With fad diets and information overload on what to eat – and what not to eat – it is hard to create and maintain a healthy eating plan. After several trials and tribulations I have reached the conclusion that a balanced diet with all food groups is best for me. I also found that listening to my body is important – being aware of what I am eating and how my body is reacting to the food helps me decide what is good and what is not.
Here are my three simple rules for healthy food:
- Fresh Whole Ingredients – I cook from scratch (or buy food that is made) using fresh, real and whole ingredients. For example, I use fresh tomato instead of tomato paste and fresh garlic instead of garlic paste. This way I know I am eating real food and not preservatives or additives. I prefer fresh ingredients because I have discovered that in order to preserve food and make it sit on a store or pantry shelf it needs natural or artificial preservatives or to be cooked to very high temperatures (i.e. pressure canned to death)
- Choose Organic – I buy organic food whenever possible and follow David Suzuki’s Dirty 12 Clean 15 list to guide my non organic purchase. I try to shop at Farmer’s Markets more than the Supermarket or Grocery Store. You will be surprised that there is a Farmer’s Market in your neighbourhood. Note, there are several farmers who are not certified organic but follow organic farming techniques or are in the process of getting certified. I am very comfortable buying their produce as I know it is almost, if not as good as, the certified stuff. Talk to the farmer at your market and ask them how they grow or if they use pesticides.
- Buy In Season and Local – I buy locally grown or produced food whenever I can. Local food is good not only for me and the environment but also good for the economy. I know we can’t buy everything local in Toronto (e.g. avocado or coconut) but I try and stick to local produce in season. It tastes a zillion times better.
Furthermore, I stick to simple cooking on weekdays and leave the elaborate cooking for the weekends and holidays. When the ingredients are fresh it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make food taste good.
Please share your comments on my food rules or your own Rules 2 Fuel.