timpanogos via Willie Holdman

One thing I have learned over the years is that my nutritional needs are going to change. Sometimes I will eat more sweet potatoes and less dairy. Other times, I will eat lots of full-fat dairy and no sugar. Other times, it will be lots of fat and less protein. Things change, I learn something new or I want to test out something food-wise. Also, I recognize that each person is biochemically individual and what may work for my body may not work your body. What helps me often is to understand and learn from someone else's food plan and experiments.

The perfectionist in me wants to figure something out PERFECTLY before I commit to it. How can I commit to something fully before I understand it perfectly? But following that belief leads to me never doing ANYTHING because nothing can be figured out perfectly before it is attempted. It doesn't mean I cannot use due diligence and prepare for many contingencies but I can easily get caught in preparing for every contingency to the point of analysis paralysis. At some point I have to fish or cut bait. I am really, really bad at fishing, just so you know.

Mostly, I worry about saying I follow some nutritional principle and then failing miserably at following it. I think that then turns to the topic of food addiction or emotional eating which is a topic to discuss more completely. For now, though, I am wildly imperfect at all of this and it has stopped me in the past from writing more about food and health. So, just to be clear: I have multitudes of knowledge to gain about food and health and how I relate to both. But I don't need a perfectionist teaching me about food or health. I need and want someone who has been in the trenches, someone who has done the dirty work and lived to tell about it. Someone who is a friend and a cohort to walk the path with me. That is what I want to be: a friend on this path. And to all of you, my friends, this is my current working philosophy.

Eat real, whole foods. 

Every time something changes in my diet or food philosophy, I still come back to this one principle. Eat real, whole foods. That is where the magic lies whatever your biochemical variability. Eating refined and processed foods is where we get into trouble. That is where the damage happens. I am a proponent of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, growing a garden, utilizing a CSA, eating local, seasonal foods and fasting and feasting. I think there is so much abundance and creativity in whole foods: that zip of lemon, that whiff of rosemary, that bite of garlic. Food has power not only in the eating but in the scent, in the eye pleasure, in the preparation, in the gathering of loved ones together, and in its nourishment of a happy, healthy mind and body. Wherever my journey goes, it is founded on eating whole foods because they bring the most pleasure, health and emotional wealth.

My Current Food Plan

  • Eat a low-carb, moderate protein, high fat diet
  • Manage my moods by abstaining from sugar and refined carbs
  • Eat full-fat dairy like heavy cream, sour cream and sometimes full-fat yogurt or cheeses
  • Eat under 20 grams of carbs per day to be in ketosis
  • Enjoy lots of good fats like coconut oil, avocados, butter, ghee, tallow, lard and olive oil
  • Eat lots of no-starch colorful veggies and greens, aiming for 6-9 cups a day 
  • Eat slow, gentle starchy carbs occasionally--sweet potatoes, squashes, red potatoes
  • Use lots of fresh herbs and spices
There are other topics to cover as well: emotional eating, addictive foods, intermittent fasting, the value of feasting, abstinence and moderation, to name a few. 

The Sugar Plan

I have known for many years that I have food sensitivities to gluten, some dairy, most grains, peanuts, and sometimes pork but I have never fully admitted to myself or to many others that one of my major food sensitivities is to sugar. Sugar has always seemed like a secondary food sensitivity to me, probably because I couldn't cope or figure out how to give it up. I have used coconut sugar and maple syrup and honey which I think are all great, alternative, natural sugars. But for me, for now, for this year, I am saying no to them. I am saying no to all refined or natural sugars except occasionally xylitol for low-carb treats and stevia for drinks or light sweetening. I could call this my Year of No Sugar or my Year of Happy, Daily Moods. I have a weakness where I need strength and it seems that abstinence is a great technique in this case.  

So, in the opening days of 2016, this is my food philosophy and the path I am choosing to grow health and happiness this year. I am learning to fish this year. This is my Year of Doing. 


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