I love food. I love learning about it, growing it, cooking it, eating it.
And while a lot of my food exploration has been in attempt to soothe or minimize the chronic inflammation of my guts since a teen, I have genuinely enjoyed the search.
At various times in my life, I’ve gone vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, paleo, gluten free, grain free. Ultimately, I found that I could happily and healthily eat in any of these ways, but I don’t generally choose to label my meal choices in that sense anymore.
Simply choosing one of these ‘diets’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee healthy food choices — you could consume nothing but cookies, soy products and candy and label yourself vegan, or you can live a gluten-free lifestyle eating just highly refined breads, ice cream and bacon! For me, the common thread in any of my gut-friendly diet exploration has been avoidance of processed foods (homemade as much as possible) and incorporation of more nutrient-dense (i.e. A LOT of vegetables) and traditionally fermented foods.
Ultimately, through these trials, what I’ve found is that it is a lot of FUN to try different ingredients and combinations of ingredients… by shifting certain aspects of your diet, you are often forced to introduce new alternatives – hellooooo experimentation!! A few years ago I didn’t know what aesafoteda, kefir, or teff were – Now, they are common household ingredients and my 3 year old son requests “more fennel” at the grocery store and my 5 year old daughter prefers sauerkraut over chocolate ice cream.
For the most part, our family aims to eat plant-based SLOW food (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole foods); however, we also enjoy bananas and mangoes (obviously NOT seasonal or local in Eastern Ontario); and, while I will choose organic over conventional as much as possible, sometimes organic just isn’t available. We compost like nobody’s business and every summer we grow a garden of fresh produce (nothing tastes better than homegrown!). We have a fantastic organic CSA service (community supported agriculture) and absolutely *love* going to Farmers’ Markets – for the fresh food and the uplifting atmosphere. Even when we travel, we always like to take in a morning at a local market to see the regional specialties and experience the local culture (it’s great for kids to learn where different foods are from and how they are grown, transported, prepared too!).
Another thing I have learned over the years is not to stress about every little food choice. I do my best to make healthy food choices (as many people do), but sometimes you just have to eat what is available and not worry.
We also try to make the majority of our meals at home, out of whole food ingredients (with as little processed ingredients, waste and packaging as possible). We eat a LOT of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, fermented foods, a variety of beans and grains, occasional eggs and sustainably sourced seafood, plus very small amounts of local grass-fed meat (about once every week or two), while avoiding wheat, sugar and dairy most of the time. We also eat (and often cook) together as a family. In no way do I intend to preach to anyone about the right or wrong way to eat – I simply feed my family the best way I know how and the way that brings us the most satisfaction.