Why I Don't Diet!
I’m often asked what my diet is and why I eat the way that I do. While I don’t really think anything of it anymore, I understand how hard it can be to know what to eat, especially with so many trends becoming popular every few months.
The reason I write this, or was sparked to talk about it, is because as I was making lunch today I realized that many people think I’m vegan. I get sent vegan recommendations all the time or restaurants to go to, juices to try, and food to make. People are actually quite amazed when I say that I’m not vegan. I also get unfollowed on Instagram if I post anything with animal products in it, which is interesting to me.
Throughout the years I’ve tried just about every diet; you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve done raw, been vegan, gone Paleo, restricted calories, counted calories but ate junk, only juiced, cut out salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, been on the South Beach Diet, Atkins, done the Master Cleanse, and just about everything else. I’m really not joking when I say I’ve done a lot of dieting.
And do you know what happened with all of those? I saw results, then went back to my “normal” way of eating and lost all my progress, and then some. The thing about dieting, or classifying the way you eat, can lead to many-a-problems. Now, I’m absolutely not here to bash any certain lifestyle or tell you that it’s wrong. Remember, I’m just sharing my experiences as to what has and has not worked for me when it comes to nutrition. I personally have a lot of respect for people that are vegan for ethical, health and environmental reasons. I also completely give props to someone who can maintain a lifestyle that is purely Paleo, raw, or anything in between. It takes dedication, passion, and being willing to forgo some habits you may have.
However, none of these worked for me and here’s why. I don’t like to classify myself as anything, nor do I want to restrict something for the rest of my life. Like all things on this planet, our bodies and minds are forever changing, growing, and adapting. Think to when you were a kid and hated anything green. Now, I’m pretty sure that you realize green foods are healthy for you and make an effort to eat them (at least once a day!). What a drastic change, right? The same goes for myself in that a lot of things I hated when I was growing up I cannot live without now. Therefore, I have decided that I don’t want to tell myself I cannot eat a certain “anything” forever. Because the truth is, we never really know what we will or won’t like in 5 years.
All I can say is that when I started my health journey, I ate a decent amount of meat, chicken, dairy, and not enough fruits. Over the years, by listening to my body, I have not wanted to eat the same foods as I used to. I can only eat meat once or twice a week and it absolutely has to be grass fed, organic, pastured, cage free, etc. in order to have it. I’ve learned that quality is FAR more important than quantity and that I would rather it eat these products far less, knowing that they don’t have antibiotics, chemicals and other nasties.
I have found that I naturally eat a plant-based diet and love it. I crave sweet potato, something I was always terrified of while modeling. I love quinoa, lentils, beans, vegetables, and fruits and have an obsession with dates. At the same time, I still drink alcohol, I occasionally eat meat, I enjoy pastured eggs, and enjoy quality cheese from time to time.
Does this make me a bad person? No! Just as your diet and what you do or don’t eat does not change the quality of who you are towards others, nor does it define if you can or cannot go to certain restaurants, hang out with certain people, or order certain meals. So, what would I say that I classify myself- if I have to answer? Plant based, and I eat clean. That’s all. It doesn’t mean anything more or less than that. The most important thing that I’ve learned throughout my journey (and what I hope that I can pass on to you) is that the only thing that truly matters is listening to your own body. Who cares if a famous celeb is promoting a certain diet? It doesn’t mean that it’s the best thing for your body or that you like that way of eating. What about all those trendy people on Instagram promoting their ways of eating? It’s totally fine to follow these people, just don’t let their message confuse who you are.
We are all so incredibly different. We live in different parts of the world, have different cultures and traditions, and enjoy different local foods. What I buy from the farmers market here in California is not going to be the same as what someone who is living in Russia during winter will be able to get.
My point about all of this is listen to your own body. Don’t get mad about what others eat and don’t try to push what you eat onto others. Make the best decisions for your body and listen to what it’s saying. That is the only real way to get rid of cravings, acne, have energy and enjoy what you eat. Now you understand why I don’t diet and what is more important when it comes to food and how you eat.
Remember, it’s more important to be enjoying your life, your food, and sharing meals with others, than it is to be eating blueberries and kale everyday alone.
PS- stay tuned for the recipe of my delicious vegan lunch tomorrow (as I mentioned, the reason I was sparked to write this).
Lots of love, Nikki xoxo