You know, I’m realizing more and more how much diet affects our lives, especially when we’re fighting fibro or other chronic illnesses. I’ve been making some amazing healthy eating choices, but I still want to indulge occasionally in some of my faves, like french fries. What would that look like? I’ve been learning about the 80/20 rule in regard to eating. Let’s unpack that a little.
If you think about it, deciding never to eat sweets, fried foods, or any other indulgent food is unrealistic and unsustainable in the long term. That would mean never being able to celebrate birthdays with cake, splurge on ice cream, or have a few beers with the gang on a Friday night. The 80/20 rule says that when you do indulge, those foods should make up no more than 20 percent of your daily intake.
At least 80 percent of our diet should comprise healthier foods. Unprocessed, whole foods provide greater nutrition without the additives. The definition of “healthy” foods varies from person to person. My choices include wild-caught fish, grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and eggs, fresh or frozen veggies, fruit that’s in season and preferably organic (unless it has a skin to peel, like bananas or oranges), nuts and seeds, and grass-fed butter.
Everyone needs some wiggle room in their diet, thus the 20 percent leeway. There’s no need for perfection — that would be so boring! This flexibility gets rid of those guilty feelings. I think that once you begin making really healthy choices most of the time, your cravings will change. Most sweets are way too sweet for me now. I’d rather have some fresh fruit that’s in season.
Like most things in life, you do the best you can with nutrition. Eating the 80/20 way is not a diet, it’s a different way of looking at the food we consume. I think it makes me that much more excited to indulge a little bit. Prior to this, I would have eaten a lot of junk food rather mindlessly. Now I pay closer attention to what I choose to indulge in and when. I’m being more mindful of my eating.
Life is all about balance, and fighting a chronic illness makes finding balance so much more challenging. I think that making good choices where we’re able to can only benefit us, both in the short and long term. When possible, let food be your medicine.
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