Flexitarian-ism….What The ?!?!

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One of the BEST pieces of advice I’ve received around health and eating is to be a flexitarian – adopting this ideology has shifted so much for me, and completely transformed my relationship with food!

I used so be SUPER strict; following this diet, or that diet, and I hear this all the time from the women I work with – I’m paleo. I’m a raw foodie. I Zone. I’m vegan. I’m vegetarian. I don’t eat carbs. I don’t eat sugar.

There are so many different modalities available, and they all have their benefit, but what I see ALWAYS as the constant thread amongst all of these eating systems is that they ALL lead to binge eating in some form. Yes. ALL OF THEM.

When we rigidly adhere to any one ideal, we create stress in the body and the mind. We’re constantly telling ourselves “I can’t eat that. I’m not allowed to eat that” and this fuels our desire for that thing even more. We become obsessed, constantly consumed by thoughts of food and eating, until eventually we can’t take it anymore, we lose all control and the binge begins.

Another thing that happens when we strongly identify with one particular ideal; such as “I am vegan” or “I do paleo”, is that we become closed off and unable to see signs that our body is telling us about something we may be lacking, or something that may not be serving us.

If we’ve been strongly identified with being a vegan, we may miss our body’s cries for protein, and continue to lose muscle, not recover well from our exercise or get constantly sick.

If we call ourselves paleo eaters, we may miss the signs our body is struggling with higher quantities of fat and protein, or going without starches (such as if you are going to the bathroom, and your waste is super runny, smelly and it takes 3 flushes to clear the toilet bowl! This is NOT how it’s supposed to be people!!!)

Now, I’m not saying being vegan, or paleo, is bad; they both can provide incredible benefits BUT they may not be suitable for you, through various times and stages of your life.

Being a flexitarian means you follow what works for you in this moment, in this life stage, without rigidly identifying with that particular way of eating. It means being open to the messages your body is telling you every day, about what she needs, and responding accordingly. It means feeling in to what serves you best in the moment.

Feel like you need a vegetarian day, or week? Go for it. Feel like your body needs some meat? Fire up that barbie. Finding it hard to get in enough fuel, and your muscles aren’t recovering well? Cook up some rice and eat that with your meal. Feeling like you need something warm and substantial for breakfast in winter? Get yourself a big bowl of porridge and nourish yourself.

NONE of these make you a bad person. None will make you fat, ALL will nourish your body and give her what she needs to perform, and look, her best.

Life is meant to be enjoyed – FOOD is meant to be enjoyed. Release yourself from the shackles of rigidity around your food. Your body, and your soul will thank you for it. Promise.

Why Do You Eat The Way You Do?

 

Why do you eat the way you do?-2

Have you ever questioned why you eat the way you do? Or why you choose the foods you choose?

For most of us, our eating habits are unconscious.

We go about our days, grabbing the same, or similar, foods every day. We consume them in the same manner every day – in front of the television, in our car, at our work desk in front of our computer, or whilst running around after our kids, our partners, or other family members. Yeah, well, that’s just the way we’ve always done it.

We choose what is easy, or inexpensive, or what we have been told is “healthy”, but have you ever paid any attention to what effect that food has on your body? 

There are so many “experts” out there, touting this way of eating, or another, which we follow, blindly, because they are the experts. They must know what they’re talking about, right? But here’s the thing; those same experts are all saying different things, and what they are saying changes often. We used to be told we needed 7-10 serves of grains everyday, and now we’re being told grains are the cause of digestive issues, obesity and a whole host of serious diseases. We used to be told fat makes you fat, and causes heart disease, but we know now quality fat is essential for the functioning of our organs, our endocrine system, and weight loss. We’ve been told artificial sweeteners are safe, but we now have piles of evidence proving the opposite. I mean, hello?!?! The name says it all – a.r.t.i.f.i.c.i.a.l. How can that be good for us?

So what are you supposed to do? Who are you supposed to listen to? Who can you trust?

There’s only one person you can trust, only one person you want to listen to….

And that’s YOU.

YOU are the expert on YOU; no one else knows exactly what works for you. We are all so different and unique, there cannot possibly be a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to health. Sure, there are guidelines that we abide by and know are beneficial for humans in general ~ such as eating fresh vegetables at every meal, drinking more water, including high quality fats into your diet ~ but in terms of putting it all together, only you know what works for your body and your life. 

Some of us thrive on a vegetarian diet, whilst some of us get really sick. Some of us need lots of quality meats in our day, and others are fine without it. Some need the energy and bulk from whole grains, whilst some get lethargic, sleepy and bloated. Some people need to eat every three hours, some need only three main meals throughout the day, some need six. There is no right or wrong here. What you want to do is become really good at reading the numerous signs your body is giving you everyday, and letting them guide your choices. 

Start by questioning why you eat the foods you do;

  • Why did you choose them?
  • What are you hoping to gain from eating them?
  • How do you feel after eating them? Heavy, sleepy, angry, or energised, light, calm?
  • How do they affect your body? Do you have any negative symptoms such as bloating, burping or heartburn? 
  • Are these an ideal food for you, or are they less than ideal?
  • Do these foods actually serve or nourish you?
  • Is there a different choice you could make? A better choice?

Bring some awareness in and make your choices based on what you learn. The more you choose foods that are ideal for your body ~ that energise, sustain and nourish you ~ the easier it is for your body to settle towards her ideal weight. 

Remember, you are the expert. Stop listening to everyone and everything outside of you, and tune in to your inner wisdom. Your body is constantly talking to you. Take the time to listen.

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