I believe strongly in taking an 80/20 approach to nutrition, and that is the founding philosophy of Imperfectly Pure. It seems to resonate well with many women I speak to – I think for most “normal” women (who lead busy lives, have families, have commitments, like to socialise), being 100% strict all the time is both unattainable to begin with, and then completely unsustainable. It can often lead to those massive binges where you are left afterwards with a sense of:
“what the HELL have I just done?! Oh why why why did I seek out the golden arches of Maccie D’s at 1am and eat 4 Happy Meals?!?! They have NOT made me feel happy today! Damn you Ronald MacDonald!!!….”
It seems every week there is a new trendy “fad diet” on the scene – remember the days of the Cabbage Soup Diet (my old work colleagues will! especially my hated boss, I definitely used to get a kick out of stinking out his desk with my soup!), Atkins, Zone Diet, Blood Group Diet? Most of these promote short term weight loss with usually no concern for long-term weight maintenance.
Focusing on optimum nutrition (80% of the time!!) means fuelling and nourishing your body with all of the food groups you need to create a balanced diet, and will be suitable for you unless you have an illness which can be addressed through a very specific diet. Naturopathy (which I am studying at the moment at the amazing College of Naturopathic Medicine) promotes balancing the macro-nutrients, but even then YOUR specific balance will be very individual to you.
Overall, the naturopathic philosophy looks like the below:
This way of eating produces low-blood sugar and insulin levels – meaning your energy levels should remain stable, you won’t be a slave to sugar cravings and you shouldn’t store unwanted fat around your middle. It also provides you with the optimum balance of macro-nutrients, with veggies the foundation (along with some fruits)
I always aim for 5 servings of veggies and 2 of fruit per day, as a rule of thumb. And there are some vegetables and fruits that are truly heroic, which you should include as much as possible! I recently put together a free online programme called “Welcome to Wellness”, part of which was one recipe a day, with the spotlight on a specific veggie or fruit. I focused on ones that have AMAZING health benefits, with many of them falling into the camp for more than one of the below:
- Antioxidant Power: meaning they prevent damage from toxins and fight inflammation, which really underlies the whole ageing process (in foods like apples, asparagus and cabbage)
- Polyphenol Power: plants produce polyphenols to protect themselves – these same compounds also protect US from infection, but also work in a highly intelligent way to help us keep healthy and live longer (in mint, turmeric, cinnamon, berries)
- Skinny sirtuins: another plant compound that helps us to burn fat and build muscle (in things like turmeric, kale, red grapes and red onions)
- Salvestrols: these compounds help to ward off cancer – they are activated inside cancer cells into compounds that can kill the cancer cell (found in foods like olives, avocado, broccoli, artichoke and blueberries).
The veggies that score the highest for all of the above are: Olives, Kale, Broccoli, Artichokes, Cabbage, Asparagus, Spinach, Avocado, Onion, Beetroot
The fruits that score the highest are: Blueberries, Blackcurrants, Apples, Cherries
Plus these wonder foods: turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, mint, basil, ginger, dark chocolate or cocoa and drink tea, ideally green.
Please check out the recipes page on my blog for recipes featuring all of the above veggies, fruits, herbs, spices and more!
So, don’t forget your mantra when it comes to nutrition….Balance, Balance, Balance! And never beat yourself up, life would be so dull without a bottle of prosecco and a bacon buttie every now and then. 🙂