Healthy Eating Without a Label
Published Aug 27, 2018, Updated Aug 02, 2021
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I’ve been wanting to share a post like this for a while now and I finally took the time to put it into words and share.
So are you ready for a little heart to heart? I’ve been struggling with the idea of diet labels. There are so many labels thrown around in the health and wellness world… paleo, gluten-free, raw, vegan, vegetarian, keto, pegan (google it, it’s a thing).
I think labels can be really helpful in certain circumstances, especially for those with food allergies and for labeling menu items at a restaurant or recipes on a blog, but in general, I don’t think it’s necessary to label your diet in order to eat healthfully and at times it can feel a little too diet-y to me.
Of course, I totally support anyone who does label their diet and rocks it — you do you, girl. But for me, because I’m in the health world and have a health and wellness site focused on sharing recipes I think a lot of people expect me to label myself and/or my site. And I never really have.
Do I make vegan recipes? Yes. Do I make gluten-free recipes? Absolutely. Do I have recipes with meat? Yes. Do I make paleo recipes? Yes. Do I share dessert recipes? Yes.
I realize that if I picked one way of eating and only posted that style of recipe my blog would be more niche and likely grow faster, but I am hesitant to do so because I honestly don’t think that one style of eating is better than another (although I do think some styles are too restrictive) and my focus is to show that you don’t have to follow a specific diet or have a specific label to eat healthfully!
Healthy eating should be about eating a balanced diet with a variety of nutrient-dense whole, real foods. It should be about tuning into your body and eating what your body craves and what makes YOU feel good!
All this said, there have been periods of my life where I did label my diet. I considered myself a pescatarian for six years and at the time, that was great for me. I cut out gluten for two years and at that time I considered myself gluten-free, which also worked for me. As I got older though I realized my body was needing different foods, but I was so worried about starting to eat meat/gluten again because I’d be “breaking my label”, which defined me for so long. I literally ate chicken secretly for a while before I shared here on EBF that I had reintroduced meat because I was so worried what people would think. I was eating how I had labeled myself instead of listening to what my body really needed.
I also know that just because one way of eating works great for someone it doesn’t necessarily mean that eating that way will be best for me or anyone else. As a blogger in the food/health/wellness world I understand my influence and I want you to know that you don’t have to eat exactly like me to be healthy. Experiment and find what foods make you feel your best!
Today, I eat a wholesome diet focused on real food. I’m drawn toward plant-based options and feel my best when I eat a lot of vegetables. I eat a ton of salads and am mindful to load up half my plate with veggies. I use plant-based protein powder because that’s what feel best for me and whey protein powder seems to cause breakouts for me. But I also eat eggs, yogurt, fish and lean meat. Because I fall somewhere in the middle of all of the diet labels, I often gravitate toward the flexitarian title but I don’t use it to label my diet. I embrace “clean eating” and use the term often to describe how I eat but clean eating has so many definitions depending on who you’re talk to so again, I don’t use it to label my diet. And I personally hate the idea of labeling foods as clean or dirty, good or bad. If a food isn’t spoiled or hasn’t fallen on the floor, it’s not dirty!
Here’s the thing. I don’t feel like it’s necessary to put a label on the way I eat and I don’t think you should feel pressured to do so either. I eat foods that I enjoy, foods that make me feel good and sometimes I eat foods that aren’t considered “clean” or “healthy” and I think that’s great and part of a living a healthy, BALANCED life.
Here’s to healthy eating… without a label.