As a Holistic Nutritionist, I engage in some pretty intimate conversations with people about food and lifestyle and more often than not I am asked, “What do you eat?” Without going into the gory details of my day-to-day life, I will share with you some basics that I have developed over the years. But first I must digress and tell you a little about me so you know where I am coming from.
My formal career as a Holistic Nutritionist is relatively new. However, my life as a Holistic Nutritionist has evolved over the past 30 years of working full time in financial services, marriage, raising children, divorce, single parenthood, blending a family of 4 teenagers, parents passing away and returning to school full time in 2009 to pursue my passion for food and answer a long held question – how does food fuel and nourish the body?
Throughout the years, I have always come back to the kitchen and making food. Even if it was only 20 minutes of chopping and stir-fry, it was my decompression chamber, my therapy, my sustenance and my way of caring for others. Making and sharing a meal is nourishment in every sense of the word.
I love real food and appreciate the way it makes my body and mind clear and energized. I don’t like sweets and comfort food for me is sushi.
I know for many, making healthy choices can be a daunting task and may not be supported by those close at hand or you don’t know where to start--so don't despair. There is an ever expanding community of foodies, health advocates and support teams both online and in person to connect with, just like you’ve found right here.
My philosophy is “eat food move your body” and subscribe to the school of Michael Pollan “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.
We all know restrictions and deprivation only lead to over indulgence, so enjoy food, real food, and choose quality over quantity.
One last point I’d like to share; I follow an 80/20 ratio in food and in life. 80% of the time I follow the rules (for lack of a better term) and 20% of the time I colour outside the lines.
You may think that living 80% structured is boring but I beg to differ; that is where the colours are, a daily rainbow of fruits and veggies, varying textures, spices and temperatures as well as new flavour combinations to discover and a routine that makes me and my family feel safe.
I keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer (vital in cool dark months) with a big shop once a month, then a smaller shop once a week and may pop in daily for one or two fresh items.
This is how it looks:
Rice – vary colours and kinds
Spices – vary seasonally
Apple Cider Vinegar
Flax, chia and hemp seeds
Wheat Free Oats
Frozen berries and fruit
Nuts and seeds (raw unsalted)
Rice Paper wraps
1 dark chocolate bar 70% cocoa
Fresh veggies to add to dinner
Fish or other seafood – wild
Fresh seasonal treats
When considering food choices based on price, value, impact on the environment as well as your family, there are resources to help. Here are two that I refer to and both have apps you can download to your smart phone for in the grocery store reference:
Seachoice was initiated by the David Suzuki Foundation and works in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seawatch Program. Seachoice rates seafood green, yellow and red for sustainability, environmental impact and farming practices.
The Environmental Working Group is an American non-partisan organization that rates everything that affects the environment we live and eat in. From fruits and vegetables to shampoo and children’s toys. I use this when determining the value of purchasing organic vs. non-organic fruits and vegetables as well as sunscreen and other personal care items.
4 Easy Habits that Keep Summer Grocery Shopping Healthy and Painless:
- Keep it simple – have 3 or 4 go to meals and repeat them. For variety, alter the protein.
- Make enough dinner for leftovers to have for lunch the next day.
- Plan your meals and shopping by looking at your calendar; beginning or each month – staples and supplies, beginning of each week – lunch and dinner, daily only fresh items as needed.
- Save complicated new recipes for days when you have the time, energy and desire to emulate your inner Julia Child. For easy, healthy, family friendly meals, Jamie Oliver is a great resource.
So let’s get outside and enjoy the summer with good real food and lots of movement for a happy healthy you.
Next time, we’ll take stocking-up a little further and talk about how you can grow food even in a small space.
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you; how does your grocery list differ?
What strategies to do use to keep grocery shopping simple and healthy?