I think I may have read myself out on books about eating healthy. There are seven trillion books about diet, nutrition, and eating lifestyles. I feel I may have read them all.

With each book saying THEY are the utmost authority on diet and nutrition, I have found it increasingly difficult to pinpoint which diet I should be following. Vegan claims they are the healthiest, and the most environmental. Paleo claims eating as our ancestors ate is the only way to go. Vegans retort that our teeth were not actually designed for eating meat. Paleo states eating legumes and grains will destroy our gut.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Reading Lindsay Vonn’s book¬†Strong is the New Beautiful¬†helped me realize something about my eating plan. The most important thing- does this work for me?

This is the most important question to ask when trying a new diet, or changing your eating habits. Does this work for me? Not in the short term. Not until you achieve your weight goal. LONG. TERM. Think the rest of your life.

Eating healthy is a very individualized prospect. One of my best friends has been following the Keto diet for two years with absolutely amazing results. Keto has also been praised for its beneficial effects on cancer patients, or to prevent cancer. However, Chris cannot follow such a diet, with higher levels of protein than he can eat to sustain healthy kidney function.

I listened to a book which claimed eating pizza, pasta, and cereal was perfectly healthy. The author could be right. But it’s not right for me. My experience has shown eating heavy carbs like pasta and breads is horrible for me. My grains must be complex, whole, and as unprocessed as possible.

For my triathlon race, I played with my breakfast for two months before settling on my perfect meal. I tried paleo eggs and bacon. I tried Whole30 potatoes and eggs. I tried vegan versions of cereal, Keto versions of cottage cheese and avocado. I even tried foods my relay teammates suggested, such as beets. And then I just tried my own food- oats worked best. Plain yogurt with granola worked well too.

I have come up with a list of principles Eating Green follows.

  1. Unprocessed, whole foods- fruits, veggies, meats, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains (oats, quinoa, whole grain rice)
  2. Buy foods in less packaging, or no packaging at all
  3. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, get from CSA/farm shares/farmers markets, grow yourself.
  4. Simple or single ingredients
  5. Natural sugars (honey is my best recommendation, but maple syrup and agave nectar are good, too), in moderation. A little goes a long way
  6. Local food- again, farmers markets and CSAs, grow yourself
  7. Homemade over store bought- if you want a pie, make one yourself, from scratch
  8. Pack your own lunch over fast food
  9. Mostly vegetarian
  10. Paleo-ish
  11. Eat only grass-fed, free range, pasture raised meat.
  12. Eat only Seafood Watch approved fish
  13. Do a minimal amount of research. Shade grown coffee, sustainably sourced chocolate, almond milk versus coconut milk

These principles are based on what the research is showing to be the healthiest way to eat for most people, and they are based on what is healthiest for the environment and conservation efforts. It is also based on what I like to call Positive Reinforcement Communication. I practice telling others what I want them to do instead of listing all the things they should avoid (which I call Punishment Communication).

I could say “avoid refined sugar, soda, high fructose corn syrup, etc” but that doesn’t tell you what you CAN eat.

Focusing on the 12 (for now) principles of Eating Green is the best way I can keep things positive. These are the best practices for both sustainable eating on our end, and sustainable sources for the environment.

This list is sure to grow, expand, shrink, get edited, and get updated as Eating Green is shaped into the brain child I envision it to be.

What principles of Eating Green do you practice already? And which ones do you think you want to try?