I like to break down what I eat into three categories: what I don’t eat, what I heavily restrict, and what I eat daily without limitation. This helps me set realistic limitations for myself. I am a firm believer that if you cut out everything that you love, you are surely to binge. It is way better to allow yourself a little spoonful of heaven here-and-there, instead of freaking out and eating 25 servings in one sitting at midnight after an extremely stressful day. But be honest with yourself, and don’t let “a little spoonful here-and-there” turn into “a serving every night” if it’s something that you really should be restricting!!!
I completely omit the things that I am intolerant of/allergic to/make me feel noticeably crappy. My evils:
- Gluten: pizza, bagels, donuts, english muffins, bagel bites, pastries, pasta, bread, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc. Anything with bread, and a few weird things I’ve learned I can’t tollerate. This one is serious. My lips swell up, my guts explode, I get a weird mental fog, and it’s just not a good scene. I avoid gluten at all costs and know immediately if something I ate had sneaky gluten hiding in it somewhere.
- Soy: I don’t really like the idea of soy. I’m not allergic to it, but most of the time it makes me feel crampy. It also makes the symptoms of my fake Hypothyroidism noticeably worse. In the winter I will do the occasional soy drink from Starbucks, but all of the sugar I consume from that drink is more of an issue to me than the soy content. I also eat Builder Bars which have soy, but they don’t seem to bother me. I usually eat them when I wake up late and don’t have time for a proper breakfast, or after an afternoon workout where I know it is going to take me +45 minutes to get home in traffic, and I need fuel. I probably average 3 a week.
- All fast food. All of it. Forever. Always. And it’s so fucking gross after you cut it out for a while and try to eat it again. Euchgh. Not even worth it a little bit.
I heavily limit things that make me feel a little sluggish or that I know are not the best things for me. My lesser-evils:
- Non-gluteny grains: rice, corn, oats, quinoa. I indulge in corn chips/tortillas about once a week, and make a small batch of gluten free spaghetti made from corn to nibble on weekly. I have gone completely grain free for a few months, and it wasn’t very much different from how I eat now. It helped me at the time, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary to cut them out completely currently, especially since I eat such a small amount of them.
- Gluten-free processed substitutes: cookies, breads, pizza crusts, cereals, etc. I make my own muffins/cookies if I am feeling like I need them to curb my sweet-tooth, but they are always made with almond flour, protein powder, and have fresh fruit in them. They usually only have about 5-6 ingredients total in them.
- Soda: anything not Cheerwine, essentially. Cheerwine is obviously only while I am vacationing in North Carolina and maybe the few weeks after since I bring some home with me. I would say I average 1, 12oz can a week, unless I haven’t been sleeping, then I push it a little more. Less when I remember to keep some fizzy water in the house.
- Goat/sheep/some cow products: yogurt, milk, icecream, cheese, butter. I used to put goat yogurt in my breakfast shake every morning, but one day I was out so I left it out. It seemed to make no difference in taste, or how long it kept me full. So I pretty much don’t eat it anymore, since that was the only regular consumption of it. I hardly ever have goat’s milk in the house, because I will drink the entire carton in two days. It tends to be high in sugar as well, so if I need it for a recipe or something I will use it, but don’t regularly consume it either. There is one company that I have found that makes goat’s milk icecream, and they have a mint chocolate chip flavor. It’s the bright green mint color. It reminds me of summer time being young at my grandparents’ farm in New Jersey. Whole Foods is always sold out of it, so I rarely have access to it. When I can get my hands on a pint or two, it literally takes me over a month to finish it off. I will have a spoonful or two every few nights, and some weeks I forget about it completely. But good godam is it some tasty shit.
- White potatoes. Pretty much only eat them when I go to my parents’ house and my mom makes dinner. They’re so delicious, but thank goodness a baked potato takes forever to make or else I would eat potatoes every night. I could live off of them.
- Red meats. Honestly, only because again they take time to make and don’t store well once cooked. And because red meat is very heavy. I mostly eat chicken, fish, and beef jerky, by means of meat.
Things I eat freely without any restraint, daily. My loveaffairs:
- Vegetables. Favorites: peas, green beans, kale, spinach, carrots, onions, and cucumbers.
- Unsalted butter. Sometimes I just slice off a little tiny bit and eat it alone.
- Salmon filets.
- Sweet potatoes. Microwave those bad boys, add butter and salt. Delicious and very good for you.
- Coconut oil. I cook everything in it, use it in all my recipes, and use it on my skin, as well.
- RAW Protein protein powder, and Progenex Cocoon (for sleeeeps). I just can’t get over how good they both taste.
- High quality deli meats. Turkey, prosciutto, ham, bacon (all of the bacon).
- Small bananas, although I’ve started replacing them in my morning shake with 1/4 avocado instead, and saving them for a post-workout snack/treat/recovery/energy boost.
- Speaking of, avocados. All of the avocados, all the time.
- Nuts and seeds. Flax seed especially, and bee pollen, which I know is neither a nut, nor a seed, but for some reason I think of them as the same thing. Get off my case.
- Fresh seasonal fruit. I guess I do restrict how much I have, but I never worry about it too much. I just don’t eat an entire cantaloupe in one sitting (which I’m pretty sure I could do), and I make sure to pair it with some sort of protein or nuts so I don’t get a sugar high/crash.
I think that’s my main list. My “cheats” are still better than how most people who eat the Standard American Diet eat, so I am not too worried about it when it happens. Stressing out about eating a few extra pieces of dark chocolate is way more detrimental for me than eating them is in the first place. I’ve been fighting with my diets for years, since I started cutting out cow dairy and gluten back in 2007, and I am finally in a position where I can eat as much of I want of the things that I want to eat, and know that I am active enough for it to balance out. I have also learned how to know when I’m full, how to know when I’m hungry because I’m bored, and how to realize when I’m actually just dehydrated and needing water. But that is going to be it’s own post!