I spent Christmas week back at my old stomping grounds, Reston, VA visiting dear friends and family. As you can imagine, when I visit with people I get a lot of questions about food and nutrition. Everyone is always excited to share what they are doing, how they have been feeling and ask for tips on how to move forward. This year, one of my absolute favorite cousins asked me a question in such a way that really struck me. She asked:
“What dietary restrictions do you follow?”
My answer was very short and simple, and (judging by the look on her face) surprising. My answer was:
I can say with 100% honesty that there is not a single thing that I see as bad and off limits when it comes to the way I eat. Well, except for pickles but that’s because of their terrible invasive juice that contaminates everything else on the plate. Strictly a personal distaste not a professional one!
Now please don’t read this as me swimming through a daily sea of pop-tarts and cheez-its! If you were to go through my kitchen you would find things such as organic vegetables, grass-fed beef and non-GMO grains. When I am shopping or choosing places to go out to eat I focus on quality. However, that is not because other food is bad…and if I eat it I am bad…and it will make me get fat…and cause my future children to be born with an extra nose smack in the middle of their foreheads. It is because it quite simply makes me feel better.
This realization did not occur over night. In fact if the ghost of Christmas future had come to me 10 years ago and shown me my kitchen I would have laughed, mispronounced quinoa and asked him to drop me off at 7-11 so I could pick up some real chips rather than those hippie flax/black bean concoctions.
It took time. Small steps. It came about by me adding new foods into my day and seeing how they made me feel. Realizing that adding in high quality fats increased my energy or drinking more water cleared up my skin. As I continued to add these quality foods in, there just wasn’t as much room for some of the lower quality foods I used to rely on.
So this year as you are coming up with your health goals and resolutions I want you to focus on what you are ADDING rather than taking anything out. True, lasting change never starts with restriction. It starts with a small step, continues with being realistic and flexible and ends with you reaching your goals.
Wishing you a happy & healthful 2014!