If you are bamboozled about what to eat, what not to eat and where to start with eating well I've got a fabulous philosophy
for you to incorporate into your life and onto your plate that will alleviate all the confusion and is super easy to implement.
If you want to eat well, have good health AND to still be human I'll show you how with the 80/20 rule.
Life is about balance. If you approach eating well with dread and focus on what you are going to lose, what you can't have and how much you are going to miss chocolate, you will never ever stick to that diet.
I prefer to approach life and eating well with a little more ease. I am literally my own worst enemy when it comes to rebelling against what I should do. So I searched for a food philosophy that would help me have the health that I want AND also have a little fun too when I wanted to. The diet part, knowing what to eat is easy, we all know what's good for us. Its getting the mind on board and finding balance that is needed for healthy eating.
The first thing I want you to do before we get started is remove the word 'diet' from your vocabulary. The word is something we associate with a short term period. I'd prefer to focus on long term implementation, a shift in your mental attitude towards your amazing body and respecting it with what goes in it.
So I'd prefer to use the word 'food philosophy'.
"Life is a matter of balance" TWEET THIS QUOTE
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Both internally and externally, life is a matter of balance. Your inner eco system requires balance for you to have the mental and emotional balance you are seeking. If you lack energy, focus and drive to maintain your outward balance then it is time to look within and rectify the internal balance and we do this with food.
One of my favourite reads and a 'food philosophy' that helped shape the Alive 4 Stage Diet was Donna Gates' Body Ecology book. It is a fabulous read with a tonne of research to back her work and it works.
What I loved most and really pulled from this work and inserted into my life was Donna's 80/20 rule towards eating. The easy-to-remember 80/20 principle is one of 7 healthy eating principles that set Body Ecology apart from any other program in the world. Body Ecology uses the 80/20 rule as a guideline for quantity, quality and balance of acid/alkaline, which are outlined below.
Learn How To Implement The 80/20 Food Philosophy Step by Step
Even the most stubborn retreat clients who were digging in their heals about dietary change found it easy to grasp and implement this philosophy. It just simply simplifies your food life and reminds us to feel into the body whilst eating. It also helps us find balance over the week. We'll talk more about that in a minute. Let's begin...
Rule 1 - Eat Only To 80% Full
Some of us overeat or eat mindlessly. If you grab food on the fly or eat at your desk then this rule is for you. If we overeat or eat before we are actually hungry (hunger is a sign your digestive power is ready to break down food) you punish your digestive system to the point where it cannot possible digest all that food before the next meal is being loaded into the stomach. This wreaks havoc on your digestive system and allows undigested food to pile up. Gross.
What I love about this rule is that it requires us to eat mindfully, to be present with our food, to cut down wastage by not needing so much food, to eat for the needs of the body and not the desires of the mind that says 'oh my god this is so good' and just keeps on gulping or eating for the sake of eating out of boredom or comfort.
Implementing this rule I now eat way less than I used to, I eat by my body clock (when I feel hungry and not before) and I eat more mindfully with presence. It only takes a few days of trying this before it becomes a firm habit.
Note: If you undereat you also need to be aware of not going way past hungry and having too little food on your plate that never helps you feel 80% full. So for restrictive eaters or what I call 'food fiddlers' this advice is for you too!
How do I know when I am 80% full?
This is a tricky one. You have to listen in and connect with your body. Eating to 80% means you eat slowly, push the plate away a few times, chew your food extremely well and listen in. Your food has to pass through both intestinal tracts and the stomach. If it's whole you will slow down the digestive process. Eating slowly and mindfully eliminates this issue.
If you ever start to feel that really full feeling you have passed 80%. I now love this so much that if I overeat I simply cannot-stand-the-feeling-of-it. I feel tired, sluggish and horrible until it passes. This is also a great one to get children on board with. My little girl will eat and eat and eat and not acknowledge how her body is feeling until her belly aches and she is in pain. She loves her food. So I am constantly asking her to stop, listen and ask her how her belly feels by getting her to put her hands on her belly, close her eyes and listen. So you can treat yourself like a 7 year old and do the same!
Picture The Food On Your Plate & The Size Of Your Stomach
This is also really helpful and something I do to help with this rule. If you have piled up a large dinner plate, chances are your stomach is smaller than that large plate. Think Christmas Day when you pile up your plate accept now everyone eats everyday like it's Christmas! Another thing that I do to not eat past 80% is I eat from a small bowl which is about the size of your stomach.
What's in the bowl or on the plate is also important....
Rule 2 - Quality Matters
So what kind of food should you eat to fill your stomach 80% full?
Body Ecology says....'There has been so much written about high protein, low carb diets that it can be difficult to decipher how to plan your meals. The Body Ecology system of health and healing uses the 80/20 principle as a guideline for planning your meals for maximum nutrition and healthy digestion.
For optimal health, meals should consist of 80% land and ocean vegetables and 20% should be either a protein OR a grain. Grains and proteins should not be combined in the same meal. For more on food combining, read Donna's book.
This will ensure that your body gets the vitamins, minerals and fiber it needs without the strain of trying to digest too much protein or starch.'
The Western Diet Has It Topsy Turvy
The general western diet consists of 80% grain, dairy and meat before vegetables. You are going to switch that around. 80% plant life, 20% good quality protein (like organic meat, easy to digest gluten free grains, nuts and seeds or another protein source like organic tempeh).
To help you go into more detail about what foods to include and what not to include I will take this a step further and ask you to read my blog post on foods to eat more of and foods to reduce. Read it here.
Acidity and Acid Foods Lead To Ill Health
Rule 3 - Acid and Alkaline Balance
To maintain health, your blood must be slightly alkaline (find out more about blood and cell health here). The foods we eat and the lifestyle choices we make impact our body's ability to maintain that alkaline state. An acidic system makes it impossible to have immunity and allows negative bacteria in the body to flourish.
Foods can be alkaline, acidic or neutral in your body. Your goal would be to have a balance of alkaline and acidic foods so that you can maintain the alkaline state of your blood. If you get out of balance and your blood becomes too acidic, you become more susceptible to illness and disease.
To maintain the alkaline balance of your blood, your meals should be made up of 80% alkaline-forming foods, like vegetables, with 20% acid-forming foods, like meat.
FREE DOWNLOAD - Download the Acid/Alkaline Food Chart - Click Here (big thanks to Energise For Life).
Balance Is Key Or You Will Fail.give Up. Rebel Against Yourself.
Rule 3 - 80% Of The Time Do Your Best, 20% Of The Time - Be REAL & Be Human
If we are aiming for eating well & being a perfect human specimen 100% of the time meal in and meal out we are destined for failure at some point. I'm a realist and I know myself and understand human nature somewhat based on my clients behaviors and willingness. So before you back out of trying to implement some changes read on. The key point of all of this is balance.
Not only is permanent 100% health boring (you should meet some of my yogi friends - snore zzzz), it will set you up for a fall. None of us who have jobs and children and a life can be that perfect each and everyday. Life simply gets in the way. If your aim is enlightenment, purity and positivity at every turn, then knock yourself out & good luck with that! That would make you the Buddha reincarnated.
I love living a spiritual path and aim to live healthy but I also love dancing on table tops and drinking cocktails every now and then and having a truck load of fun when the opportunity arises. I have never met anyone who can sustainably live up to that kind of goal that still remains flexible, approachable and grounded in reality. This blog is written for those of us that live in the everyday world of modern life and not in a cave and where purity 100% of the time is not your goal!
If you think long term mental shift towards food versus short term fad diet, you can implement this rule over each meal, each day, the week, the month and the year. In other words you can allow for your dietary & human 'blow outs' in advance and allow for the fact that you are human and life will get in the way of eating well at some point.
When To Let The Rules Go
Like that wedding that's coming up or drinks with the girls/boys or Christmas day or the day where you just can't be bothered or literally have no access to healthy food...picture that work meeting where its all cream puffs and donuts and you don't want to be the guy/girl on the diet in the room saying:
'I'm sorry; I'm gluten/dairy/sugar free and I only eat to an 80/20 rule of acid alkaline balance!'
You don't want to be the food geek. I get it.
You just simply factor those dates in to balance it out for the rest of that week.
Balance - I do this daily by:
Eating eggs for breakfast with 80% vege/salad and a smaller amount of egg and no grains/toast
Having my coffee (let's face it I am not letting that one go, I've got a business to run and a child that demands all of my attention!). But I compromised with my love of coffee - I have it weak and black, no sugar, only after food and I balance it by having a green juice in the afternoon. I'm not a lunch fan more of an afternoon nibbler. So I go for juice instead and a sustaining breakfast and sometimes a goats cheese or quinoa salad if I've been exercising and need the energy.
I drink alkaline water all day
I eat an 80/20 alkaline meal at night
If I drink alcohol (not letting that one go either - have you met my child??? LOL) it is balanced with fermented foods and drinks daily
The key is to find your daily balance.
Balance - I do this monthly by:
Allowing for blow out days but not overdoing it or undoing all my good work (E.g. if your blow out days include eating cake 3 x a day you are not following the rules). If I have dinner with drinks planned I eat an immaculately healthy dinner and have an extra cocktail! And I make up for it in the following days with extra water, extra greens and lots of fermented foods and drinks
The key is to find your monthly balance.
Balance - I do this yearly by:
Allowing myself a few weeks to a month off being so aware of diet/healthy living. I also do this with yoga and meditation so as not to become one of 'those yogi's'. The ones that everyone can't connect with and are not approachable to the everyday person. I do it with diet to just let be. I originally did it so I could connect more realistically to my retreat clients. I like to remember what feeling crap is like and what happens to my mind when I loose the connection to myself. I don't completely stop I just loosen the reigns a little. It reminds me how much I love them all and inspires me to keep on at it with the tools that make my life worth living. I let loose for a month (and by loose I mean I eat my gluten and drink my wine more than I normally would). And then I regret it and get back on the horse. Over time I've lost the desire to do this as it never serves me well but it's a tip I share to those that are just dying to rebel against what is good for them and keep things real.
The key is to find your monthly balance.
Note: If you have severe health issues using my diet this particular rule goes out the window until the issues are healed and then you return to the 80/20 rule for balance again.
"It's not a diet, it's a long term lifestyle change."
How To Start
You just have to pick one thing from above and implement today and you can tell me about it in the comments below.
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Lots of love