If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I love food. And I eat a lot. I wrote a post on the "Run Fast" part of my blog name, and today's post is about the "Eat Lots" part. I'd like to share my philosophy on food, though I must make the disclaimer that I am not a dietitian. I don't think I am qualified to give any one nutrition advise, and what works for me probably won't work for everyone.
Let me start with a little background on my eating habits. Growing up, I was always a voracious eater and my parents tell me stories of how I was always crawling into the fridge! I grew up eating all the junk food that kids in the 90s ate: dunkaroos, Hostess cakes, Fruit Rollups, Cheetoes, Kid Cuisines. As I got older and hit my growth spurt in middle school, I swear I ate more than a teenage boy. I would also eat anything and everything, including vegetables, fruit, junk food, etc. I had a phase where I ate a bagel with cream cheese and Zebra cakes for lunch every day. And then I always ate some of my friend's Chef Boyardee.
In high school, I became more selective about my eating and educated myself on health foods. I decided to become vegetarian, much to my parent's concern. I was an athlete all four years of high school, and played volleyball on both the varsity team and a club team. They thought that I wasn't getting enough nutrition without meat, and since I was so active and still growing, they were really concerned about my health. I responded by going vegan (I was also going through a rebellious phase!) I taught myself how to cook and thought I was eating pretty well since I had cut out most junk food from my diet. In retrospect, I now see that my diet was a bit extreme, and I needed to be eating more for my level of activity. With the pressure from my parents, I slowly reintroduced animal products into my diet, and eventually went back to eating meat after I graduated high school.
Also, since I first learned how to cook vegan, I still sometimes cook and bake that way, which is why I have some vegan recipes on my blog :)
|Vegan yogurt, pretty delicious!|
Now, I eat a more balanced diet between the two extremes: I eat a healthy dose of plants along with a sensible portion of less than healthy foods. I consider myself fortunate that I love "rabbit food", and I feel like my meal isn't complete without a huge side of veggies. I am not strict in any way with fried foods or sweets. If I want it, I'll have it. I don't keep track of my calories, though I do check nutrition labels just to be informed of the ingredients.
|My fave pre-long run breakfast|
When I am training, I usually eat a carb-heavy breakfast before my workout, and then a second breakfast with more protein, such as Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola or a protein smoothie.
My lunches are usually salads, because I love salads and think they are immensely satisfying. I'm still sometimes hungry if I only eat salad, so I like to have a slice of whole grain bread with PB and jelly.
I also really enjoy eating out a lot, even though it's not always the healthiest food. But it makes me happy, so I don't think there is any harm done.
I strongly believe that eating a healthy diet doesn't mean only eating healthy foods, and excluding everything else. I think most foods can be healthy, despite its nutritional value, as long as you eat a healthy portion of it. A scoop of ice cream is healthy if it makes you happy, because it is nourishing the soul.
What matters more to me is to have a healthy relationship with food and not worrying about eating too much of one thing and compensating for it the next day. I've been down that path, and trust me, the emotional toll is so not worth it. Here are a few bullets that basically sums up my food philosophy:
- Eat mostly plant-based whole food
- Try to avoid artificial ingredients (HFCS, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, etc.)
- Be more selective with animal products (hormone-free, cage-free, sustainably-caught, etc). It's more expensive, but I just consume less of it
- Buy local if possible, which is more important to me than organic
- Indulge in sweets without a side of guilt
And when I indulge, I go big. Like Serendipity 3, $16 sundae BIG. This picture does not do justice to the sheer size of this monster sundae. There is a slice of peanut butter pie hidden under the whipped cream and fudge.
In your opinion, what is a healthy diet?