Hi everyone!! I wanted to take a minute (or a few minutes, since I went on a little bit of a rant here) to share about how I am eating lately, and talk about labels, balance, and all sorts of good things!
So, why am I writing this post?!
Reason 1: For starters, many of you have been following me for a long time and know my whole story, and many of you are new to my little corner of the internet and don’t know why I began eating the way I do! So I wanted to take a moment and share that background — and then where I am at today, to hopefully inspire you on your clean eating, healthy living journey!
Reason 2: And this one is the big ticket reason for this blog post!
Occasionally I share fun little videos from other pages on my Facebook Page (come join the fun), for example, like an indulgent BLT’s made with a bacon weave instead of bread.
When I do share these fun little videos, I get a lot of comments such as, “NOT HEALTHY” and “I thought this was a clean eating page?”
To continue with the bacon example, while I wouldn’t go ahead and actually make this, if someone handed me a bite, I’d totally take one! That’s the thing you guys, this website IS about clean eating. And it’s also about living your best and healthiest life, it’s about eating to FEEL YOUR BEST. Including mentally and emotionally. It’s about the occasional indulgence without having ALL THE GUILT. It’s about listening to your body. And it’s about living a little, too!
Reason 3: Let’s ditch the labels a little bit (more on this below)…
Let’s rewind to 2013 for a minute…
In 2013 my stomach hit a wall and was at it’s absolute worst, even though I was eating ‘healthy’ (so I thought) and exercising regularly. It was to the point I didn’t want to leave the house I felt so sick and awful. It consumed my life, affected my relationship, and was making me so unhappy.
Now, because I’m all about TMI, I’ll get a little specific with you. I couldn’t go to the bathroom, like for days and days. I was SO beyond bloated and gassy. Now, this would happen even if I ate a piece of lettuce at that point. My gut was seriously messed up to the point that anything would affect it, and I had no idea what to do about it.
I decided, after some research, to cut out foods that I had read could cause inflammation in the body. I began with cutting out gluten and dairy, and fairly quickly, I started noticing a difference in my digestion, energy, skin, and mood. But it was certainly not 100% or even 85%. I decided to eliminate some more foods (grains, legumes, refined sugar, and soy), and sloooowly began healing my body through food.
You guys, that’s why I believe so strongly in the power of food. It changed my life.
With that said, I wanted answers. I needed a little more help beyond what I could do with food alone. I wanted to know the root cause of whatever was going on in my body, so I sought out a functional medicine doctor.
Step 1 was making sure I was going to the bathroom regularly. You guys, I had tried everything under the sun for this. Everything had the opposite effect. My doctor had me taking as much Magnesium Citrate as needed (at night because it can make you tired) until I was going to the bathroom regularly.
Step 2 was getting some answers. Through blood tests, stool samples, food sensitivity panels, and more — leaky gut and a candida overgrowth were the root causes found. I did a strict candida diet, a liver detox, more elimination diets/reintroductions of foods, and a few other protocols to help further my healing.
I finally had answers, and as happy as I was, I was overwhelmed by all the things I could no longer eat! That’s why LCK began. I began creating recipes I wanted to eat, free of all the things I could no longer eat. I created a resource for myself, and for anyone else out there looking for recipes free of certain ingredients.
What Has Changed Over The Years?
When I was working super hard to heal my gut, I was STRICT, STRICT, STRICT. I wasn’t eating the baked goods on my blog, I wasn’t ‘cheating’. At the time, I would’ve felt really, really bad (physically) and it wasn’t worth it for me.
As time has gone on, I’ve been able to be more flexible with the foods I eat — within moderation. So what does that look like? Now I’ll eat some rice, rice pasta, some legumes, and some dairy (mainly just some good quality cheese). I notice if I overdo it, I’ll feel it, so I eat with an 80/20 or 90/10 approach, and I love it! While LCK is still gluten-free, mostly grain-free, mostly dairy-free, refined sugar free, and soy-free because that’s the way I eat, it’s more about overall healthy, clean eating then specific strict labels.
80/20 or 90/10: What’s That?
Essentially it means 80% of the time (or 90% of the time) you eat super clean*, and the other percentage, you live a little. I don’t go out and eat a humongous chicken parm sub (though man, those were good), but I’ll now eat some gluten-free pizza, gluten-free pasta, and things like that!
I’m also experimenting how I do with digesting certain foods that were off limits for me for a while, like beans, which I’ve been tolerating pretty well (yay, hummus, welcome back)!
*Clean eating being mostly defined here as omitting processed foods and replacing them with real, nutrient-dense whole foods!
The Importance of Balance & Being In Tune with Your Body
So here’s the thing, you guys… Maybe you’re eating this way because you have something going on in your body. Maybe you just want to feel healthier, have more energy, and feel awesome. Maybe you have allergies and have no choice.
Wherever you are on your journey, it’s important to really take the time to get to know your body. Do what works for you! Ditch the labels and the agony of following a specific diet. It’s freeing, believe me.
Not in the mood for meat? So eat more plant based meals!
Break out after eating dairy? Avoid it for a while. That doesn’t mean it has to be forever.
Eat mostly paleo but can eat digest quinoa just fine? Go for it!
See where I’m going with this?
Let’s Talk Labels:
Okay, let’s get into this and then I promise I’ll wrap this post up! I know it’s getting long! Back to reason 2 for writing this post (see above), I will also get people saying ‘but that’s not paleo, is it?,’ ‘I thought cheese isn’t paleo?’ and so on.
Though I do personally eat some form of a paleo lifestyle because I find that’s what works best for my body, I’ve ditched the strict constraints of that a long time ago. Now that doesn’t mean I eat all the gluten and whatnot, but simply I ditched making myself crazy and feel bad if I eat some hummus, rice on my sushi, or some local good-quality cheese.
I started making it less about a label or a diet, and more about what was good for me, and honestly, it has been amazingly freeing. I think about what’s a priority to me: the quality of the meat, eggs, fish, and produce I am eating and where it’s coming from, and enjoying my life and feeling awesome while doing so. If things change with my body, I’ll approach the changes I’ll need to make as they arise. Simple as that!
Here’s the thing: diets get a bad rap for a reason. It’s a short-term mindset, but I am not saying that can’t set you up for long-term success and can help you create a good foundation. Eating clean, AKA removing processed foods and replacing them with real, good quality, whole foods — is a lifestyle choice, not a fad a diet. A healthy lifestyle, simply put, is forever, but doesn’t require a strict label.
Step back and eat the way that makes you THRIVE. Live the lifestyle that makes you feel like a rockstar. Period.
Maybe for you, that’s strict paleo and working out HARD, or maybe you eat clean 80/20 and do yoga and go on walks. Maybe that’s simply cutting out soda and making small changes in your life and for your family. There’s no right or wrong here! Just be kind to your mind and body. You’ll thank yourself, you’ll feel great, and you’ll be happy.
Let me know your thoughts, and feel free to drop any questions below!