For most of my time on SP, I've been trying to figure out exactly what the best way to eat is. I've tried vegetarianism, veganism, low-carb, smoothies, all-natural... but I'm sick of it, and I've decided not to care anymore.
I've always told others who are trying to diet and/or get healthy (both on SP and in my personal life) that labeling food "bad" or "good" is detrimental to long-term success, and I do truly believe in that; however, I haven't *exactly* been the best at practicing that!
There are two very polar-opposite diets that I tend to follow (simultaneously, at times!): veganism (I love my almond milk, nutritional yeast, and kombucha!) and whole-foods (in the form of real butter, real cheese, organic free-range meat and eggs, etc.). Strange, right? When I'm not eating a home-made bean and seitan burrito with fresh salsa on a sprouted grain tortilla, I'm eating a free-range chicken breast on a bed of wild rice with a salad and home-baked rolls on the side. I make vegan smoothies for breakfast one day, but eat locally-source home-made ice cream for dessert the next.
When I eat meat, I feel guilty at first and feel weighed down by the meat. When I buy tempeh at the market, I realize how my money just disappears and how unsatisfying some of my meals can be.
It's a hard thing to balance.
So, I've decided to stop.
No games, no balancing act, no caring, no worry.
My goal is simpler now: eat real food. Period.
I never once in my life purchased butter (REAL butter) until about 5 months ago. Because of my hereditary high cholesterol, I never ate it and we never had it in our home growing up. We only bought skim milk, light cheese and salad dressings, light mayo, and I ate whole eggs maybe twice per year (even though I loved them, especially compared to Egg Beaters). Yet, even after all of that I still had crazy high cholesterol (about 270 to 290, total count). Well, even though we ate this stuff at home, we didn't eat like that out of the house. We frequently got fast food (especially Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Checkers) and nothing was off-limits when we went to nice restaurants - a full 8oz steak for 15-year-old me, topped with bleu cheese crumbles and dessert afterwards was perfectly fine.
It wasn't until I lost weight and got active that it went down to a slightly more manageable 237-ish, with my triglicerides, good cholesterol, and ratios in the ideal range (and just my bad and total numbers in the not-good range). With my blood pressure actually on the low side, my doctors aren't incredibly concerned. And, what's more, I had started eating real eggs, real yogurt, bacon, and real cheese (although I do prefer almond milk over dairy, for some reason). Shocking!!
Even though I've gained weight (about 10 pounds) and now eat real butter (on occasion), my cholesterol is still around 230-240 (I've had it checked twice in the past 6 months) and my blood pressure is still on the low side (usually around 100/55). So, what do I do?
I'm eating real butter, my personal favorite being cultured butter from Vermont. I'm buying delicious, real, locally-sourced cheese made from grass-eating, non-gmo, local cows. I'm eating at small, independently-owned restaurants.
I enjoy eating real food. If I don't know the ingredients, I don't eat it. It's so simple that way! It may mean that I eat a vegan protein shake for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, seitan chili for dinner, and ice cream for dessert... but it will be real, genuine, my-grandma-can-understand-the-