If you have been a long time reader of Lean, Clean, & Brie (heyyy! 🙋) then you have probably noticed a change in my blog, specifically the food that I eat and my exercise patterns. I used to try to find foods that were low in calories, low in fat, and even tried to cut carbs after mid-afternoon. I would try to workout 7 days a week and even if I was absolutely not in the mood to workout, I would force myself too. Was it healthy? Not really. Sure I may have ate “healthy” in some peoples terms or may have worked out a “healthy” amount to others, but looking back, it was a fast track to feeling bad about myself when I ate dessert or when I could not fit a workout in.
I talked last year about dealing with exercise guilt and am proud to share that I no longer feel any guilt when I do not exercise or when I get in a shorter or lower impact workout than was originally planned. I do what I can and I do it when I can, simple as that.
Now onto the food front, things have changed a lot since I first started Lean, Clean, & Brie and they have changed for the better. I was a committed Tone It Up girl when I first started the blog and while I still think TIU is a great program and has helped me in tremendous ways outside of learning to eat healthier and falling in love with exercise, ahem, self confidence, it is not for me anymore. I found the nutrition plan to be a little too restrictive for myself and decided it was time to let it go. Sure, I still look up recipes in the plan from time to time, but it is not a part of much of my life anymore. There were certain “rules” I did not agree with (cutting carbs after mid-afternoon, for example) and as I adopted race training more and more, my body was not getting the energy it needed from the nutrition plan.
Earlier this year, I started eating less meat, more whole foods, and not being afraid of eating more fats in my diet. I noticed that as I ate more whole foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was not as hungry during the day. I did not feel the need to snack as much as I did when I was on the TIU plan and felt more content after every meal.
Over the summer, I saw Shalane Flanagan (elite marathoner) announce that she was publishing a cookbook with her friend, Elyse Kopecky. It was a cookbook all about nourishing recipes for athletes. I was on the fence about buying it since I already have a ton of cookbooks that I very rarely cook from. But then I saw them on Good Morning America and they talked about how their cookbook was all recipes that were made from whole foods that would give runners the nourishment and fuel they needed. After they shared a few recipes from the cookbook, I immediately ordered the cookbook.
As soon as I got it, I cracked it open and have cooked recipes from it every week since I bought it. From the fartlek chili and soba noodle salad with runner’s high peanut sauce to the don’t get beet hummus and superhero muffins, I have cooked out of this cookbook way more than I have any other cookbook.
But it is weird calling it a cookbook – because to me, it is so much more. It is my approach towards eating put in a way that until buying this cookbook I could not put into words.
It is how Shalane and Elyse define their way of eating, and how I have come to define my way of eating. It is about fueling my hardworking body with my favorite whole foods, and indulging in those whole foods. I don’t count calories, I don’t count macros, I don’t obsess over the fat or carbs in the meals I eat. I am in tune with the foods my body loves and I have come to learn that my body thrives off of eating real foods. If you were to ask me how many calories I eat in a day or how many grams of fat are in a recipe that I make, I really could not tell you. Not out of ignorance, but I just really do not know and do not care to know. I do know that what I eat is real food that is going to fuel my body in the best way for my body.
This is exactly the approach that Run Fast Eat Slow takes and it is why this book means so much to me. It may seem silly that a cookbook could mean so much to me, but it finally put this new approach to eating that I have adopted into the words I could not.
Eating Real Foods
Yes – I still eat meat, and I eat bread, and I eat legumes, and other real foods. I do not eat meat every day, but I still eat it and include it in my meals on a regular basis, but focus more on vegetables. I saute in extra virgin olive oil, always have an avocado or two in the fridge, and cook with coconut milk — all things high in fat. But fat adds flavor to so many meals and has so many nutrients. Eating fats with other real foods allows you to absorb the vitamins and minerals in those foods that you otherwise would not be able to without the fats.
But let’s be real…
And as much as I eat real foods – local whenever possible – I still eat ice cream, I still eat chips, but do I do so every day? Heck no! The more I focus my diet on real foods, the less I crave these foods, but I still sometimes do and I am certainly not going to deprive myself of something that my body wants. I enjoy a bowl of ice cream here and there, I eat pizza when out with friends, but as soon as I go to eat my next meal, I am ready for a sweet potato, or kale, or a hummus. I don’t spiral out of control and eat every crappy food around, my body knows what it wants.
My body feels better than ever, I feel like I have more energy after every meal I eat (even with half marathon training at its peak…), and I am loving the foods I am eating. I sit down to my bowl of fartlek chili for lunch and am excited to dive into it, I don’t look around and see what everyone else is eating and wish I was eating that leftover piece of pizza or frozen lasagna. I am excited to get into the kitchen and cook meals using fresh ingredients that burst in flavor with every bite. It has taken a while for me to get to a point where I don’t look at the calorie count of a recipe or try to cut back on the amount of carbs in a recipe, but I did it and I feel better than ever about it. I indulge in the foods I love and nourish my body with real whole foods.
- I would love to hear your thoughts on “indulgent nourishment” and letting go of calorie counting and food restrictions!
Linking up with Thinking Out Loud!