Deciphering Diets and Foodstyles
Food styles. I like to define this as the food version of a lifestyle. It’s different for everyone. When I became conscious about the source and quality of my food, I was overwhelmed with information and could’t decide which “diet” to follow. One was telling me to avoid dairy all together, the other encouraged it. Some people said cut out sugar completely and others that natural sugar, like maple syrup was A-OK. With all these choices and contradictory statements, it only takes a second to send your head into a tizz. The only rule I stick to 99.9% of the time is to avoid processed and refined foods. Two foodstyles I adore in equal measure for different reasons, are Sarah Wilsons I Quit Sugar and the Honestly Healthy Alkaline Diet by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson. As an example, Sarah Wilson doesn’t use honey or maple syrup because of their fructose content. She stresses it’s fructose that is the problem (here and here). Sarah uses rice malt syrup to add sweetness. However, rice syrup has a high glycemic index, which goes against what one of my favourite authors/nutritional therapists Patrick Holford has to say.
So what do you do?
As an example, do you use rice malt syrup, even though it has a high glycemic index? Do you use honey despite its high fructose content? What if you’re vegan? Use maple syrup, also high fructose? My head hurts just writing about it. To think these were questions I was attempting to answer day in, day out about not just sugar but wheat, fat, carbs, calories… the list goes on and this can make it difficult to find a sustainable way of eating. It goes to show how seemingly easy food choices can make the experience stressful. In order to follow a way of life, it has to be enjoyable.
After much deliberation…:
Here’s what I decided works for me. I felt it important to clarify this (share in the comments what works for you!)
- I don’t eat any modern wheat. This is because it did give me a lot of negative health affects (more on that in a post coming at the weekend). I am able to tolerate a small amount of spelt and rye, so these are included in some recipes instead.
- I do drink alcohol sometimes. Much less than I used too – moderation, peeps! If you do ever see me drinking a beer, rest assured it’ll be made from barley, not wheat 🙂
- I’m not vegan or vegetarian but most of my meals are plant based. I don’t each much meat but when I do, I try to make sure it’s from a grass fed/pasture raised source.
- I Love the I Quit Sugar ideals and used them to get my excessive sugar intake under control about two years ago. For transparency, I’m happy to say I now have a very minimal sugar diet. This enables me to have a smoothie that contains a small amount of high fructose fruit (e.g. mango) occasionally. There are lots of high fructose fruits that can still benefit our health when eaten in small quantities. Another example is honey, which generally I don’t eat unless I’m ill – it’s a brilliant natural remedy for sore throats.
- Sometimes I use maple syrup in desserts or a small amount of medjool dates. Dates contain up to 29g of sugar per serving, often classed as 2-3 dates, so I don’t usually eat them. However, if within the whole recipe, it’s going to amount to the consumption of 1/4 teaspoon per serving, then for me, that’s fine. I don’t eat them often. I haven’t let myself down. I haven’t ruined all my hard work or betrayed my eating ethos. Therefore, the process of eating, from the initial decisions to the act of eating itself, has little to no stress involved, which overall creates a more positive, healthy attitude towards food.
Do you sway towards a diet? Are there any foods you don’t want to leave out, despite what your preferred foodstyle suggests? Share in the comments!