After cycling through a range of diets (5:2 diet, microbiome diet, paleo, juice diets…), I think I can safely say they pretty much, well, suck. Either they are too restrictive, downright unhealthy or really impractical. More importantly, none of the diets out there incorporate the established scientific knowledge about food. Granted, nutritional science is a young field with gaping holes, but the threads we are now unraffeling are increasingly consistent. So in a last ditch attempt at improving the eating patterns in this household, I’m going to try it my way, based on what I’ve found out there in the literature. The principles are pretty basic.
- Don’t overeat.
As in: Ensure you don’t take in more calories than you burn. Just be sensible, and where possible, track with your fitbit for a rough estimate (those things are grossly inaccurate, but at least it will give you some sort of indication).
- Cook from scratch.
As in: Avoid processed foods, and start from the pure, clean, raw ingredients and cook meals yourself. Whole fruits and vegetables, Organic fresh cut meats, Free range eggs, unprocessed grains & rice. Avoid dried or cured meats. No ready meals. Nothing with additives or preservatives. The only things you can get tinned/canned are: tuna, certain pulses and beans, for practical reasons.
- No refined foods or added sugars.
As in: No bleached or refined grains, no added sugars. That includes yoghurts.
- Go easy on the Carbs and Gluten.
As in: Don’t cut them out altoghether, but use occasionally, and only as small percentage of the overall meal. When using, go for the whole grain, unprocessed varieties.
- Go easy on the Animal-Based Proteins.
As in: Don’t cut them out altoghether, but use occasionally, and only as small percentage of the overall meal. When using, go for the organic or free range, unprocessed varieties. Covers meats, poultry, fish and all diary products, except greek yoghurt, which you can eat freely for a good microbiome. With cheeses, choose the minimally processed variety for good bacteria (e.g. brie, camembert, reblochon, soft cheeses, …)
- No Milk.
As in: Cut out altogether. I’ve been weaned.
- Diversity is key.
As in: vary and mix it up, not just a few ingredients each week, but many. Seeds, Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Beans, Pulses, Proteins.
I compiled 4 week plans, to alternate over the next few months. This saves me from having to think about what to cook (a slippery slope when hungry), and helps with the practical matters of budgetting and online ordering. The lunches are purposefully repetitive. From a practical standpoint, making lunchboxes is easier to do when they are simple and well-engrained. Any time I plan for something more elaborate, the unfortunate Mrs.Pew finds herself queueing at a ramen stand on her lunch break because I just couldn’t be arsed to prep our lunchboxes.The mealplans include 2 snacks per day: an almond-milk banana peanut butter shake (125mls) around 10:30h and a greek yoghurt parfait around 16:00h. Total kcal intake a day will range between 1600-1900 depending on how much exercise I am doing that day.