What is Healthy Eating?

February 27, 2012

Image by Ez, from her post about Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Sounds yummy!

Friends! This topic has been on my mind since we moved to France and experienced some major shifts in our eating. I’m dying to hear what your thoughts are. I’ve had lots of conversations about healthy eating with dear friends — and dear relatives too. But the thing is, it seems like in every conversation, there is a point I realize we’re talking about completely different things.

In fact, I’ve made a little list, and for every item on the list, I can think of someone in my life who focuses on that type of eating. Some focus on a combination:
Vegan food.
Raw food.
Organic food.
Plant focused meals (not strictly vegetarian).
No snacking.
Locally produced food.
Sugar-free food.
Minimally processed food.
Michael Pollan food. (eat food, not too much, mostly plants)
Robert Lustig food. (sugar is toxic)
Gary Taubes food. (don’t eat sugar, but eat lots of protein)
Fat-free food.
Gluten-free food.
Lactose-free food.

My own definition of healthy eating is definitely a moving target, so I’m not really interested in what’s right or best (I suppose it depends on the person). I’m just curious. I’d love to know: Right this minute, what is “healthy-eating” to you? Has your definition changed in say, the last 3 years? Have you read anything lately that has you excited about healthy eating? Please share!

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{ 161 comments… read them below or add one }

1 my honest answer February 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

I think the most natural thing is usually the better choice. So given the choice between butter and margarine, I’d go butter every time. With a burger, or a steak, I’d go steak.

Other than that I think the key is lots of vegetables, and variety. A little of everything in moderation, and no food off-limits.

I also make a point of eating consciously. Pay attention to what you’re eating, enjoy it, and stop as soon as you are full. This means scarfing in front of the TV is out for me. I just don’t pay enough attention to my food.

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2 Ann February 27, 2012 at 8:42 am

My husband read Primal Blueprint and is convinced. Meat and plants. Minimal processed. It works for him! I just eat whatever he gives me (with a little extra dessert on the side).

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3 Kristin February 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Grok on!

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4 Beth February 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

For me, healthy eating is knowing what is in my food. It might seem broad, but I’ve found that just slowing down to think about this has really helped and has cut out tons of junk I really wasn’t even aware of eating. I’m not saying I’ve dropped tons of weight or anything miraculous, but it most certainly keeps me from buying a LOT of things at the grocery store. What is also interesting, after making this adjustment in thinking, is seeing what my little one eats in comparison to others his age. Huge difference with processed vs non-processed! And, if I want to splurge with dessert, etc…I just whip something up from scratch at home. An easy, realistic move for our family!

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5 Valerie February 27, 2012 at 8:51 am

After trying many different diets (including all-raw) and seeing how they’ve made me feel, I’ve settled on vegan, low sugar, very little processed foods, low processed fat (oils, etc), and with a lot of raw fruits and vegetables. If you have a balanced vegan diet, you eat tofu or tempeh maybe once or twice a week, with lots of different types of legumes featured on the rest of the days (such as black beans, kidney beans, etc.). And of course a variety of vegetables in your daily diet. This way of eating just keeps the body’s systems going very smoothly with a lot of energy and regularity, and with low sugar and oils, there are much less unhealthy cravings to deal with.

The best part is that the world is slowly coming around to plant-based foods (thanks to Michael Pollan and others), so it’s easy to have vegan treats regularly from many restaurants. = There are no feelings of deprivation since the foods you can make are just delicious and colourful, and eating this way is rewarding in other ways than just health – knowing what you are doing for the environment and for animals is wonderful.

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6 Lindsey Johnson February 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

This is exactly what I think healthy eating is and how I’ve been eating (mostly) for awhile now. It’s amazing how much better I feel.

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7 Martha February 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

My greatest goal is balance and basics. I personally love fruit, I’d go for a green smoothie just about any time. I have to work harder for my vegetables, but feel that they are important. Meat and eggs are staples at our house, I try to eat lean meats, but am a sucker for steak and bacon. And when it comes to grains, I try to go with whole grains. I guess I am a believer in the food pyramid. I do have my upside down days though, like when I am presented with a bag of Cabury mini eggs.

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8 MsAmanda February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

-More veggies
-More fruit
-More whole grains
-Beans and lean protein
-Minimal processing, but don’t feel bad if Cheez-its or Wheat Thins are calling your name
-Focus on bringing out natural flavor
-Paying attention to which foods make you feel good and strong (Greek yogurt, fresh veggies, eggs) and which ones make you feel crappy (too much cheese, too much carby-stuff)

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9 Melissa Yoder February 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

I got my Bachelor’s in nutrition and food science, and nothing I learned there led me to believe that any of those fad diets were the way to go. Everything in moderation, and stay away from trans fats!

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10 Tiffany February 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

I’m with you Melissa, everything in moderation!

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11 Veronika February 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

These are the two points I was going to post. So simple.

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12 Laura Lee February 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

so agree…. anyone else seeing the McDonald’s ad to the left, lol.

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13 Megan Flowers February 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

I try to feed my family organic non processed food. During meals like dinner I try to do more veg than meat. I do indulge on sweets every now. Things like ice cream, pastry. No diet sodas or high fructose corn syrup drinks. No artificial sweeteners or colors. No preservatives. I just try to keep things real. I love good food! I have been vegetarian (for 10 years) and been on a raw diet before. I don’t think I would go back to being a vegetarian but I do like to do a cleanse every now and then that involves going raw for a bit

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14 Lana Cole February 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

For my husband and I, healthy eating is eating foods that you have to prepare yourself. That means no hot pockets, or frozen pizza (unless you made the pizza yourself and then froze it). It means we eat a proportional amount of veggies starches, meats, fruits, grains, and fats. I do not care about using butter or olive oil unless it is real. No margarine for us. No “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” Only the real stuff from real animals or from real dirt. We eat whatever we like as long as it is all real foods. We also make all of our own breads and we try to buy semi-local produce from co-ops. I know “organic farming” is kind of a joke (what’s the standard anyway?) so we just try to eat a lot of foods that are in the original shape when they came off the plant, or as close to the cow as possible.

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15 Emme February 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

Moderation in all things! To me, healthy eating is when you are conscious of what you’re putting into your body and you try to emphasize those things which provide your body with the best nutritional benefits. So, of course fruits and vegetables are high on the list… but so are grains, protein, dairy, and some tasty treats to round it all out! If you don’t ENJOY your food, you’re missing out on a great part of life!

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16 Charissa February 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

I agree with the moderation. When I’ve tried to cut out all sugar and stuff like that, I go nuts and am CONSUMED with sugar…until I let myself eat it again, and then I’m fine and go for days without thinking or eating it.

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17 Christa the BabbyMama February 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

I’d say for me, it’s about moderation. I try not to snack, but if I get hungry, I eat. We’re vegetarians, but I won’t play 20 questions with my host at a dinner party re: the sauce on the roast veggies because I’d rather not know. I love sweets, but mostly cake so I don’t keep it around much. Eating breakfast is my new fad – I used to skip it, but since we’re trying to conceive, I’m giving breakfast a go!

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18 debra peck February 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

i read “animal, vegetable, miracle,” by barbara kingsolver a few years ago and i think that it has had the biggest impact on my outlook on food. not because i have necessarily agreed with or subscribed to every aspect of the book, but because it has made me think about my food in a more conscientious way. i also really loved the book because it didn’t feel extreme at all. just a simple return to food basics. know where your food comes from and you will naturally avoid overly processed food, you will eat in season (when food is most nutritious), etc. i feel like eating should be an intuitive process and kingsolver seems to hit on this.

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19 Jen Hansard February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

I have alway considered myself a health conscious person. Yet when my son was 2 years old, we found out he was allergic to corn. Which means: corn, corn syrup, corn starch, etc. Our definition of healthy flipped upside down when we began to look into corn and all the transformation this once healthy crop has become. This food allergy has become a blessing in disguise— and changed our eating patterns from what I thought was all ready “healthy.”

If you are at all interested in this: check out: King Corn, Fast Food Nation and Food Inc. (all on netflix) — it will just shock you how genetically modified corn has taken over our food system and changed the definition of “all natural.”

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20 Jennifer February 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

Fortunately in Canada, we don’t have everything made of subsidized corn. If I see something with corn in it, it goes back on the shelf.

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21 Jen Hansard February 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

That’s awesome. And I am sure most of the world is the same way. I am just baffled at how the US has handled food safety and health. It’s sad.

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22 Katie February 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

So true! My daughter had an undiagnosed food allregy as a newborn and one of the eliminations we tried was corn. Although that didn’t end up being the allergen she was reacting to it was SO eye opening to avoid corn in my diet. It is in everything and very poorly labeled. I was worried I would starve when we tried that diet but, in reality, I felt healthier than I ever had before.

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23 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

My dietician uttered the sentence that made it click for me. “Eat food made of food.”

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24 hillary February 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

YES! This!

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25 Allyson February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

I found the website wordofwisdomliving.com about a year ago, and I love it. Each week Skip focuses on a healthy change and how you can achieve it, and it is good motivation for those who want to change bad habits into healthy ones. I’ve been eliminating refined sugar from my diet, as well as processed foods, and I know that my body appreciates it! I feel much healthier and I have so much energy!

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26 jessica February 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I love that Web site too. Great information – no frills or fads. Just easy sensible advice.

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27 Tiff February 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I second the Word of Wisdom Living blog!!

I love learning about nutrition, so I’ve seen a fair amount of what is out there, but Skip has come at the whole thing from a different angle than anyone else. He really finds the point where science and tradition intersect, and it totally makes sense!

I don’t know why I haven’t considered tradition before in matters of health (the very word seems to conjure up images of old-wives tales). But really, so much of what our great-grandparents ate was what has been eaten for centuries–it has been proven by the test if time. If we ate like they did (relying more on plants, animal products and sugar less) in combinatithe with the miracles of modern medicine (penicillin, peeps), we’d all be centenarians (at least a lot closer than we are now).

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28 Margaret February 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

At the moment I’m trying to move more towards Michael Pollan’s advice… starting with cooking more at home and signing up for our local veggie co-op program. It’s a start, at least….

By the way, Gabrielle, this has nothing to do with the food post, but I was just wondering if you’d consider doing a post on the age spacing between your kids and how the dynamics play out. Our 2 kids are nearly 3 years apart, and my husband and I were just discussing the other night how long we should wait for the next one. Since you have various spacings between your kids, I’d love to hear your take on it. I know personality and gender also have a big effect on sibling relationships and family dynamics, but the spacing issue interests me. :-) Thanks!

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29 Jennifer February 27, 2012 at 9:19 am

A definite obsession for me, thinking more and more about what I’m putting into my family’s bodies and the effect of it all. Over the past 12 months we cut out meat (because after following my mom’s high-protein dialysis diet, I just got so sick of it), have been gradually cutting down and on animal-based foods, completely cutting out processed foods and subsequently increasing veggies, fruit and whole grains. We feel great and I feel good that I’ve made fresh, homemade food a priority…even if it takes a lot of extra time! I truly believe that being conscious of what we consume is a large part of being healthy.

Since the beginning of the year, I read the China Study, then saw Forks Over Knives. Both have been reinforcement that the place we’re at now isn’t so extreme and might actually be becoming mainstream.

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30 mary-anne February 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

I have recently become very interested in corn syrup which is in many fizzy drinks and confectionary etc. looks like it has an adverse biochemical affect, does not register on appetite so people are happily drinking fizzy drinks and eating just as much food, which may explain some of the obesity epidemic. It is cheap and very sweet and widely used in processed food. For me healthy eating is loads of fruit and veg, organic eggs, fish chicken and meat and dairy, good dark wholemeal bread and olive oil, grains, beans lentils, oats, lots of good protein and some fat and small amounts of good slow burning carbs, less if overweight, simple hey !

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31 Miranda February 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

Oh man, I could talk in circles about this forever! Like you, my ideas about healthy eating seem to ebb and flow. I am an RN and just recently resigned from my job as a Diabetes Educator (to hang out with my boys and sew a lot:) so I have been learning and teaching healthy nutrition for a few years.

I’ve gone through vegetarian and no red meat phases (8 years and every other summer), definitely am inspired my Michael Pollan, and have low-carb diet pounded into my brain. But above all, I think that healthy eating involves having a healthy relationship with food in general. Finding a balance between whole foods, fresh from the farmer (farmers market or grocery store…) and convenience foods that make life a little easier and allow time for things that might be more important than doing it all from scratch.

My goal is for my family to love food, and enjoy a variety. I cook almost every day, but don’t wince at the thought of an occasional drive through (anymore–kids changed this one:) Not everything is organic, high protein, low carb, whole grain, raw vegetable goodness. But it all is conscious, moderate and makes us happy!

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32 Tiff February 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Healthy relationship to food…..that’s the heart of it right there, isn’t it?

Thanks!

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33 Victoria February 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm

This is what we do too!

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34 rebeccaNYC February 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

so timely! I recently started working with a new doctor because of some health issues I have been experiencing, and I wanted a more holistic approach vs. traditional medical approach (prescribing of pills). She has changed my diet entirely and it is working! A surprise to me, the best diet for my body is protein and veggies, no sugar, dairy, wheat, or starchy carbs… not the all veggie diet I assumed was the best diet for everyone. Seems that one diet does NOT fit all, and it is a relief to figure out, once and for all what a healthy diet is FOR ME.

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35 Annie February 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

I find myself thinking about this fairly often as I plan, shop for, and prepare our dinners. It’s interesting to see the different “extreme” ways people change they way they eat. My BIL and his wife have tried all sorts of things over the years so I think it’s especially interesting to talk to them. I’ve found for me, as a Mormon chick, no matter what I read or what the fad is, I always end up going back to the Word of Wisdom and find I feel healthier when I exercise, eat more seasonally, and don’t eat meat at every meal. So to me, that is healthy eating; being thoughtful with my food choices and being moderate. It always rings true for me.

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36 Emily C. February 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

I switched to a vegan diet just over a year ago and while my husband and kids aren’t vegan, we’ve all been buying and eating new veggies and whole foods that we’d never tried before. My goal was to feel good and inspire them so that they’d be aware of healthy options and be willing to try them. I think for our family it was realizing that there are alternatives to just doing what our families have always done.

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37 Naomi L February 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

definitely michael pollan. nothing (great) grandma wouldn’t recognize. tons of fruits and veggies, with meat as a garnish more than a main event. locally grown/organic/etc is my preference! i love food a little too much, though, and i tend to have trouble with portions. this is something i am working on big time.

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38 Sara February 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

I’m a vegetarian coming off a couple of years of being vegan. I eat mostly whole foods. I found that being vegan did not work for me. I had less energy and I did not like the rigidity of it. I found that I was often not eating in social situations or sometimes even pretending to eat. I found that even if I said I was vegan, people would specially cook vegetarian food for me and I felt bad saying no just because there was a tiny bit of egg or cheese in the dish. I eat mostly veggies, some fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, whole grains, eggs, greek yogurt or kefir and a little bit of cheese on occasion.
I guess some of the blood type diet stuff has rubbed off on me. I am type A and supposedly meat eating type A’s end up with more heart disease. That and the animal rights stuff keeps me away from meat. I do occasionally think of having a little fish but haven’t for years.
I definitely think diet is a really personalized thing. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone.

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39 Cortnie February 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

Vegetarian all the time – Vegan as much as possible – Cook at home! (This includes desserts! ;)

As good as I feel now I wouldn’t go back!

xo
cortnie

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40 Jenny D. February 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

A few months ago we decided to try a plant-based diet (basically vegan). But after awhile I noticed that I was still using a lot of oils and I felt like even though we had cut out meat and animal products that there was still a healthier way. So then I started cooking without oils, cut back on added sugar, and pretty much eliminated processed foods completely. I noticed a difference in how I felt almost immediately, I feel great and have lost weight (even though that wasn’t the motivation for our change, it’s still pretty nice). I will say that we are flexible, definitely not rigid. We don’t expect my parents to cater to our eating style for family dinners, for example, but as long as there is a variety we can always find something to eat, or we contribute accordingly. We have three young children (10 and under) and we take their cravings and desires into consideration too. When my son requests salmon, I try to incorporate it into our menu — so far they have not requested any other meat besides fish! I thought I cooked healthy meals before we attempted this plant based diet, but now that we are eating so much more vegetables, fruits, homemade breads, and such I realize now that my definition of healthy has changed considerably. Last night we saw a commercial from a major food chain advertising their “meal box” (two pizzas, hot wings, and breadsticks) and I turned to my husband and told him I could never consider that “meal” and real meal anymore.

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41 Sherry February 27, 2012 at 9:51 am

reading these comments have been fascinating since i’ve been questioning all of the same things recently. we’ve always considered ourselves somewhat healthy eaters (as healthy as you can be with 3 teenagers)…but lately we’ve been researching and going further with it. right now we eat everything in moderation (no red meat though) and mostly snack on granola bars, nuts and natural air popcorn. we still have a long way to go though…baby steps, baby steps. even my teenagers are seeing how much better they feel after a day of healthier eating though.

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42 Sandra February 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

I try to keep it simple. I avoid processed foods as much as possible- the chemicals aren’t healthy and it just doesn’t come close to tasting as good as the real thing.

Another “rule” or guideline is everything in moderation. As I tell my six year old, it isn’t a treat if you have it all the time!

And finally, we try to eat at the table (snacks included) and not while we are walking around. Not every event or errand has to be accompanied by food.

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43 Andrea February 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

Ditto to the balance and moderation. I like everything–meat, dairy, plants–and I’ll never be able to completely cut sugar. I like well-rounded meals with lots of nutrients, and I take it easy on processed foods.

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44 Amy February 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

Such a great conversation! I have celiac disease, so for me it’s gluten-free, and for my family I aim for low sugar, high fiber, organic dirty dozen, hormone free, local when possible. That said, my husband and I have the tastebuds of five year olds, so there are a lot of PB&Js, mac and cheese, and pigs in blankets at our house. I just try to find a good balance.

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45 sarah jane February 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

Such an interesting topic…lots of contradictory thoughts and research out there. We just watched Forks Over Knives and are planning to head towards a mostly plant-based diet. I’ve already started heading in that direction and feel SO much better. I have low blood sugar and always thought I needed tons of protein to control it, but I don’t! In fact, being “addicted” to too much protein causes my sugar levels to be worse. Eating whole foods that take longer to digest is what keeps my levels normal throughout the day and makes it unnecessary to snack…which used to control my life! Anyway, I’m just glad that people are so much more aware of this topic these days. Heading towards “health” regardless of the definition is always a good thing as long as its not extreme.

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46 Rosa @ FlutterFlutter February 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

Great question! I always choose organic when possible, steer clear of GMO’s, and because of celiac in our house don’t do wheat and gluten. I didn’t really think I could get much healthier… but I just finished reading The Beauty Detox Solution. It has really changed the way I eat. I’ve been having smoothies (kale, spinach, banana, etc) for breakfast each day, a kale salad (w/tomatoes & avacado, etc) for lunch, and whatever I feel like feeding my family for dinner. I feel SO much better – adding all these greens into my day has made a huge difference!

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47 Melina Smith February 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

I love to eat local. If its fresh I say go for it. Less is more, when it comes to processed foods. I think when it comes to kids sharing the opportunity to taste new things will only enhance their palates, but I really do believe they are done eating when they say they are done. I love eating fresh and local because it enhances the entire eating process, you begin to think of food differently, and meals become a communal pleasure.

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48 Robyn February 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

I learned a lot from reading Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman. Great book. The thing I had never thought about before was nutrient density. How foods with more nutrients per calorie are actually going to fill us up better. Because your hunger is turned off when your body gets the nutrients that it needs, not when your stomach is full. That is just discomfort. You can keep packing in the junk until you want to burst and you will still be hungry and wanting more because you’re not giving your body what it needs. And your hunger will stay turned off even when your stomach is empty…until your body needs more nutrients. For instance, did you know that broccoli has more protein per calorie than red meat? The most nutrient dense foods are green leafy veggies, but others are great too. I try to have a big green smoothie every day (Greensmoothiegirl.com is great) and feed my family whole organic foods as much as possible. We only eat meat sparingly and avoid dairy. These changes have cured sleep apnea and eczema in our family. My husband lost fifty pounds and we are rarely if ever sick anymore. We used to think we couldn’t afford to feed our large family this way. Now I know we can’t afford not to. I really believe that chronic diseases–including cancer–are preventable with great nutrition. (Bonus: we buy fewer beauty products and deodorant because they are just not as necessary anymore)

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49 Valerie February 28, 2012 at 5:19 am

Hear, hear! Dr. Joel Fuhrman (and Dr. Esselstyn too) is amazing – definitely a great lifestyle to aspire to! Congrats on your hard work and doing such a great thing for your family.

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50 Kristen E February 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

I’ve been thinking about this a lot too. As far as I’m aware, a gluten-free diet will only make a difference if you have a gluten sensitivity! I try to eat things in moderation, and try hard to make our food from scratch when possible. We eat minimal amounts of processed foods, and when we do eat them, it’s things like Triscuits that are at least full of whole grains. My husband needs a lot more protein than I do, so on weeks when our meals don’t have much protein, I’ll buy him some deli meat to snack on. Our snack foods tend to be things like cheese and crackers, fruit, or a handful of nuts, though I’m also a sucker for Goldfish crackers and often have them around. I think we do fairly well in terms of eating healthy food. There’s always room for improvement, of course!

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51 maria February 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

Lots of saturated fats, (butter, coconut oil and pastured meat fats), grassfed meat, yogurt, cultured veggies, greens drenched in butter, cream, coconut milk ice-cream, and that’s just the beginning!

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52 kim bryant February 28, 2012 at 6:21 am

Me to Maria…..and I feel great!

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53 Melissa February 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

We’re just starting this after reading tons of medical studies, then Sally Fallon/Weston Price, more medical studies and then just LOOKING at my own great grandparents and grandparents who were farmer’s who ate like this normally. Their own grass fed beef, their own garden vegetables and some of their own fruit, much bartered from others, lots of butter and cream and milk. They are all still ALIVE past their 80s, active and healthy and can bend over easier than me in my 30s and can carry heavy loads, all are of normal weight (while my husband and I are overweight after being very “health” conscious vegetarian/pescatarian for YEARS), my Papa just now had to get some dental work and none ever had crooked teeth or cavities, and they look fantastic. It’s really amazing to just pay attention and see what all those medical studies confirm. (and I mean studies not paid for by diet companies or big pharma)

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54 Karen February 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

I think it’s two things…..the more natural, minmally processed, the better and enjoy your food.

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55 jen February 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

to me it would be more from a “source” and less from a box – ie: the horribleness that is hamburger helpers and it’s cohorts. but i am a baker at heart so……..don’t touch my baking supplies!!!! just more of a leafy dinner with lean protein, at least three vegetables {steamed, roasted, raw} in different colours that are not covered in a cheese/butter sauce,less butter/fats, lighter condiments, less salt, less white bready-style foods……..that way we can enjoy a dessert. it all comes back to dessert. and make it with butter not shortening **shiver**.

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56 Mackenzie Byersdorf February 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

Great post to think about! My definition has definitely changed in the last few years as I’ve gotten married, started cooking, been pregnant, and now have a baby. Right now we’re focusing on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, moderation of sweets, no processed foods and harsh chemicals (like aspartame), and being conscious of calories and fat. My main goal though is to make sure that each day has some fruits and veggies, not too many chemicals, and lots of water!

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57 mattie February 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

i’ve really been trying hard to eat healthier since i’m breastfeeding and trying to lose the baby weight (which seems pretty impossible right now for me!), so it’s amazing how much better i feel when i eat lots of fruits and veggies, lots of protein (not necessarily meat all the time), and less refined sugar. a few weeks ago, i had a bad eating day sugar-wise and it was astounding how crappy i felt all day long. i couldn’t get rid of that headache for days. i wondered if this was how i usually felt before i started being more conscious about my eating. i’ll never do that again! for me, it really makes a huge difference if i have some sort of protein with every meal. more energy, less headaches, no 3pm crash.

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58 Jess February 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

I used to be a really unhealthy eater. The best advice I ever got was to only buy foods where I knew what each ingredient is, and to minimize the number of ingredients.

So for example, buy peanut butter that is made of peanuts and salt. Buy butter that is cream and salt. Same with bread and all the rest. If something has more than six ingredients, don’t buy it.

It’s so simple, and I still do this today and it really works!

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59 Juli February 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

What came to mind right away was home-cooked meals. Yes, that means no canned goods (or at least very few of them) and working with what is in season at the moment. That means listening to what God ( or mother nature, however you look at it:) intended for us to eat during that season.
I grew up in Europe, and my parents always cooked all of our meals from scratch. Everything we ate was super fresh, straight from the local market (farm-run market). And no, I do not cut anything out of my diet; I love to eat all vegetables and most meats, and we just focus on how we cook and integrate them in our lives. I cook with olive oil, I cook good balanced meals, I have my kids snack on nuts and raw fruit and raw veggies. We do love our dips and I am ok with that. We do like our sweets and I am ok with that too:) Food is such an important part of our lives and I believe that it is to be celebrated, and most of it has it’s own place. You just have to know how to “leave” it there and for those occasions. So sure, dad did bake brownies last night and we cuddled together on the sofa catching up on American Idol, and we loved it. And yes, we do go out for gelato and we love that too. We just try to remember to eat well on a regular basis and to celebrate with sweets when it is appropriate to do so.

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60 Angeerah February 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

Great question! We try to buy local whenever possible and have reintroduced some meats since we learned our son has a dairy allergy. I try to avoid processed food when possible but it’s not always feasible.

Although I was a vegetarian for a very long time and then off and on again for the past five years, I don’t like restrictive eating. I think it was Julia Child’s who said something to the effect of “Everything in moderation.” I think that is a good way to eat food. Try to be mindful of what we are consuming on an environmental level (local foods, organic, no hormones and pesticides, or fillers), but avoiding something for a dietary purpose seems silly.

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61 Lauren February 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

To me, healthy eating is consuming small portions of mostly unprocessed foods at regular intervals during the day. I value foods that did not have to travel far to get to my plate, something I learned from reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. I also value scheduled meal times, so that we never get that “I’m starving and will eat anything and lots of it” feeling. I love to cook and it is a joy to me to feed my family food that I believe is keeping us healthy.

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62 Cari February 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

The Word of wisdom!!–including eat less meat and more grains and exercising. Provident Living has a calculator for your weight, age, BMI that will tell you how many servings of say, vegetables you should be eating.
All things in moderation–including portions. I think some of these diets are good, but too extreme and not sustainable–especially for a family with growing and changing needs. Eat a variety of foods prepared a variety of ways. (I think I read somewhere that when you cook carrots it releases a certain vitamin in huge quantities. Something like that? All raw doesn’t mean all good.)

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63 Sharon @ Discoveringblog February 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

I think as a working mom, I do the best that I can.
I can’t afford all organic, all natural, all farm-raised, but I can manage to make some meals from scratch each weekend.
I try to keep apples and bananas available, but I’m not going to lie and say my kids don’t enjoy gummy snacks, because they do.
It’s a balance. If I tried to strictly follow some diet, I’d rebel and feel suffocated. So I do my best, which includes a can of Diet Coke each day and a cookie.

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64 Angela February 28, 2012 at 12:01 am

I think I can most relate to your comment. I try my best, but it’s about balance. And for me to stay balanced I too have a diet coke about one a day. :)

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65 R. Pyper February 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

My view has definitely changed since I had my last baby. I’m a runner, and I used to eat a no-sugar diet and felt great — but I lost plenty of weight. And while that was wonderful back then, I definitely lost from my bust line first.

Now that I’ve nursed two babies, I just don’t think I can afford to lose any more weight from that region! So I’m back on sugar and still running to keep in shape (and to maintain my weight).

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66 sarah February 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

this one is easy for me. i have to eat gluten – free–therefore, so does little guy and my husband. most gluten free things are very low processed items with hardly any preservatives at all. in fact one of the stores i shop in won’t even put it on the shelf if it has preservatives. so……mostly fresh fruits and veggies, and very little processed food along with chicken, meat, fish, eggs….etc. i don’t go all out organic or anything, but i like that we don’t eat “box” or “frozen” meals.

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67 carole February 27, 2012 at 11:22 am

I don’t think God meant eating – something we all need to do – to be complicated. It’s not rocket science. I think he gave all we need in the world around us, animal and plant alike. I try to keep my food choices simple, meaning as close to nature as possible. This can still yield amazingly satisfying and complex meals.

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68 Heather @ That Uncomfortable Itch February 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

We strive for, but don’t always succeed in, the following: all things in moderation, locally owned and grown, organic when possible, avoid processed foods, made from scratch, made with love. It believe it is about balance and enjoyment. I can’t say we never indulge in McDonald’s. Sometimes we have soda. Some weeks my kids eat too much pizza. But we try to make up for it and we strive to enjoy meals.

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69 Leah February 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

I’d say the over-arching theme for my food strategy is REAL Food. Butter over margerine. Half-n-half over creamer. Minimally processed, no preservatives or ingredients that I can’t read. Less packaging. Organic and local when possible and practical. Last year we joined a CSA so we’re eating tons of local, organic produce and less meat, and that feels really good. But, I also believe in moderation. My kids had a soda last weekend…might have been their favorite day all year!

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70 Heidi February 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

Great topic! There are definitely varied opinions about healthy eating. My views on healthy eating have drastically changed in the past 3 years (which coincidentally is the amount of time from the beginning of my first pregnancy).
We’re in the category of eat local, organic, low- or no-grain, no sugar, limit other natural sweeteners. So, basically pretty close to the Paleo diet although I don’t have any issues with eating dairy.

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71 Linda Kerr February 27, 2012 at 11:44 am

We took out transfats about 12 years ago when friends thought I was insane for giving up certain foods. We have also taken out all nitrates as well. That’s hard to do overseas with deli meats, but we do what we can. It wasn’t until we lived overseas that I realized how much processed (and prepackaged) food Americans eat. For a while, I tried to make everything from scratching, including things like cream of chicken. I didn’t even know you could do this! But having kids makes it hard to do that. Basically, we stay away from as much processed food as we can and eat mainly small amounts of meat and try to eat lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains. That’s basically our guide. Oh, and for my husband and I, we eat a smaller dinner and try to do the bulk of our calories during the day. But I also change quite a bit. Never been into fad diets, but I do think the Michael Pollen way probably works the best for us.

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72 tanya smith February 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

I’m so curious to know how your family’s diet has changed since you moved to France? How do you eat differently than here in America?

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73 Breena February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I’m curious, too. Especially about how your food shop and preparation methods changed.

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74 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 6:04 am

Great question, Tanya. It has for sure changed. For starters, we cook at home far more often, our ingredients are usually better quality (by that, I mean fresh and local), and we eat massive amounts of butter and cream. It’s shocking!

I’ll have to write a full post about it.

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75 Fiona February 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

Please do write a full post on this, I have been living in America for five years and it has definitely changed my feelings on food, never in the three other countries that I have lived have food choices been so complicated and so disappointing as they are here in America. I dread going to the supermarket!

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76 sarah February 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

i can too easily get drawn into over-thinking food and obsessing about certain ‘types’ of eating, and then feeling bad for not sticking to whatever that ‘type’ is. (for example, i tried going paleo once, but it lasted less than 48 hours.)

so healthy eating for me, now, is a combination of balance and moderation. we try to get plenty of veggies, whole grains, fruits, and protein into our diet, and focus on eating things that are ‘real.’ that doesn’t mean that we don’t indulge in a bag of chips occasionally, or never have white bread in the house, but on the whole we try to ensure that the majority of our food isn’t highly processed. i have a big sweet tooth, too, and love anything that’s cheese or carbs, so i try my best to keep those cravings in check by indulging in small amounts and balancing it with healthier options. much harder these days now that i’m pregnant, though…

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77 Andrea February 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I recently gave up eating meat after reading The China Study. It’s a very interesting book that I highly recommend. I also watched the movie Food Inc, which inspired me to change my eating habits. Loaded with a lot of good information. The challenge has been changing all my recipes and meals for my family of 6 to keep everyone happy. But it’s working, and I’m so happy I made the change. It’s been about 5 months and I don’t miss meat at all.

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78 Kaila Lifferth February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

my definition of healthy eating has changed drastically in the last three years. I used to bake nearly every day and consumed huge amounts of sugar until my body started reacting to it (yeast infections, bladder infections, fatigue). I devoured every Michael Pollin book I could find, watched countless documentaries on the subject of food and completely turned my diet around. I’ve dropped sugar completely from my diet, my family drinks green smoothies nearly every day, we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and hardly any meat. We were big on whole wheat as well, until discovering that my daughter is sensitive to gluten, so we’ve also adopted a gluten free diet. Most people think we’re off our rockers, but we’re so much healthier now!

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79 Polly February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

The healthiest food is the most natural. Just have a balanced diet with as little “additives” as possible, and you’re there. I believe that is quite difficult in America as everything is so processed!

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80 McKenzie February 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Yes! In the last year I started reading wordofwisdomliving.com It sounds like it’s going to be some ultra-religious mormon blog, but it’s written by Inchmark’s http://inchmark.squarespace.com/ (Brooke Reynolds) dad Skip. He takes an approach that includes science and history. It’s a very practical, not over-the-top, approach. His ideas are focused on moderation, eating less meat, and returning to an unprocessed diet of more veggies and less junk. Healthy eating, to me, is eating more veggies, and less meat as well as cutting treats down to a minimum.

I think the less processed the better. I don’t buy pre-made meals anymore, and we try to do desserts once a week. Everything tastes better but I do spend more time in the kitchen. I’m a housewife, so it works out just fine for me.

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81 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:39 am

Lots of shout outs for Skip’s blog. Right on!

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82 nadege February 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I cannot believe the millions of references to healthy eating I have heard since moving to the US( a year ago), it did trigger a lot of reflection on my part . I grew up in France, ate ‘normally’ and never really questioned that I was on a healthy diet. I could not face all those trendy’ healthy diets’( not being judgmental I have no authority to say whether or not they are better for health) for a million dollars, I would go crazy cutting out dairy and sugar. It seems to me that the healthy eating movement is an answer to the crushing presence of industrialized food. I like to think that if we took cues from our grand-parents we shouldn’t have to go mad about the issue. In a world where every dish only had a few ingredients bought close to home , on a budget,carried back in a heavy basket all the way from the village, mixed at home and eaten there, people did not worry about the pound and a half of butter they had worked into the Sunday Kouign Aman.

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83 Jodi February 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Absolutely! It has changed a lot in the last couple of years. For me it means real food- food as close to it’s natural state as possible with no or minimal processing, meat sparingly, lots of plant foods, aim for organic or food grown most naturally w/o chemicals or steroids, little sugar (not a lot of sweets and minimal amounts of added sugar), nothing addictive. I also like eating local food when possible because it is friendlier to the environment, tastes better because it is more fresh, and helps local farmers. I have read lots of books/blogs that have influenced my thoughts, some favorites are: scripture, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Animal Vegetable Miracle, wordofwisdomliving.com

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84 Sarah W February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I’ve just recently started trying to eat healthier which for me means lots of fruits and veggies, good fats. protein, (meat or otherwise) and fiber. I try to avoid a lot of processed foods, but do indulge a little every now and then. My husband loves to bake, so there’s usually something sweet around the house, but he does it all from scratch, so I feel better about indulging a little.

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85 leslie February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I went gluten free 2 years ago and am a changed mommy! I talk alot about it on my website (which actually is about music, but is now including healthy foods etc). My mentor started with http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com then branched out from there. It’s not a ‘diet’ it’s changing your whole paradigm about food and your lifestyle- because the standard American diet is NOT where it’s at. Most of the world has it already figured out, how to eat healthy. As a country we fell of the boat and are just recently get back on.

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86 Mimi February 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I think healthy eating is really about eating fresh, locally grown, non-processed (as much as possible) foods. If something came out of the earth within a couple dozen from my house I think it’s great. I joined a local farm coop this year that is contracted with 22 farms in Massachusetts that will provide me with fresh, organic veggies & herbs, IPA fruits, locally made cheese, and freshly baked bread on a weekly basis.

I also try and keep my sugar intake low…but I really, really love chocolate. So hard.

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87 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:38 am

“I also try and keep my sugar intake low…but I really, really love chocolate. So hard.”

Chocolate isn’t really my thing, but I have a HUGE sweettooth.

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88 Katie February 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm

While I certainly agree with so many of your healthy commentors, for our family right now, healthy eating also means letting go. I tend to drive myself (and others) crazy in trying to get our family to eat healthy. (More veggies! Less processed foods! aaaah! sugar! oh no!!) I have four little picky eaters under 10 years of age.While I realize what we put into our bodies is certainly important and can have wonderful or horrible effects on our longterm health – I also realize that for me – sometimes taking a big breath and a giant step back from all of the hype is what I need. Because fear and guilt and pressure associated with mealtime is *not* what I want to remember about feeding my family.(and not what I want them to remember either). So if that means I need to crack open the potato chips once in awhile along with our carrots and green smoothies, then so be it. Right now, my motto is BABY STEPS. If we can somehow be a little better in the next 6 months than we were before – then progress! woohoo! I have hope and I’ll keep offering them healthy options. But I have to admit: sometimes the “healthy eating” bandwagon drives me crazy – maybe because I want so badly for us to eat better than we do? Maybe because my kids are so picky that it seems like an impossibility? I don’t know. Sometimes throwing my hands up and ordering pizza really is healthy for our family. ;)

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89 Sharmyn February 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

This to me is still the best balanced, wholly organic, socially responsible, and green diet on the planet. D&C 89. Works every time.

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90 Bethany February 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I was going to say.. The Word of Wisdom really is a great diet. ;-)

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91 Felicia McCall February 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Before my daughter was born, I did a lot of from scratch recipes like pizza and calzones for Friday nights. Although we still eat organic and eliminate most processed foods, I am still trying to get back to that place of doing more from scratch cooking with the best ingredients. Now that she is 3, she wants to help with all the cooking. Although fun, I better have a lot of patience and not take it to serious. http://bit.ly/AeWvQH

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92 Sabine February 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

For me, eating healthy means trying to cut out all (or as much as possible of) the artificial additives such as flavour enhancers (glutamat etc), coloring and conservants. It’s tricky and sometimes more expensive but for me, its absolutely worth it.
Also, i’m not eating much bread, pasta, cookies and the like because it makes me feel bad and always crave more and more. I do eat potatoes and grains, though, which feels like the healthier choice for me.
And i’m a sucker for candy. Not so healthy but I think it’s all about the dosage. So I’m far from cutting out carbohydrates altogether.

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93 Joan February 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Just put in more good than bad and don’t eat if you’re not hungry and you should be OK.

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94 Karina Hotard February 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I would wanna quote “my honest answer”‘s comment. I absolutely agree with it “lots of vegetables, lots of variety, a little bit of everything and no food off-limit”. But, i would add, avoid processed foods, dyes . I grew up in France and was taught to eat “healthy” with a little fun here and there, dessert guilt-free. I’ve been living in the states for close to 15 years now and still eat the same way. My 9 year old son has autism and isn’t on a strict diet, but i do have to say that i buy way more organic than i would have even thought to do at some point.
Eat well, eat variety eat with pleasure, guilt-free. Voila!

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95 Amanda February 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Right now, heathly eating for me is 1500 calories per day. Family meals.

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96 Danielle February 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

For me and my family, it is a combination of things. Lots of fruits and vegetables, protein, water, low sugar. There are certain fruits I will only buy if they are organic (like strawberries and peaches), same thing with veggies (like spinach and potatoes), but the rest (like bananas and broccoli) I just buy at the local grocery store. “To Buy or Not To Buy Organic” is a fantastic book that has helped me understand organic vs. local vs. sustainable, and what is really important to me. We eat more chicken than beef – the chicken is organic, free-range, and the beef is grass fed. We try to stay away from the processed foods, but I work and have 3 kids, so…you know how that goes. I do make all our dinners from scratch (no more hamburger helper).
Hope that helps!

Danielle

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97 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:36 am

Thanks for the book recommendation, Danielle!

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98 salley February 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I’ve recently lost 45 pounds, so I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot. I’m familiar with both abundance (of food that wasn’t very good for me) and deprivation (at least that’s what it felt like when I took the fries away), but now I’m really trying to focus on healthy abundance and nurturing my body through giving it really healthful foods. I imagine my path will take me through many of the variations you listed here! Life is such a blessing (thinking about your WW II post). I’m going to try to give love to my body and spirit and keep the happiness going, and focus more on what great things I’m giving my body than what things I’ve eliminated.

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99 Jan @ Family Bites February 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Great question! And great answers in the comments.

I’m not sure if I’ve figured out what exactly defines healthy eating, but I’d like to believe that real food is better than manufactued (butter vs. margarine) and everything is okay in moderation.

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100 Aimee February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Oh, this is such a hard hard thing to work out and something I think about all the time. I’m impressed with what the http://www.westonapricefoundation.com has to say. Check out info on Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330373452&sr=8-1 too if you get a chance. They are all about whole foods, grass fed meats, raw milk, fermented products… basically things other cultures prepared and ate that was life giving.

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101 Ayme February 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I’ve realized that healthy living is a journey, not a destination. It means always learning more about our bodies and foods. Also, a big thing is to just not buy unhealthy stuff at the store, whatever that means for you. That way it’s not an option when your blood sugar crashes or you get PMS cravings. I just try to enjoy food and have it make me feel good.

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102 Ann February 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm

less processed I think is a big one. I also think organic is good to shoot for. Of course I like yummy too ; )

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103 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:35 am

I like yummy too!

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104 Erica February 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

EAT FAT TO LOSE FAT. Eat real food to feed your cells. This is the motto our family lives by. My children also devour the foods listed…Whole-milk, raw dairy. Kefir, Viili, fermented veggies, properly prepared grains and legumes in moderation. Coconut oil before meals and for frying. Coconut milk. Grass-fed and/or organic butter, poultry and beef. Lots of veggies. Homemade bone broth. Kombucha, water kefir. Moderate amounts of caffeine, unprocessed sugar and alcohol. We feel great! http://www.eatfatlosefat.com/

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105 ginger February 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I’m 67 and have been through many changes in my (and my family’s) diet, but always returning to vegetarian food. I just don’t want to eat dead animals—it’s as simple as that. I also have gardened for 35 years, which has added immesurably to the quality of food we eat. It’s worth every cent to buy the best quality of food you can find–don’t give your hard-earned money to junk food purveyors. And I strongly urge everyone to consider the reality of what you are doing when you eat dead animals. Thanks.

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106 Maddy February 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Balance! Just like my mom always said. A good balance of meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, grains, dairy and even a little dessert!

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107 Bethany February 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Like Maddy, I’m all about balance. You have to find the balance that works for you. I eat sweets, and even process foods (gasp!). I eat them in moderation, and I eat my fruits and veggies too. We’ve made a few simple, realistic changes like ground turkey instead of beef, soy milk, and whole wheat bread. For my family, we have to make changes that are sustainable. We couldn’t be/don’t want to be vegan, so that’s not a change we can make. We try to eat in balance and be aware of our intake.

Besides, what is life with out brownies, I mean really.

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108 Chandra @ConsultantMom February 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I’m trying to define it for my young family as we speak. I recently enjoyed this: @unhealthytruth: youtu.be/rixyrCNVVGA

It motivated me to begin a subscription to an organic fruit/veggie delivery service.

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109 Maike February 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full.
That is the most important thing for me. Apart from that i eat mostly organic at home but when i eat out I order whatever looks delicious to me.
I don’t like the thought of eating dead creatures, so I eat mostly vegetarian.
Lots of sweets and chocolats though but I noticed I feel best, the more raw food I eat.
I fed my 3 year old daughter raw and blended fruits when she started eating solids additional to brestfeeding and she didn’t have a drop of cowmilk or a bite of meat before she turned one.
She is the most healthiest child you could imagine and until today she eats apples and dried fruits like other kids eat chocolates. She eats lots of chocolate too though. And gummi bears. And half a cucumber a day if we didn’t forget to buy one. She just doesn’t make a difference between healthy and unhealthy food.
When she got tons of chocolates around christmas, she started saving them up and offering them to her playdates when they came over.
She just had a few herself and then she stopped when she had enough. I let her snack as much as she wants, so she is never super starved, I think that is a good trick to prevent kids from overeating. Sometimes she eats a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t. Just like me.
Her eating habits and her health make me very very happy and I like to think it is because of my exsample. Maybe I am just lucky.

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110 Melissa L. February 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Always eat breakfast. One tablespoon of black strap molasses a day is a great source of iron. Organic produce is best if possible. Grape seed oil is best for high heat cooking. Soak grains and nuts to maximize your ability to digest them. Avoid sugar and white flour and rice. Eat when you are hungry and drink lots of pure clean water throughout the day.

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111 lisa February 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

This topic makes me crazy…not in a bad way because I’m facinated by it…but because it seems like such an all-consuming facination with so many “right” answers.

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112 Rachel February 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

My idea of healthy eating has definitely evolved. As of today, a healthy eating day would be at least 50% raw foods and staying under my calorie limit. That’s it! Since adopting these two practices I feel better than ever. I can still eat out, indulge in a treat, or partake in social settings, but I have a cut-off amount. (I do follow the Mormon Word of Wisdom to the best of my ability as well).

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113 Cecilia February 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

We stay away from processed or prepared foods. I remember my mother telling a story about having moms from the neighborhood over when we first moved to the States from Sweden. She had made a cake and the ladies loved it. When they asked her what the mix was, she had no idea what they meant! She didn’t understand the concept of “scratch” cooking—all cooking was scratch to her. Now that I have a family, I try to live by that approach. We eat whole foods and organic as much as we can. We have a CSA share as well as an organic/humanely raised meat share (I forced myself to go to the farm to check it out). Getting food from the veg farm, often having picked it myself, makes me so happy. I feel the food is bursting with goodness! Apart from my favorite dark chocolate and wine and pasta, we try to make most things “from scratch.” We don’t eat as many muffins that way! But in the end, we are flexible. I truly believe that eating food should be a source of joy, and this is what I hope to pass on to my son.

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114 Sarah H February 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I’m mostly michael pollanesque. I think that Mark Bittman made that idea even more accessible.

Real food is so so good, isn’t it? I live in Santa Monica, and I’m happy to be in a place that celebrates good, real, delicious food in so many ways.

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115 bettijo @ PagingSupermom.com February 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

just had to say how much I love that funny photo!

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116 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:34 am

Isn’t it just perfect?

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117 Connie Z. February 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm

real food. (non-processed, non-genetically engineered)
whole food when possible.
raw when possible.
but not obsessive to make too much of it for my own attitude or in my attitude towards others’ choices.
and a healthy dose of dark chocolate.

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118 Eilidh February 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

This is a familiar conversation situation! I recently found this blog http://www.wordofwisdomliving.com (i think it come to me via a post somewhere about Alt) and I think it’s great – an open conversation about nutrition. I also like Michael Pollan and since buying his Food Rules 2 years ago (coinciding with starting my family) I’ve tried to keep his rules in mind and in the main try to avoid processed food and refined sugar. I like any dairy products to be organic. I also believe that if we can afford to indulge in luxuries like iPhones and holidays we can afford to eat free range eggs and meat.

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119 Alison February 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Anyone mention Nourishing Traditions? That book/diet shook up every belief I had about healthy eating and seems to do well with my family but…….every body is different so why should there be one prescribed diet. We are hoping to grow and raise most our own food and that seems healthy for body, soul and pocket book.

I also like the idea of moderation and have since adopted what I call “intuitive eating” which allows for treats when I need it!

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120 Amy February 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Hey design mom- I think you have to answer what it means to you!

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121 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

Hi Amy! I totally need to answer. I’m afraid I’ll need to write a whole separate blog post because I think my answer will be too lengthy!

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122 Sally February 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm

For three years I dabbled, but now I’m pretty consistent with a Paleo/Primal/Cave Eating template. I really like the way ChrisKresser.com is able to educate about this, especially for women trying to get pregnant, who are pregnant, and for young children. Also, the book Everyday Paleo is wonderful for cooking for young children, and picky husbands :-)

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123 Kate The Great February 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

For my family right now, healthy eating is a versus. Teddy Grahams versus The Good Cookies. It’s also “Well, At Least He Ate Something” during dinner and “We’re Going to Wait Until Lunch in 45 Minutes To Eat.” We try our best to find a fruit item just for Toby at the grocery store every week, and make sure we all have plenty of good cereal options.

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124 Sarah February 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

For me, healthy eating lately has meant having a healthier RELATIONSHIP with food. Not eating because I’m bored, or tired, or angry, etc. It’s more about recognizing when I’m actually hungry and what my body needs than just eating what I crave or what is my favorite food at the moment.

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125 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:33 am

“For me, healthy eating lately has meant having a healthier RELATIONSHIP with food.”

Glad you pointed that out, Sarah!

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126 Sarah February 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I really like this question. I think it’s interesting that the answer to what is healthy can be so evolving, but I feel like there are few things that are constant and those are what I’ve come to define as healthy:

real whole foods – as close to the original form as possible (lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
limited sugar – as far as treats go, homemade is always better!
ingredients that I recognize and can pronounce
very limited processed food

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127 Kristi February 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm

There’s a blog called wordofwisdomliving.com I’ve been following it for the last year and it has really helped me make sense of all the craziness that surrounds “healthy eating.” The author, Skip Hellewell, is really down to earth and his weekly Healthy Changes have had a huge impact in the way I feed my family.

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128 whitneyingram February 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

We follow the basic “do’s” of the Word of Wisdom. Little meat, lots of grains and vegetables and fruit. I think it was inspired way before it’s time.

And to cut down on the cost of our grocery bill, I don’t buy snacky things for our kids or convenience foods. It is cheaper to cook and bake from scratch. And it takes up less cupboard space.

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129 Jennifer February 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I stopped buying pre-made snacky things for the kids, too. And now, if she really wants a snack, my daughter will eat fruit! (Or baking or smoothie popsicles.)

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130 Mrs. LIAYF February 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Love the topic of what constitues “good food,” but am finding ironic the juxtaposition of the McD’s ad at the top of your blog with this topic . . . . but I digress.

We also love the “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much” mantra
We could never follow the no sugar mantra – we bake too much in our house and I would rather he have treats that I know I have made from organic ingredients.

Finally, one of our main mantras:
Avoid food that comes in a bag/box and has a toy.
We have NEVER strayed from this one and our son doesn’t even know what McD’s is or any other fast-food joint (although he does know Starbx – http://liayf.blogspot.com/2011/09/mermaid-spotting.html).

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131 Design Mom February 28, 2012 at 5:29 am

Hah! Are you really seeing McDonald’s ads? That IS ironic. Today, the ads showing up for me are for Serena & Lily. : )

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