I’m not sure if I’ve ever written a post about my approach to food. Certainly, that is what this whole blog thing is for but I figured maybe I should have a whole post dedicated to my thoughts and opinions on food, diet, lifestyle, etc. This could get long winded so bear with me! I want you to understand my Balanced Real Food approach in hopes that it resonates with you and helps you understand the rest of my work on this whole website!
As a dietitian, I get asked questions about food, fitness, and lifestyle every day. On the flip side, I am also inundated with information, research, media, and influencers opinions on the matter of all the above daily as well. Not to mention, I myself, am a human who must also eat, exercise, and life my life in order to be a healthy happy human. It can be a lot for many, but for me, I see it as an exhilarating challenge every day of my life. I guess that’s a good sign that I got into the right career path.
What even is “real food”? I started using this term a few years ago because I wanted to describe a way in which one could eat healthily without putting a diet label on it. The funny thing is that it seems that real food could also be classified as a diet these days.
Any time I give a talk, I explain to the crowd my philosophy on real food. I start by asking them “what do you think of when I say “real food”? A lot of them say: organic, natural, whole, unprocessed, recognizable, fruits, vegetables and the list goes on.
I usually applaud them as that is definitely a part of the definition, but it’s so much more than that. I usually follow up with “it’s food that IS ingredients, it doesn’t HAVE ingredients.” Take an egg, for example, you don’t need a food label as when you crack that egg open you are 100% certain you are going to find an egg…not a chip.
However, my philosophy on real food has evolved the more time I’ve been doing this. My philosophy is still based on real food and real food is certainly still foods that ARE ingredients. The difference is that it is also food that makes your body feel good, tastes good, and allows you to reach your goals. Those are the three areas that I focus on. It is also based on living a life that is sustainable and will help be the healthiest you for as long as humanly possible.
This is where balance comes in. Oh, what a word. While it’s something we all strive for in our lives, balance is incredibly challenging. Have you ever tried to balance on one foot while also tossing a ball in the air and catching it? It’s not easy. Your life is even more complex than that so it’s no wonder we all fall flat when we try to balance work, life, bills, kids, dogs, exercise, and god forbid our diets.
Balance is the gold standard, or so we think. I like to, instead, think about balance as the happy medium. Balance is recognizing there are 500 things being thrown at us and being okay with only catching one or two in a given moment. When it comes to your health, balance is the key to success.
If you overeat or undereat all the time, this is NOT balanced. However, if you occasionally overeat or undereat but generally hit a normal amount to feed your goals, this IS balance. If you exercise ALL the time, or never exercise, this is NOT balance. However, if you try your best to move your body and do so a few times per week, this IS balance. If you refuse to cook at home or you refuse to go out to eat, this is NOT balance. If you recognize that cooking at home is important and also socializing with friends at a restaurant is also important, this IS balance.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Balance isn’t a perfect equilibrium but it is taking the extremes as it relates to diet, food, fitness, lifestyle, etc. and bringing it to a more neutral ground. Balance isn’t perfectionism, balance is having your cake, eating it sometimes, and not dwelling on it the rest of the time.
Balanced Real Food Approach
Ah, this is where I like to operate from, a balanced real food approach. Now, I say food, but I actually mean diet, food, fitness, lifestyle, etc. just food seems more catchy. This is the culmination of the above breakdown of real food and balance.
I was explaining my philosophy to someone a few weeks ago and he loved when I said “balance real food approach.” He was like “you should trademark that and sell the crap out of it!” I’m not much of a sales person, I tried that back when i was at InsideTracker and I realized I don’t like to sell, I like to educate.
Anywho, something clicked when he reacted that way. I realized I needed to not only explain myself but I needed to take this concept and run with it, be confident with it, and trust in it. If you’ve been following along on my 100 Day journey you know that confidence in what I do hasn’t always been the best, i’m a work in progress.
This balanced real food approach is EXACTLY what I believe in and exactly what I want to teach my clients as well as my audience. It’s something I’m constantly working on too, because, hey, I’m only human. It’s this approach that encourages you to eat food that is ingredients while also striving for that balance that isn’t perfectionism.
A Balanced Real Food Approach is a combination of the following 4 concepts:
It is a lifestyle that…
- Makes YOU feel your best.
- Tastes the best to YOU.
- Helps you reach YOUR goals.
- Is sustainable for YOU and YOUR health for the long-term.
These 4 concepts are what I am trying to stress to you throughout my entire blog, consults session, podcast interview, etc. They are not black and white, they are not one-size-fits-all and they are ever changing. However, if you can start to embrace them I promise you, you will feel a weight lifted off of you, you will have the freedom to be healthy AND happy and you will start to understand what a balanced real food approach means to you.
Real Food Nutrition in a Fast Food World
I came up with this tagline a long time ago back when I first thought I might want to start a business and a blog. I had NO idea what I was doing but I knew I wanted to help people learn how to fuel their body in a healthy manner while also continuing to live their fast-paced life. We live in a world where we have to work 2 jobs while also supporting others. We don’t have the option to make a 3-hour dinner recipe. We may not even have the option for a 1-hour workout.
My goal is to make sure that you achieve your optimal health in a sustainable manner. I also want you to be able to love yourself throughout the process. After all your health is a journey, not a destination, and you are the captain of that journey.
What is your approach to food?! Do you have one? If yes, what is it? If not, why not?