Since as long as I can remember, I always understood the concept of eating healthy. I knew that junk food was bad. Anything processed was bad. Anything that came from a fast food restaurant was…bad. Anything that had an insane amount of sugar in it was bad.
This was innate to me. Perhaps it was because I grew up with immigrant Eastern-European parents. Perhaps it was because my mom and grandmother always cooked from scratch and focused on tons of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. My mom always cooked simply but deliciously. Flavors were prominent but bright. And the food always spoke for itself without the need of anything processed.
Perhaps because of my mom’s style of cooking, I have been obsessed with food for as long as I can remember. Not just with cooking it but with the science behind it and how it effects our bodies.
I am a self proclaimed food nerd.
When I hear about any new food trend or any new SUPERFOOD…I research it until I am blue in the face!
I knew about quinoa when everyone was still mispronuncing it and when it was only available at the super health food stores! (Shameless plug here: check out these quinoa recipes)
When everyone was talking about kale, I dived deep and created hundreds of recipes from them and when there was no actual recipe I threw it into smoothies (Again shamelessly plugging kale recipes here)
When I heard about the positive effects of veganism, I went vegan and created all sorts of recipes that were both delicious and full of nutrients.
When I heard about the ketogenic diet from a body builder (years before it actually gained mainstream popularity) I decided to try it out and see how I could make it work for me. (Several keto and low carb recipes can be found here)
I researched and experimented and along the way found things sometimes to be too difficult or too restrictive. The worst of course was that it took the joy out of eating and cooking for me. I needed to come up with a mantra that exemplified my eating philosophy. That took every single one of my food beliefs into account and made eating well simple for anyone.
And because of all these different experiments with diets and food on myself, I quickly figured out what Good Food. Done Right. means to me.
Good Food. Done Right.
Over my years of experimenting with different diets, meal plans as well as earning from doctors and nutritionists, I learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t. I had suffered the anxiety behind food as so many of my friends and clients did. For so very long…I counted every calorie, every fat, carb and protein gram that I ingested. I struggled with hunger and counted the minutes until my next micro-meal of oh so very sad rice cakes and almond butter. It was exhausting and ineffective. I knew there had to be a better way. (Coming soon: My Health Struggles).
In an effort to end the dieting insanity, I read a few books, tons of medical journals and listened and watched a ridiculous amount of videos from medical professionals and chefs who seemed to share the same beliefs of food and health as I do. (One of the most influential books I read that truly shaped my food mentality was The Obesity Code)
But most importantly I learned that everything my mom and grandmother was teaching me since I was a child was true.
Normal meals with wholesome, bright food shared with people you love is the best kind of food.
It does not have to be complicated or finicky…it does not have to be fancy or time consuming. It has to be satisfying and fulfilling.
It can be eaten at home, at work, at a picnic or at a party. Whether at a concert, a summer festival or a camping trip…food can be enjoyed without having any ill feelings towards it…and on that note, without having it make you feel sick.
It has taken me years to finally find my eating philosophy…and I simply call it my Foodamentals. They area few simple guidelines that I follow when nourishing my family, friends and clients. They do what so few have managed to do before: they encompass both my everyday life as well as those celebratory moments in life. They are most closely related to the mediterranean diet but with a few of my own philosophies thrown in.
(In no particular order)
- Whole Food: Always choose whole foods over anything processed. Choose fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry dairy and grain in the closest form to its true form as possible.
- Full Meals vs Micromeals: Choose to eat a few whole meals rather than several micro meals that leave you even hungrier. Choose to eat 2-3 satisfying meals a day. This keeps your hormones better regulated and NEWSFLASH will not kill your basal metabolic rate.
- Skip Breakfast: Skipping breakfast will NOT shut down your metabolism or cause you to overeat. It will however, encourage you to enjoy food more freely and not gorge. (Coming soon: Why I Love Intermittent Fasting).
- Cook with Joy: Cooking should be enjoyed and not feared. I can teach you the techniques behind cooking so you can whip up wholesome and ridiculously delicious meals in no time, all while actually enjoying the process. (Read: 51 Restaurant Hacks to Look Like a Rockstar in Your Kitchen)
- Embrace Simple Foods: Overly complicated and finicky foods are not joyful. Enjoy beautiful clean flavors with fresh natural simplicity. Foods that are accented by spices and herbs, not covered up by heavy unnecessary fillers.
- Celebrate: Whether a vacation, a wedding or just a dinner out…find time to celebrate. This is the time to have your glass or wine, piece of cake, plate of pasta or French fries. Enjoy your food, savor it and move on. No need to dwell on an extra carb or sugar. Take the time to enjoy your food and move on.
- Listen to Your Body: The human bodies are strong and intelligent. When they do not respond well to something they show it. Sometimes it’s a small undetectable response. Sometimes it’s a huge response that puts the whole body on alarm. Start by removing the biggest culprits (Sugar, Grains and Dairy) then see how you feel. Your body speaks to you in a language it wants you to understand. Listen to it.
- Remove the Carbs: There is so much food available to us that is not loaded with carbs. Get them out and feature them as a treat in your life rather than part of a complete meal. Bonus: it is so much easier to eliminate processed foods without “carbage”.
- Fat is Good: Eat the fat! If it comes from dairy, meats or vegetables…eat the fat. Fat is good for you!!! Butter, avocado, egg yolks, crispy chicken skin…EAT IT! It makes our skin glow, our hair shine and makes our food delicious and our bellies feel full.
- Balance: Gorging all the time is not good. Fasting all the time is not good. Food is nourishment, fuel, medication and enjoyment. Finding that balance with food and life is one of the biggest reasons Americans differ from Europe. Enjoy, savor and love your food. Have that glass of wine, taste that fresh bread, slurp up the pasta, savor the ice cream. A lot is to be said about laughter and love during a meal. Besides, we cannot over eat when we are too busy eating or laughing 🙂