The weight loss industry is always telling us we need cut things from our diet. Cut calories, cut fat, cut red meat. This way of thinking can trigger a restrictive mindset. The first time I met with a registered dietitian, she explained to me the importance of having variety in your diet. There are no "bad' foods, all food is created equal, it all serves a purpose. And it is OK if the purpose is that it tastes good or it is part of a celebration. Fat keeps us full and helps us absorb other nutrients, carbs give us energy, they are good for our heart, and they help stabilize our moods. Red meat provides iron, which your body needs to transport oxygen through your blood stream. It also provides zinc which helps build muscle mass, strengthen your immune system, and promote a healthy brain.
The dietitian I met with asked me what foods gave me the most anxiety. I told her macaroni and cheese and pizza. She told me that the carbs give me energy, and the cheese contains calcium for my bones and proteins for my muscles. Rather than cutting those foods from my diet, her suggestion was to add vegetables to my pizza or add a side salad to my mac and cheese.
When I stopping thinking in terms of cutting foods and started to appreciate all foods for the nutrients they provide, I was able to let go of the guilt that came with eating foods that I thought I shouldn't.
For example, instead of counting the calories as I add items to my salad, I now think about all the great nutrients I get from each component.
This weekend, I went to the farmers market and collected the makings of a delicious salad. I tried to select ingredients to add to my salad that would keep me full, provide me with lots of nutrition, and most importantly, taste delicious.
At the farmer's market, I picked up arugula, asparagus and the sweetest grape tomatoes to ever grace this earth. Then at my favorite locally sourced market on the way home, I grabbed top sirloin filets and creamy goat cheese. I tossed it with rich poppy seed dressing that I had on hand at home. This combo kept me full the rest of the night.
Topped it off with little bit of port before bed.
Not sure if port has many health benefits, perhaps the same ones as red wine?
Even if it doesn't, it's also okay to enjoy things just because... :)