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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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.