Having bought way too many books and visited way too many blogs about health and diet, I have read about, and talked about, an embarrassingly high number of nutritional theories over the years. As an attempt to help myself keep it simple, I have compiled my 5 rules that I try to follow, as much as possible, in my home each and every day.
First rule, there are no absolutes – In my house, there is nothing that is 100% wrong, and even that statement isn’t absolutely correct. Any ingredient that is deemed to be inappropriate or out of bounds can still be consumed, at the right time and place. Am I fan of sodas? No. Will I ever drink a Coke again? Probably. It’s more important to me to be a little relaxed about my family’s eating and strive for stress free than to be uptight and never make a single nutritional mistake ever.
No artificial sweeteners – that was the first dietary rule to make it here, and it was harder for some of us than others. If and when we go for sweets, which we still do, we will be looking for a more natural sweetener than the chemical concoctions that scientists have brewed up for us. Am I claiming that sugar is good for you? No, but I’ll take my chances with cane sugar over NutraSweet any day of the week.
No more low-fat – that includes dairy, as well as any breads or other items that are labeled with low or no-fat. Again, I’m picking my fights here. I’m not giving myself license to gorge on fatty foods, but I’m not going to be scared of them either. When it’s time to drink milk, it’s whole full-fat milk for me, no imitation skim milk-water. And when it’s time for ice cream (when isn’t it?) there will be no low-fat substitutions, I search out the fullest fat dessert I can find. And then savor it for the treat it is.
No more canola oil – this one really took me a while to figure out, how could something so seemingly benign be so awful? Well, do a little reading for yourself, and you will soon find countless horror stories about the atrocities committed daily by canola oil and other more modern highly refined cooking oils. Holy Cow. Seriously. I had no idea until reading about these oils just how physically disruptive they are. Gross. Not in my house.
Don’t be “that guy” – I take my rules pretty seriously, but not everyone else does, I get that. So what happens when I go to a friend’s house? Or out to dinner at a restaurant? Should I take the host aside and present them with my questionnaire about the quality of their produce? What kind of oil do they fry in? Saturated fats vs. mono-saturated vs. poly-saturated? Can I get a special order please? No thanks, that’s not what I’m looking for, I don’t want to be “that guy”. If I am lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s home, and they want to cook for me, guess what, I’m putting it away. Unless they can’t cook and the food sucks, that’s different.
So those are my Big 5, pretty easy to put into place. What about you? Do you have a short list of rules that make eating well in your house less stressful? Or did I leave something out that really needs to be in my top 5? Let me know below…