As a dietitian, I’m predisposed to certain comments like ‘oh you are the food police’, ‘Please don’t judge me. I know I shouldn’t be eating this’ and ‘I guess you would be eating something ‘healthy’ then’ etc etc etc. You’ve probably said this once or twice too FYI. I often get cornered questioned on the latest fad diet, should we be drinking kale smoothies & frequently, what diet do I follow?
So to celebrate my fellow food police all over the world this Dietitians Day, I’m going to show you what ‘diet’ I follow using a typical day from this week.
For breakfast I had some Chobani greek yoghurt with frozen blueberries, muesli & a sprinkle of chia seeds & a fair shake of cinnamon. I went for a long run & was still feeling a little peckish so with 5 minutes up my sleeve I spread a ryvita cracker with some natural crunchy peanut butter.
Honestly, my life is so much better with peanut butter.
I lunched on a sweet potato & caramelised onion frittata accompanied with some spinach, roast pumpkin, mushrooms, and a dollop of Beerenberg tomato chutney (this is my favourite supermarket chutney, by far). The frittata was based on a tortilla recipe in the March 2016 healthy food guide magazine, but I changed it more to suit my preferences by adding in some milk & a heap of roast pumpkin & baking it in the oven.
Over the course of the day I drank green tea, coffee, more coffee, snacked on roasted nuts, carrot sticks & a few milk chocolate coated blueberries.
For dinner I cooked a chicken & cashew nut stirfry. I went a little OTT in the vegetable department and filled my family with mushrooms, capsicum, cauliflower, chinese broccoli, orange carrots, purple carrots & baby corn spears. The sauce was a base of grated fresh ginger, honey & soy sauce, I cooked the cornflour dusted chicken in extra virgin olive oil and served it with 90 second microwave brown rice. That stuff is just so convenient.
After dinner, I opted for a bowl of Chobani greek yoghurt with some frozen fruit. There is a new combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and grapes at Coles which really delights me. Frozen grapes are like eating sorbet. I may have also had one of the last black cats in the cupboard. They are from a local confectionary store so top quality & really really tasty.
So to answer the question on what ‘diet’ do I follow?
Well, it’s not low carb. But maybe it is? I don’t know, I have not put it through a calorie counter or foodworks.
It’s got legumes in there (Peanuts are a legume fyi) and brown rice, so I guess it’s not paleo. Oh that ryvita was there too. And the muesli. I’m definitely not paleo, which at this point also eliminates the pegan diet.
Sugar free is out because those blueberries contains fructose, the milk & yoghurt contain lactose.
Oh well maybe it’s added sugar free? Nope I put honey in the stir fry sauce & there was likely some form of added sugar in those delicious chocolate covered blueberries. Even if they were made with rice malt syrup.
Gluten free is out too. Those ryvitas & muesli kill that idea. I haven’t even looked at the label of the cornflour, those blueberries or the soy sauce either.
The chicken cancels out the vegetarian diet, and the eggs and dairy product mean vegan is out.
I guess maybe it could be a mediterranean diet.
But really, what diet do I follow?
Although, I much prefer to call it an ‘eating pattern’ (because we all know what ‘diet’ really means).
It’s a collection of food, which doesn’t really have or even need a special label.
I’ve got the basics in there. Plant based and minimally processed. There is some lean meat, low-fat dairy & healthy fats.
It’s not overly complicated, not expensive & ryvita is probably the hardest thing to pronounce.
It’s balanced and no day is exactly the same.
Breakfast can be smoothie bowls or peanut butter and banana on toast.
The different food combinations I have for lunch and dinner are endless. Mexi-bowls, spaghetti bol, meat & vege, snack plates, roast vege salads, greens/pumpkin & hommus/avo on capeseed, stir-fries.
Some weekends are Melbourne food extravaganzas, others just the occasional smashed avo at the local love, a Saturday afternoon with the A team: Pinot Grigio, Mersey valley & shadows of blue, or just simply a whole lot of home-cooked goodness. Baked goods included.
I don’t feel restricted, and I don’t label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I choose foods for both nourishment and enjoyment, and I’m mostly in tune with my appetite and satiety signals. But yes, taste does sometime trump fullness.
The foods I choose keep me physically, socially and mentally healthy, and it’s sustainable for me.
My point: as I’ve said before, there is no one size fits all approach to nutrition. Know the basics & then the way you put it all together is up to you. There are many ways to eat healthy. This is mine. It may not be your perfect collection of food, but it works for me.
So maybe that does make it perfect?
Happy Dietitians Day!