The Ashley Diet

I’ve never been one of those people who believes there’s one ‘perfect’ diet out there that works for everyone. I know I talk about the benefits of a plant-based diet a lot, but that’s because it works for ME, right now. If paleo works for you, or being a pescatarian, or omnivore or whatever, that’s great!

The one thing that bugs me, though, is when people really try to push their diet on other people. It happens a lot within the vegan community, I’ve noticed. The majority of people I follow on Instagram are vegans, especially LFRVs, and some of the commenters on their posts are super pushy about how not only how veganism is the only way to eat, but that you can only eat high carb raw vegan, or eat no added oils, etc. And then, of course, there’s pressure from the Internet as well, like how sugar is a toxin and how salt is bad for you (oh, wait, maybe it isn’t) and all of this conflicting advice can make your head spin.

Well, guess what? You don’t have to listen to all of that. What foods make YOU feel your best? You don’t have to eat to fit within a certain label or category if that doesn’t work for you. For example, I eat local raw honey. A lot of strict vegans shun other vegans who eat honey. According to my nutrition class, honey IS technically vegan because it’s not a product of animal metabolism (such as cow’s milk) but rather a waste product of bees. I classify myself as a vegan, to make it easier to describe how I eat, but eating honey probably makes me a plant-based eater, rather than vegan. I honestly don’t care, because I like honey, and I believe it’s a lot more nutritious than the common vegan alternative, agave.

This bar has honey in it, but I still like it.

This bar has honey in it, but I still like it.

What else do I eat that other groups say is ‘bad’? I’m a big proponent of extra virgin coconut oil–after years of fearing the saturated fat in coconuts, I’ve finally seen the light and realized that coconut oil is one of the best oils to include in your diet. I also eat plenty of other plant-based fats, like nuts, seeds and avocados, that LFRVs would tell me is toxic and horrible for my digestion. Well, after eating a low fat diet for years in fear of fat of all kinds, I’m not going back to that way of eating again. Including a moderate amount of fats in my diet keeps me satiated, as well as keeping my skin and hair healthy. I use sea salt in moderation–I don’t generally buy many packaged foods, and those that are are fairly low in sodium anyway, so I don’t feel bad about adding salt to my homemade guacamole to amp up the flavor, along with spices. Some raw vegans completely eschew spices, even salt-free spices! I love my spices, and I think they can really add depth to a dish.

Roasted butternut squash and Hannah yam with plenty of spices.

Roasted butternut squash and Hannah yam with plenty of spices.

Don’t even get me started on the topic of sugar. I do believe that processed sugar has no place in our diets, but if you like to enjoy sugary desserts on occasion, go for it! When I want to satisfy my sweet tooth, I stick with more natural sugars, like dates, maple syrup and stevia. I eat at least 3-4 servings of fruit per day and I’m a total fruit lover–there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying fruit. I know most of the sugar I consume in a day comes through fruit but sometimes, a girl’s gotta have a Hail Merry raw tart sweetened with maple syrup–and that’s okay! Most of the ‘sweet’ food I consume is either naturally sweet (like fruit) or sweetened with stevia, so I definitely don’t feel bad when I choose to make a dessert with raw honey or maple syrup…or even when I indulge in a delicious vegan cupcake from a restaurant. The point is, consume sugar in moderation and choose more natural sources and you’ll be fine!

A chocolate peanut butter vegan cupcake from my favorite restaurant. This was naturally sweetened, but still amazing.

A chocolate peanut butter vegan cupcake from my favorite restaurant. This was naturally sweetened, but still amazing.

I also don’t feel the pressure to eat certain foods, or brands, unless I genuinely like them. For instance, I tried to get on the kabocha squash bandwagon…it just doesn’t do it for me! I much prefer butternut squash and yams, and that’s okay. I LOVE romaine lettuce and baby spinach and eat them daily, and I eat at least one banana a day (usually in the form of banana softserve) and I like pumpkin but I don’t put it in allthethings. I’ve never tried a Quest bar, and I don’t like oats and that’s okay! I have a slight obsession with Larabars and I go through dates and dried figs and raisins like it’s my job. I actually prefer kelp noodles to regular pasta, and I try to avoid wheat, but sometimes I just need a locally-sourced veggie-filled pizza from one of my favorite restaurants. I’m sketched out by kombucha and I include clean, plant-based protein powders (like Sunwarrior and Amazing Meal) in my regular food rotation even though they aren’t considered real food by lots of people.

I used to feel the need to fit in with bloggers, Instagrammers and the people around me in terms of what I ate. But now, I’ve finally found what works for me and I don’t really care what the newest food trend is. I eat the things that make me my healthiest and happiest, and I’ll let you eat what makes you happy and healthy. Don’t feel pressured to eat something just because so-and-so does, or to stop eating something because some article tells you it’s bad. Do your own research, figure out what works for you, and just eat. 

Do you conform to a certain diet or just eat what works for you? 


10 thoughts on “The Ashley Diet

  1. Raw honey is the bee’s knees ;] Ha, see what I did there? Someone had to do it. 100% the truth though. I recently developed an obsession with it when I discovered that my mum had it at her place. So good with everything…or even by itself! :] Banana soft serve? RIGHT THERE WITH YOU TOO. I discovered it on Pinterest and wow, changed my life!

    I have to agree with you though – I’ve found that {especially recently} a lot of people are pushing their diets/eating habits on me and I really, really don’t like it. I’m 99.9% sure I screwed up my metabolism a while ago and it is taking a while for it to bounce back to ‘normal’ so what would work for someone…probably won’t work for me. I don’t conform to one specific diet. I generally eat clean and vegetarian with a little bit of paleo sometimes. So a whole bunch of diets mish-mashed together and yeah, a lot of ‘strict’ followers of those diets call me out on it but hey, I do what works for me and not other people.

    Completely agree with everything you wrote in this post! :]

    • Haha completely agree with your first sentence 😉 And I really appreciate what you said about screwing up your metabolism, and how eating the way you do is helping you! I think a lot of ‘diet pushers’ don’t take into account people’s eating histories, etc. and everyone’s body really is different and requires different things. I also borrow from a lot of different diets and that’s what works for me as well, so it shouldn’t matter what anyone else likes or thinks is best, because they don’t know OUR bodies!

  2. I love this post! While I am one to sorta ‘push’ people in the direction of vegan, its more of a light nudge because I truly believe in the benefits of a vegan lifestyle (not diet. lifestyle) from an animal rights/environmental/social justice standpoint (as well as health, but those are my mains). But I try to focus more on getting people to be more aware of the impact their plates make! As far as specific diets, I agree there is no ‘perfect’ diet for everyone, because so much of it is emotional as well as nutrient based! Food should be enjoyable! I hate when people push their POV to the extreme on you (I call them righteous vegans (slash other diets)) -this summer I was having an awesome conversation about veganism with another vegan girl my age, when she asked “Are you a honey vegan?” I explained that, while I don’t go out of my way to eat honey, I don’t avoid it the same way I would avoid whey, and she started acting like she was a better vegan for not eating honey! I almost lashed back with “well, are you a palm oil vegan?”. buuuut decided to just agree to disagree.
    Wow this is becoming a long comment. Anyway, I love this and completely agree. I will go on eating my whole foods, plant based, unprocessed diet, but I will also go on with my cereals and lots of fruit and (fair trade)chocolate and the occasional cup of coffee. My extracts and condiments and cooking and baking will never leave. I like warm and cold and salty and sweet. The Lacey Diet is just one where (hopefully) nobody suffers. and thats whats important to me.

    • Oh, I completely agree and I do tend to promote veganism or at least plant-based eating because it is so beneficial in many ways, but it’s one thing to be motivating like you are in trying to bring awareness to the issue, and it’s totally not okay to be pushy. There are so many different variations on each diet, so it doesn’t make much sense to dispute the little issues–I’d rather see someone adopt veganism, but still eat honey, because they’re still doing so much good for themselves, the animals and the environment!

  3. P says:

    I was a vegetarian since birth, and way before it was considered “trendy”, so my reasons for being a vegetarian are more cultural/ethical rather than nutritional. That being said, the nutritional benefits of being a vegetarian are amazing. I watch ingredients as far as if they contain animal products (gelatin, animal fat, etc.) but not much other than that.

    • I really love when I find bloggers that have been vegetarian/vegan for longer than the trendiness of it has been around, because they’re the ones who are the most passionate about it for its various benefits!

  4. Aja says:

    I try diets but I just like eating what I want and trying to make it fit my macros and caloric needs (realized lately I still eat below 1000 a day! Trying to bring that up). I hate oats, too. i have tried so many different oatmeal recipes and I just can’t do it. Just eat what you want within reason and you’ll be fine I believe. I mean, you should eat healthy and I’m totally starting to believe in macro counting, but definitely don’t do the fad diets!

    • I feel the same as you regarding macros–I think they’re an important thing to keep in mind, especially for those trying to lose weight or gain muscle, but the one thing I hate about the macro counting trend is the ‘if it fits your macros’ thing. I think it’s an excuse to eat unhealthily. Personally, I eat as healthy as I possibly can all the time, and I think it’s fine if people want to indulge every once in awhile, but using the macros thing as an excuse to eat Pop-Tarts every day probably isn’t the best idea!

  5. Yes! Ahh this makes me so happy and I couldn’t agree more. Eat what you want and what makes you feel good and don’t judge others for doing the same. I think limiting ourselves to a specific diet label is just silly…what if I want something else tomorrow?

    So proud of you and how far you’ve come (:

  6. I love what you said about no longer feeling the need to conform to what others are eating and posting on social media, and rather just eating to make yourself feel good. That is exactly how I feel, and while it is easy to get caught in comparison traps, I have found that listening to my body is always the best way to go!

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