January 22, 2012

Do You Vary Your Eating Routine?

Yep, that's the question for today--how often do you change up what you're eating?

In your "bad old days" that meant switching from burgers to fried chicken, right? I mean, even on the artificially-taste-enhanced SHAD (supposedly healthy American diet) you didn't always eat the same thing every day.

Now that you're buying and fixing/eating real whole foods, variety is even more important for several reasons:  
  • boredom is a great way to get tired of eating this way in the fastest possible time  
  • good nutrition is achieved by eating lots of different whole foods, each of which contains a different mix of things your body needs   
  • your hunger is both stimulated and satisfied by a mix of different foods   
Does that mean you have to eat different things at every meal, or every day? Of course not! If you imagine yourself back on the ancestral plain a successful hunt for meat would be cause for celebration and an initial feast of the choicest bits followed by carefully and thoroughly eating every last scrap of the critter. I assume as you got to the less-favored bits you threw in more and more plant-based tubers, leaves, etc. And if you were out of meat then the gathering of vegetables and fruits was pursued even more vigorously. In that natural environment, you ate a bunch of the particular greens, vegetables and fruits that happened to be tastiest at the time so your menu varied widely on a weekly or monthly basis. 

We're not trying to eat exactly as we really did back in those days--for one thing, I'd be the old granny everyone waved a sad goodbye to when the group had to move out to find food and left me behind because I couldn't keep up. :-))  

But we  can keep our "natural" way in mind and feel free to eat our fill of what sounds/looks good this week knowing that next week we may select a quite different mix. In my case, I find I have times when I eat a LOT of meat and fat but I also have times when I'm really, really hungry for vegetables and fruit and a modest serving of meat--or no meat at all--is fine. If we assume that you've been eating ancestral foods for at least 3 weeks now, your body should be giving you signals now about what is needed and I strongly recommend you follow them.

If you wake up some morning and want a huge meal of fruit and nothing else, go for it unless there's a medical reason not to such as blood sugar response; even if you have to be careful about fruit, just mix it with low-response foods or watch your portion sizes--have what you're hungry for. If you wake up hungry for bacon and eggs--or a slow-fried steak--enjoy and you probably won't want much if any food for the rest of the day. Or maybe you will be hungry, but for other things and that's great too. A lot of raw stuff for a few days followed by a few days of cooked-foods-only is just fine.

I've definitely noticed that my tastes change from week to week and if I allow myself a range of healthy menus I tend to lose weight a little faster even if it seems like I'm eating more. And the good response to variety includes SHAD meals occasionally as long as they don't include wheat. The best "weight loss formula" for me is that there is no set mix of foods to eat--if I always eat the same things I get bored and I stop losing weight.

Yesterday I ate 3 hard-shelled tacos with a few forkfuls each of rice and beans at a nearby cafe. When I got back home I added a few pieces of fruit and a chunk of fried pork rind (I buy large pieces rather than machine-cut products) to complete my daily menu because I was still hungry for those things. This morning, I woke up feeling very hungry and high-energy and that's my typical reaction as long as my splurge doesn't include wheat or manufactured food-like products. I've found the active appetite means my metabolism was stimulated by the food change. I can choose to eat more than usual, with probably no weight change, or I can eat wisely and lose a little more weight than usual this week.

You don't have to eat boring meals with no variety over time to be healthy or lose weight! Be creative, have fun and listen to what you're hungry for even if it doesn't fit a uniform "routine."


  1. I never change my food routine! I eat the same dinner (varying the fish... but usually salmon) nightly! It works, it's quick, it's delicious... I actually DONT like going out to eat because, I miss my own food! lol.

    1. Whatever works, right? I have stretches where I eat the same meals for weeks, but then I have stretches where I want quite different foods every day. As long as your aren't bored or restless, you're doing it right in my book!