It's true! You can most certainly eat anything you want if you just follow a few simple instructions. I have been doing it for over 10 years now (and I'm only 21) and I never gain weight, never get "junk food cravings", and I always obtain the proper amounts of nutrients in my diet. I know this because I often am required to track the nutrient content of my diet, using specialized programs in school (I study nutrition). The best part of the entire "diet" is that I am completely vegan and the funniest part is that as much as I am harassed about getting enough protein, I actually consume more protein than my meat eating peers!
I have been able to achieve all of this by eating a varied, whole foods diet! You must notice two key parts here: varied and whole foods. By eating a varied diet, which means not consuming the same foods day in and day out, you are essentially insuring that whatever nutrients you are missing in one food, will be compensated for in another. By nutrients, I am referring to (vitamins, minerals, fat, protein and carbohydrates), there is no need to focus on the individual nutrients as they are all covered when eating varied, whole foods.
By whole foods, I am referring to foods that are in an unprocessed, or processed as little as possible. There are some foods that are not technically whole, but are considered whole foods because their processing does not effect their nutrient quality. In some cases it may even improve nutrient quality such as canned tomatoes, tempeh, and soy milk. It has never been easier to consume and purchase whole foods as it is today. Even whole foods are packaged in ways that make them convenient for anyone.
I have blogged on this subject before, because it is one of the most important eating concepts that so few people understand. I constantly hear people talk about not being able to eat certain foods because they have too much fat, not enough protein, or whatever other excuses the media gives them to base their food decision on. This is going to sound odd coming from someone with a nutrition background, but if it's a whole food, IGNORE THE FOOD LABEL. If it is a whole food, this information does not concern you!
You can read my earlier post as to why processed food are not good for your body or our environment, but the main point here is to get started and get educated. It doesn't have to happen over night. Each shopping trip you make, try to pick out 2 or 3 whole foods you have never considered before. I do not even use recipes, everything is good with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Make up your own recipes by just combining foods you like to create healthy versions of those processed foods that so many of you enjoy.
Another tip, buy a spice book to use as a reference. When you know how to properly match spices with ingredients, taste will never be an issue. One more tip, learn to cook. It's not hard and I assure you anyone can do it. Just watch some shows on the food network, you will learn a lot if you know nothing about cooking. Also, never use the excuse that you do not have enough time. I work two jobs, do an internship and go to school full-time, yet I have plenty of time to prepare healthy meals from scratch for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
The only time you really need to track your nutrient intake is when you are suffering from a specific medical condition which requires you to avoid or obtain specific nutrients. Also, for vegans and vegetarians, you must find a way to get your B12. That is the only time I will ever tell you to pinpoint a specific nutrient! Get educated, eat healthy and please share your whole foods stories and ideas, so I can share them in a future blog. Until next time.