Late Friday morning last week I attended a session at Wanderlust led by Sarah Copeland.
Sarah is the Food Director of Real Simple magazine, a two-time cookbook author, food writer and Food Network veteran. More than a few of you requested more information about Sarah’s talk, “Have Your Cake And Your Vegetables Too,” and today I’m going to delve into my notes a bit and share some of the key takeaways.
The underlying theme of Sarah’s talk was focusing on how food makes you feel.
She reiterated this thought time and time again: “It’s not about what you should or should not eat. It’s about how and what you want to feel.”
(Sarah is a talented food stylist and the above picture is one of her beautiful images. I simply added the text.)
Sarah then asked us, “What would you do if you felt great every single day?” Her belief is that what we eat and where our food comes is so tightly interwoven with our emotions, wellbeing and attitude. If you felt fantastic all the time, what would that mean for you? What would that change?
She encouraged us to reflect on a time in our lives when we may have been sad or upset. Did food taste good? Did it taste like anything at all? She said that when she was going through a tough time even her favorite healthy foods lost their appeal. That’s when it’s time to focus on your power. You have the power to be happy and eat healthy. You control what you eat and this includes delicious, indulgent treats that we all should absolutely eat and enjoy eating. Reminding yourself how good you feel when you eat healthy foods can help guide you to make nutritious decisions. (And if you want to eat pizza with your friends or enjoy dessert on a date, do it!)
Focus on how you feel when you eat and after you’re done eating. Let your body help you understand the foods that make you feel best. They’re probably pretty darn healthy! Let this motivate you to choose good-for-you foods.
She said this statement again and again: “You are allowed to eat and enjoy anything!” Don’t view certain foods as “bad” or “off limits.” (Amen!)
If you think this fad diet or that fad diet is the key to your happiness or the answer to your problems, you will not find happiness or answers. Every single diet out there can dredge up research and come up with facts to support why it’s great. All of them! You can find reasons why you should follow every single diet, but if you’re looking for the “magic formula,” there simply isn’t one.
One thing no one can argue against? The power of plants. A diet that includes lots of vegetables and plants promotes health, plain and simple. Only 1.5 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
Sarah directed us to this food pyramid by Dr. Weil:
Sarah encourages us to choose colorful foods. Colorful foods (fruits and vegetables!) translates to nutrients. These foods feed our body with micronutrients that help fight off disease. They’re packed with vitamins and often make us feel great.
Sarah realized most people attending her talk likely already have an interest in healthy eating. She encouraged us to share our passion for healthy eating with others. Host a dinner party filled with healthy dishes to show friends and family members that eating healthy can taste delicious. Bring a healthy snack to work to share with coworkers. Start a blog. (Yay!) It’s fun to eat with other people and share meals together. There’s no reason these meals can’t be healthy if we are the ones in charge of the planning.
Sarah concluded her talk by sharing a few of her favorite books with everyone for continued reading and learning that I thought might interest some of you as well:
- We The Eaters by Ellen Gustafson
- Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
- What To Eat by Marion Nestle
- Farmacology by Daphne Miller, MD
- Disease Proof by David L. Katz, MD and Stacey Colino
- Eating In Color by Frances Largeman-Roth
*Thank you so much to Sarah and Wanderlust for such an interesting session!*
Questions of the Morning
- What foods make you feel best?