Studying plant-based nutrition for many years, with many different doctors and experts, reading different books, and experimenting with my own diet and lifestyle has shown me many things. For one, multiple things have contributed to the decline of our health in this country. A diet full of chemicals and fake food, an animal-centered diet high in fat, our complete lack of exercise, an over-consumption of sugar and processed food have all contributed. There isn't one culprit that we can pinpoint as the one bad guy.
Some well-known plant-based doctors would like you to be fanatical about your diet. I would even say extremist. If you have a certain health condition like heart disease, cancer, obesity, or diabetes your diet needs to be restrictive as part of the healing process. But for those of you who are already eating a healthy plant-based diet rich in a variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, etc. it doesn't serve you or your health to latch on to someone else's dogma and make it your own. How healthy can that be for you? I in no way want you to compromise your health, but we must remain flexible, fluid, and realistic in our daily choices. I teach and live by 2 philosophies that help me live my life to the fullest, while not stressing myself out about my food choices 24/7.
The Good, Better, Best Policy Moderation is key when transitioning to a plant-based diet. A teacher taught me to use the “Good, Better, Best Policy” when it comes to choosing foods. Think to yourself, “Is this the best choice I have at the moment?” When you have a few options, try to choose minimally processed and less packaged foods. Processed food is junk. These foods contain little nutritional value and tend to be high in fat, poor quality salt and sugar. It’s not real food. So if you wanted a snack and your choices were baby carrots, trail mix, or potato chips, obviously the best choice would be the carrots. But if that wasn't an option I would go with the trail mix. We are all faced with choices everyday when it comes to our food. Do the best you can. That's all you can do really.
The 80/20 Rule This is the only thing that keeps me sane and not OCD about my diet. If you can eat super healthy 80% of the time, you can let yourself be a little naughty 20% of the time. Hold on now, I'm not talking about having hamburger and fries for that 20%, but if you are at a party or want to go out to dinner with your friends you can have something fried or a piece of cake with frosting. I don't compromise as far as eating only vegan foods, but sometimes I do eat sugar or have more oil than I'd like to when I eat out. I'm human too! I just have a rule that at home I'm making the healthiest food possible, with wholesome organic ingredients, no oil and no sugar. That way I can relax when I go out with friends. Below is footage from my Basics of Eating & Cooking for Plant-based Diet cooking class. The first class is Knife Techniques and a short lecture about nutrition and macrobiotic principles.