My Personal Eating Plan

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I think each person needs to figure out what works best for herself individually. A predetermined plan like Whole30 might make a good starting point if you’ve never worked out how food affects you, but your own long-term solution is going to have to be a customized, personalized lifestyle plan.

whole30 became a whole18 - whole30 dropout
personal food rules eating plan

My General Principles

  1. With rare exceptions, eat whole, real food – that is, foods that do not require unpronounceable ingredients or industrial manufacturing. Meats, plants, and dairy, and anything I can mix up in my kitchen with those building blocks, is a whole, real food. Some foods might be factory made, but it is a real food if it could be made at home, like sour cream, yogurt, flour (I do grind my own), sugar, coffee, tortillas, etc.
  2. If Ma Ingalls or Mrs. Wilder or Jane Austen or anyone else who lived before marketing was an industry made and ate a food item, then in my book it counts as a “traditional” food that is not strictly forbidden: this means doughnuts and ice cream and bread are not evil (only rare), eggs and meat and dairy products are essential, fermented beverages are a norm, and garden produce is standard fare. It also means that artificial sweeteners (including herbs processed to white powders or weird liquids), protein powders, juicing and eating coconut oil straight are bizarre modern fads.
  3. Read the fiction of any time period and you will find people saying they don’t eat this or that because of how it affects them. Everyone should have enough personal awareness to determine what affects them for good and for ill and make food choices accordingly. Experimenting with elimination diets can aid in this process, but shouldn’t be a way of life if it can be helped.
  4. If eating well, food should give you the energy and stamina and pleasure you need to face life boldly and bravely, not drag you down and wear you out. If you are pulled down by the food you eat, you need to change. Food should carry you through, not weigh you down. Remember that carrying around extra weight is just as fatiguing as carrying around that extra weight in a backpack. Losing excess weight will make you feel so much better: lighter, more energetic, and happier.
  5. I’m not terribly interested in any food that isn’t good and worth eating in its own right and not as an “almost as good” substitution. If a person who had no food restrictions would never choose to eat it, neither am I. This means I don’t care for artificial sweeteners (they don’t taste as good as the sugar they replace), bread-like concoctions that no one who eats wheat would ever consider eating (that’s all of them), or fake “healthy” desserts (or fake healthy “desserts”).
  6. If God calls it good in Scripture, I will not call it bad. This means God gave us bread, wine, milk, animals, honey, fruit and produce, and oils to “taste and see that the Lord, He is good.” He made these things delicious because He intended them to be eaten and enjoyed.

My Plan for Protein

Protein is essential.

Protein is made up of amino acids, and the hormones that govern our energy, mood, and overall health are made with amino acids. Every meal should contain plenty of protein (15-25g) for stamina and general wellbeing. It is very difficult to get the essential amino acids and adequate protein in a vegetarian diet. For me, personally, I respond to beans the same as starches, so they do not count as a protein in my diet. I require eggs, meat, and cheese: concentrated, fatty, animal proteins. The more of these I eat, the better I feel.

My Plan for Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables are mandatory.

Vegetables contain a variety of essential nutrients that cannot be found in any other source. They add variety, crunch, and natural sweetness (even many vegetables) to every meal (except breakfast for me, because I just have not been able to enjoy them at breakfast).

My Plan for Starches

Starch should only be consumed in proportion to energy expended and the strength of one’s individual metabolism.

Starches are for quick energy. The only people who should eat generous portions of starches are people expending a lot of energy, performing very physical labor. That is not me. I should particularly avoid starches at the end of the day (during dinner), since I expend hardly any energy afterwards – that means dinner starches will be stored, not used. If I indulge in a starch, it should be in the early afternoon to help me overcome my natural late afternoon energy lull.

I also need to include exercise to keep up my metabolism and allow me to sometimes eat a roll when they are fresh out of the oven or some other worth-it baked good.

My Plan for Sugar

Sugar is an addictive but delicious substance like coffee and wine and tobacco, and should be consumed in careful moderation like coffee and wine.

I do not have a metabolism that allows me to eat sugar without effect. Therefore, I do not take sugar in my coffee or tea, add sugar or honey or syrup to any food. Sugar after dinner keeps me awake and overindulging in sugar makes my face break out.

I do, however, love a glass of wine in the evening, which is another form of concentrated sugars. Therefore, I must regularly exercise if I am to indulge in wine a couple times a week.

My Plan for Fats

Healthy fats are required and unhealthy fats should be eliminated.

Butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and animal fats (bacon, tallow, etc.) are a positive thing to cook with. Margarine, vegetable oil, and Crisco are unhealthy and should be avoided.

What This Looks Like

  • Breakfast: I eat 3 eggs fried or scrambled in butter or bacon fat. I drink coffee with half and half.
  • Lunch: I have a large salad with protein (leftover meat or cheese).
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with frozen berries.
  • Dinner: I skip the starch at dinner. I try to make both a salad and a vegetable to accompany the main dish.
  • Evenings: I do not eat after dinner. I might have a glass of wine up to twice a week.
  • Other: Sundays are the only days I have dessert.
What are some of your food rules?

12 Responses

  1. Shawn Heeney
    | Reply

    I love this post. It is where I am at with my eating habits. By trial and error, this is what I have learned and have landed. You have put it into print, where I would ramble on and on. I have tried many eating “trends’ in my walk to become more healthy. It all comes down to what my body needs and what I can do to eat “real” foods. Not all these rules and restrictions. Which only stresses me out and defeats the overall outcome. Thank you for the post.

  2. Gary Paulson
    | Reply

    My only comment would be that fruits and vegetables should not be in the same category. 5 servings of fruit per day is much different than 5 servings of vegetables.
    Fruits are more like the starches of the plant world. :)

  3. Clare
    | Reply

    This is a great post, and sounds very wise and moderate. I am working on a menu plan at the moment (with help from Simplified Dinners!) and will definitely be taking on board some of the points like less starch in the evenings. Thanks Mystie.

  4. Willa
    | Reply

    In response to your post, I blogged about how I am doing a modified version of Whole30:

    January Personal Eating Plan

    Hope the html comes through all right : ).

  5. Brandy Vencel
    | Reply

    I can’t tell you how much I ♥ this post!

    You are so sensible.

  6. Sonia
    | Reply

    Great post! I often wonder about this stuff. I can’t decide what place bread should have in our lives. As far as the Ingalls family, I’d always had the impression that their diet contained lots of beans and bread/biscuits/pancakes/etc. Maybe I’m not remembering that right.
    How much moderation do you use with healthy fats?

  7. Lisa V in BC
    | Reply

    Hi Mystie. I really appreciate your posts!

    I have travelled a long nutrition road (Suzanne Somers, Atkins, WAPF, GAPS… – both with a lower carb focus, ie. hardly any fruit) and we just quit the GAPS diet (which everybody but me hated) and have taken on Matt Stone’s eating principles – which are all about raising your metabolism to the point where you can eat whatever you are not truly allergic to whenever you want with the goal of listening to your body and eating warm/cool foods based on metabolism indicators. He recommends tracking your temperatures with a cheap Vicks thermometer and eating warming foods if your temp is below 98 (which is an optimal temp showing your metabolism is good) and avoiding cooling foods that would lower your body temp until you can consistently keep your temp up.

    He can be very crass (not always, but a comment or two might or might not be included in anything he writes) so if you can’t stomach his vocabulary or insinuations, he might be hard to take, but I do believe that God can speak to us despite the messenger and I have been extremely blessed in just the two weeks that I’ve been following Matt’s recommendations. Our family is enjoying food again and despite eating tons of sugar, starches & white flour (my main diet as I try to get my metabolism revved up and to the point it stays revved up without worrying about what I’m eating) I have only gained about 5 lbs – which sounds like alot, but I actually look the pretty much the same as before I started and better in a few areas.

    Aside from the scale, I have seen these improvements: my mood – I could not understand why I couldn’t control my frustrations/irritations and loud voice while instructing/disciplining my kids despite praying for years to change, I’m still not perfect, but everybody is happier :) my hands and heels have been dry forever and I’ve suffered from eczema on my hands every winter for years. This improved with natural soap and from GAPS, but my fingertips were never very “moist” now they are not dry looking at all and feel very soft. My hair is so much softer and is not breaking everytime I put my hands through it – I would pull handfuls out every. time.

    Sorry for the novel, just wanted to share what’s working for me right now as you mentioned your metabolism not being able to handle starches or sugars – I didn’t think mine could either :) I know I will have to work on losing some weight once my metabolism is revved up, but it should be much easier and enjoyable at that time :)

    Blessings,
    Lisa V in BC

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      That’s really interesting, Lisa! Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely look into that. I used to be always warmer than everyone else, but the last few years I’ve been cooler, and my temperature, when we’ve been taking them while sick last month, were always in the 97.

      • Lisa V in BC
        | Reply

        I have found it fascinating paying attention to how my temperature, as well as the warmth of my hands and feet have responded to what foods I eat. Didn’t realize it til now, but I would quite often wear a sweatshirt in the house and my oldest just commented on how he thought I was “nuts” (I don’t think that was the word he said, but I do think he was thinking it lol :) for needing a sweater when he’s wearing a t-shirt – he’s thin as a rail!

        I think the GAPS diet was good for re-setting our guts, but I’m so thankful now that we’re done and we’re trying something else that is making everybody so much happier :)

        Don’t buy Matt’s books unless you absolutely can’t wait to read everything you can possibly get your hands on lol. If you sign up for his newsletter at his website http://180degreehealth.com/ he sends you his 30 day metabolism e-course for free – one newsletter every couple of days. If you’re interested, you could email me and I can forward you the ones I already have and then send them to you as I get them so you don’t have to wait for them – at the bottom of each newsletter Matt includes a note saying they can be forwarded to whoever you want to forward them to, so he’s totally fine with that sort of thing.

        He also is giving away a free book every day in February – his vegetarianism one is free for a few days still (I find each of his books helpful even if they don’t completely apply to me – not vegetarian and never will be :) as there is slightly different info in each one and I found it helpful to get some ideas for keeping temp high while eating veggies & fruits as they have a high water volume and tend to lower temps – aka cooling foods) Note that it is one of his ruder books that I’ve read so far, mainly in the beginning chapter – the rest of the book I didn’t find as offensive.

        I really appreciated his Food Ninja books as after reading Diet Recovery 2 I was confused as to how to apply his stuff to kids – ie. does everything he writes about adults apply to kids? So, Food Ninja is all about how to feed your kids so they’ll have healthy metabolisms and be able to enjoy their food without obsessing over it. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much (if any) rude stuff in here!

        A couple other sites I have found helpful are “The Nourished Life” at http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2012/05/sugar-prisoner-of-war# (this is an article on sugar that I found very interesting) She blogs about metabolism in a very respectable manner :)

        Eat More 2 Weigh Less has good info as well as many videos about upping calories to lose the weight – they talk a little about metabolism but I think many of the ladies there are coming from a background of restricting calories and excessive exercising so they may have to re-set metabolism as well, but I had to search a bit to find info to help me coming from my low-carb background. These pages: http://eatmore2weighless.com/one-year-61-pounds-15-bodyfat-later/ and http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/ are two of my favourite transformation stories there – really inspired me to look into heavy lifting when I’m confident my metabolism can handle it. EM2WL also has a message board that’s similar to the Ambleside board in it’s setup (which I love since it’s so easy to find stuff :)

        And lastly, I find My Fitness Pal to be really helpful (when I make the time to log my food :) mainly because I have never tracked my nutrition facts and certainly never counted calories, so I had no idea how many calories I was actually consuming. This site lets you look up foods other people have entered or enter your own nutrition facts for foods that aren’t already listed (and if you try to enter one that you couldn’t find, they’ll let you know if there’s one in the database that could be what you’re looking for.) You can even enter recipes and it’ll calculate the nutrition facts for you. It’s really cool and although I’ve only logged in a couple days worth, it’s given me an idea of where I am and let me know I’m on track for eating enough calories. That website is: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

        I just started with a goal of 3000 calories (taken straight from a calculation that Matt did in one of his books based on a healthy weight of 150 which is probably pretty accurate for me – although much higher than I ever would have said was healthy several years ago!) and my main objective was to figure out how much of each macronutrient (carb/fat/protein) I needed to eat in order to have a 40/40/20 ratio – which I think is a good ratio for me right now since I’m not exercising at all right now – but still not positive, so don’t take my word for it that that’s good for you :)

        Anyway, hope that is helpful and let me know if you want me to email you the newsletters…

        Blessings,
        Lisa V in BC

      • Lisa V in BC
        | Reply

        Oh, one more thing about Matt’s books – he has already given “Diet Recovery 2” and “Food Ninja” kindle books away for free this month, so I doubt they’ll become available again this month, but I know he frequently just makes one or another free on the spur of the

  8. Lisa V in BC
    | Reply

    oh, sorry, my computer froze… anyway, Matt quite often gives his books away, so I’m sure those two will be free again sometime (and if you can’t wait, they’re only about $3.00/kindle book)

    “Eat for Heat” has not been given yet, so I’m hoping that will be next, but there’s also the paleo one so not sure which one will be first (assuming they’ll all be given at some point this month…)

    Lisa

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