Practical Tips for Healthy Eating, Part 2

If you are not yet feeling like you’ve got this all down…if you are only eating Fit4God 75% of the time…if you are still not sure what foods contain industrial oils…DON’T WORRY! This is a huge change that will take months of dedication to accomplish. No one expects you to have it down 100% by now, seven weeks into it. But we DO expect you to work hard, to make changes, to be committed, to make an effort. Here are 5 more practical tips for making Fit4God work in our crazy, busy, hectic everyday lives.

1. The 80/20 Rule. The 80/20 Rule says that if you have made a 100% commitment to eating and living healthfully according to the Fit4God Principles, and if you do not have serious health conditions that require 100% compliance, that it is okay to do Fit4God 80% of the time and 20% of the time fudge a bit. This does NOT mean that you can pile up 80% of your plate with meat and veggies and the other 20% with Fruity Pebbles Snack Bars or a couple of doughnuts! This does not mean you can feel free to indulge in all the sugar, gluten grains, and industrial oils you can fit on 20% of your plate. It means that when life throws you a curveball—like a death in the family or travel or lack of access to fresh food – that you can do the best with what you have available and not worry about it. It means that you can plan for some indulgences. Maybe you want to use your 20% fudge time on a special dessert for your birthday, or eating a special holiday dish, or indulging at a wedding. Maybe it means that every afternoon you have a piece of dark chocolate, or every Friday night you watch a family movie and enjoy some stovetop popcorn with pastured butter. The 80/20 Rule is there to make it doable in the real world. It says that if you are totally committed to healthy Fit4God living, then sometimes you can bend or even break the rules and it will be okay.

2. Eating at Restaurants. First of all, please know that you probably don’t have to eat out as often as you think you do! I guarantee it will take longer to go to a fast-food joint than to throw some nitrate-free turkey, cheese chunks, gluten-free banana muffins, carrots, and apples on the table. Your basic strategy at a restaurant is to identify sources of toxins and identify sources of healthy protein, fat, and carbs. Avoid gluten or other grains by passing on the following: bread, croutons, pasta, breaded items, fried items, tortillas, buns, wraps. Avoid industrial oils by avoiding fried foods, French fries, and salad dressings. Avoid sugars by not choosing sweets, salad dressings, and sauces. Fine dining restaurants are easy because they offer plentiful good cuts of meat and fish and lots of veggies. At a fast food joint, choose the biggest burger you can find and ask for it without the bun. Skip the fries and get a side salad and bring your own olive oil to put on it. For breakfast, get the breakfast sandwich for the egg and meat and ditch the biscuit. Italian restaurants are pretty easy; just skip the pasta dishes and order a simply prepared meat with veggies. Breakfast places like Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, and IHOP are also easy because you can always get bacon, eggs, sausage, or hamsteak with fruit. Mexican can be harder, but naked fajitas (fajitas without the tortilla) are always good. You can probably order most things on a Mexican menu if you take off the tortilla. Skip the chips and eat your guacamole or salsa with cucumber chips or jicama slices. American “fern bars” like Chili’s and Applebee’s are great for bunless burgers, salads, and meat and veggies. Don’t be afraid to ask for sauces on the side or to ask for substitutions.

3. Traveling. Stock a little cooler with hunks of meat and veggies you like to eat cold (roasts and baked sweet potatoes are both great cold), cold veggies and dip, Greek yogurt, and fruit. Take canned tuna, jerky, dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, or Larabars with you. Take a small bottle of olive oil with you, since salads are great but the salad dressings aren’t. Use the tips for restaurant eating. Intermittent fast if necessary

4. Eating at Other’s Houses. Be polite and keep it low key! Politely pass on food you don’t want to eat. Now is not the time to go into a lecture on your newfound knowledge of toxins! You might try eating a small meal beforehand so you aren’t very hungry and can simply eat small portions of safe foods. If you are asked about your choices or why you aren’t eating something, keep it low key and focus on how much better you feel now that you are making changes to your diet. Sometimes it is best to forgo your diet and eat food that someone has lovingly prepared for you, especially if you know eating it once won’t cause you harm. But if you know indulging this once will make you feel sick or if you know it will lead to another indulgence…and another indulgence…and another until you have gained 10 pounds, by all means hold your ground and pass politely! If your food choices are that critical (that is, you will get very sick), then bring a plate of your own food in a small cooler bag (you can put hot food in a cooler bag wrapped in hot pads and it will stay hot enough until it is time to eat) and bring it out discreetly when the time comes. Just politely explain that you are highly allergic and must bring your own food and you hope the hostess won’t mind…and then praise her on how beautiful her food looks and how wonderful it smells! You can compliment without partaking!

5. Holidays. This topic deserves its own post, and I’ll probably do one soon, as we are fast approaching the holiday season! For now, though, a few thoughts: If you are hosting, put out an array of healthy versions of traditional foods and perhaps one or two more traditional foods. If you are a guest at someone else’s house, ask the hostess if you can bring one or two dishes so you know you will have something safe to eat. The average person gains 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s and the average Thanksgiving meal is a whopping 1750 calories and 232 grams of carbohydrate! NO ONE needs to be eating mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and bread all in one meal! That is utterly ridiculous. I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my home the last several years and we had turkey, gravy made without gluten, baked sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus, berries with real whipping cream, and crustless pumpkin pie. I promise everyone was happy and well-fed! Look for healthier indulgences (dark chocolate, red wine, crustless cheesecake), compensate for indulgences with additional exercise, plan for active fun like Frisbee with the family rather than watching TV, and “forage” on the buffet table (make it a game to find what is healthy and avoid what isn’t). I’ll be doing a big post on navigating the holidays, and posting holiday menus and recipes all throughout the months of November and December, so stay tuned!


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