I watched the movie Forks Over Knives over the weekend, and without a doubt, it makes a compelling case for plant-based eating. Meatless Mondays are officially back in our house. I liked the film most, not because of its content, but because it didn’t feel like it was forcing one way of thinking on me. Instead, it used data to make a compelling argument for eating less animal-based food, leaving me thinking, “you’re a grown up….make good decisions.” In other words, get back to basics — which for me, will mean more plants, a bit less meat, and knowing where my food comes from.
In a world in which we’re bombarded with information about what, when and why to eat, this simple display of facts struck the right chord. At the end of the day, nutrition is all about choices. It’s up to each of us to make individual decisions based on the sea of facts we assemble and the insights we learn about our own bodies. And then iterate, and iterate again.
As with anything, in order to iterate, we need a foundation. In the case of diet, a basic foundation helps us swim in the sea of ideas and regimens promising better health, brighter skin, and boosted energy, without getting swept away. Five simple principles make up my foundation, or as I call it, my compass:
- Eat real food. Make sure I can pronounce the ingredients in what I’m eating, and I have some sense of where it comes from.
- Eat meals. Stick to three solid meals a day that are satisfying and keep snacking to a minimum.
- Limit sugar. Avoid the white stuff — if there’s one consistent message out there, it’s that it’s not good for us.
- Steer clear of the dirty dozen. Make sure I buy organic when it matters most.
- Cook. Make my own food as often as I can. It’s the best way to stick with point #1.
My compass is based on what I’ve learned to be true…for me and my body and my family. It most certainly don’t need to be yours, but I encourage you to take a few minutes to figure out what your own foundation is. Think about what principles anchor you amidst the media’s unrelenting nutrition advice, while giving you room to learn and play and love the food you eat. Start there. Write them down, share them with your loved ones, and stand by them.
And then, if it works for you, join me in bringing back Meatless Monday.