This has been an area where I’ve spent a lot of years researching and learning and still know I have a lot of learning to do! But I can say I feel content with knowing that what I know is sufficient for the long term.
I have read all kinds of books over the years and I even participated in a program for a few years called Balance 365. I have also spent a lot of time paying attention to my body to determine what makes it feel good. I’m not perfect at anything, but I think that’s the point.
Life is always up and down and it is imperfect. I don’t believe there is one perfect way to eat and it’s not possible to eat perfectly one way no matter what. It’s not sustainable.
I’m going to share where I’ve landed and talk about what my days are like normally.
I’m going to discuss a few things: my goal and what things look like when everything is lined up perfectly, what happens when I’m not doing well mentally or emotionally (or physically), and where I land most of the time. Life isn’t perfect and it’s not linear. It’s so important to ride the waves because it keeps you from getting frustrated with yourself. I have had to learn balance over the years and to give myself grace, and it has transferred over to many other areas of my life.
My Ideal Situation in Food and Life
I learned about the balanced plate from Balance 365 and it makes the most sense compared to all the other plate templates that I’ve seen. I add in some things from research and reading that I’ve done and I do NOT measure a single thing. That’s not real life; therefore, it’s not sustainable.
As we all know, many people are completely anti-carb. That’s not healthy or safe for the majority of people. I have found that I need every part on this plate to feel satisfied and get to the next meal without snacking mindlessly.
I try to make everything from scratch. This is my goal and what I do when I’m feeling well. Whole wheat breads, buns, breakfasts, sourdough, Lara bars, Greek yogurt, granola, etc. I do a big food prep for the week and cut veggies for a veggie tray, cut veggies for meals for the week, boil eggs, roast nuts, slice summer sausage or salami, etc.
I can’t eat dairy, so I don’t. I haven’t been diagnosed with an allergy, but I’m about 98% sure that I am allergic. Once and a while I have a weak moment and have dairy. And I always regret it. I have instant inflammation in my lungs and it makes me cough so much. My fam still has dairy.
I try to shop local a lot. I often shop from our farmer’s market and I buy grass fed beef from my friend’s ranch. I buy foods from my other friend’s health food store. Sometimes I buy raw milk from a local dairy. I have been attempting to grow some of my own produce and we have chickens that should be laying soon.
These are important because they help your body absorb vitamins, help us feel satisfied, help the nervous system, build cell membranes among other benefits. (From Healthiest Best)
We use mostly: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, some canola, butter, and Earth Balance.
We eat nuts and seeds. We love peanut and almond butters.
We definitely eat the yolk of the egg.
Avocados are a huge fave of mine.
The fam eats cheese and has full fat milk.
We don’t fight fat in meat, but I also don’t intentionally eat it for its fattiness either. I often prefer a leaner meat, but I also prefer dark meat in chicken.
This helps build and repair tissues; makes enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It builds bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. (From WebMd)
For me, it’s necessary to have quite a bit to help me feel satisfied.
Meat is my number one source because it packs in a lot with a little.
We eat fish: salmon, cod, pollock, flounder. We like canned salmon and tuna as well.
We eat mostly grass fed beef. I get this from my friend’s ranch most of the time. I like supporting local when I can! We use lots of ground, roasts, ribs, steaks, stew meat, etc. We love tacos from this beef! When I can’t get beef from my friend, I get some good meat from our store.
We love chicken and I tend to make whole roasted chickens and baked thighs and legs the most. We do breasts also, but only if we pan sear it.
Pork is another common thing that we eat! I try to buy from my friend but it’s very expensive, so I usually just pick it up from H‑E‑B. We love carnitas, pork chops, pork tenderloin, summer sausage, etc.
Then there’s axis venison when we can get some!
We also have lots of beans, nuts/seeds, eggs, protein smoothies (with collagen or grass fed gelatin), nutritional yeast, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and probably more that I’m forgetting.
This is what I call fruits and veggies. I don’t have a need to separate them out since they all carry lots of benefits and nutrients.
Gosh, there are numerous benefits, probably more than I can list! Here are a few!
They provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and so much more.
They help prevent heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and diabetes. They help with gastrointestinal health, vision, blood pressure, and weigh control.
We eat alllll kinds of freggies. I try to buy from the farmer’s market when I can and I’m learning how to grow my own. My body craves them.
Some of my faves:
Watermelon. Strawberries (with bananas). Grapes. Cantaloupe. Apples (especially honeycrisp). Clementine oranges. Frozen blueberries (in smoothies). Pineapple.
Cucumbers. Tomatoes. Carrots. Broccoli. Bell pepper (though not green). Jalapenos and cilantro in all the things. Cabbage. Kale. Green leaf lettuce. Spinach. Mushrooms. Brussel sprouts. Sweet potatoes. Golden potatoes. Red/purple onion. And so many more!
We love freggies (well, mostly I love freggies hahaha).
These are your body’s main source of energy! I cannot function without them!
They also help aid in digestion, help you feel full, and fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and nervous system. (Reid Health)
These are made to be evil by many fad dieters. But they aren’t. They are so necessary.
There are all kinds of sources, but here are the ones we have often: oatmeal, granola, homemade whole wheat breakfast foods, couscous, quinoa, brown and white rice, whole wheat pasta, corn chips, tortillas, whole wheat bread, potatoes (sweet and regular), etc.
Here are some meals that I have made and/or that we have often! I am slowly working on updating my recipes here (especially the pictures… ick), but it’s a process. I also plan to start adding more recipes since we are cooking so many great things (and rarely follow a recipe or if I do, I make lots of changes). Keep coming back and checking!
When I’m Not Feeling Well
If you have followed me long, you know that I have chronic health issues. Some days, weeks, and months I just don’t feel well. So I have learned to go with the flow and stop expecting myself to be 100% all of the time.
When I’m not feeling well, we tend to do mostly processed food.
I buy more things like frozen pizza, nuggets, frozen waffles and pancakes, ramen, cereal, pop tarts, bread, etc.
We don’t have balanced plates.
I don’t do any meal prep.
I drink more coffee and sodas than I’d like.
I don’t drink much water.
And you know what? I give myself grace. These times happen. Life happens. But then I pick myself up and get back to eating well because it helps me so so much.
The Balance of Life
I land somewhere in the middle of these extremes. I try to lean more towards the healthy side, but sometimes it’s hard. I just came out of a depressive state and am headed back up so I’m starting to do the things that I want to again.
I try to have meals with a balanced plate: protein, carbs, fat, and lots of freggies.
I don’t always. I just try to. I eat to feel well. I don’t eat too much regularly (though it does happen). I make a lot homemade, but I also don’t sometimes.
I’m literally living in balance all around when I’m feeling well.
By following all of the above, I have been slowly losing weight. I’m not super thin by any means, but I’ve lost 26 pounds so far and I’m losing it sooooo slowly so I know I will be able to keep it off. I have gone from a 16/18 to a 12. Sometimes a 14. It feels so good.
Slow and steady is the only sustainable way.
This is very important for mental and physical health. My only advice is to choose something that you enjoy because you’ll be more apt to continuing. Then, choose to start slow so that you build up a sustainable habit. I’m starting back to this after not moving much for a long time because of my chronic cough. Now that I’ve learned that I have cough-variant asthma, I’ve read that it’s recommended to exercise to make my lungs stronger. Also, anxiety makes my cough a lot worse and movement (especially outside) helps my anxiety so much. I’m getting back out slowly and surely.
At the moment, my fave form of exercise is taking the dogs for walks and hikes. I will add more things eventually!
Recipes and Cooking
I make up a lot of my meals, or I start with recipes and change it a bunch. But I do have some recipe books that I love PLUS I find recipes online.
These are my favorite recipe books!
I don’t agree with everything 100% in these books, but they have great recipes and some good info!
Natural and Organic?
I try. More importantly, I try to shop local because I love supporting my friends and the food is so amazing and healthy. When I can’t sometimes I buy organic and sometimes I don’t. I look for meat/dairy/eggs that are hormone free and grass fed when I can. But it’s not always possible financially. I feel this is semi-important, but not AS important as just getting nutritious foods in your body. I just do the best I can!