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? 

 

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TMI Tuesday

Nothing like a TMI post to really draw in readers, amiright? All kidding aside, I think these kinds of posts are always fun to read and I wanted to get a little more personal with everyone but in a more lighthearted way.

Growing Up With Big Boobs: When I saw this article on Huffington Post, I was intrigued as a lifetime member of the A Cup Club (not a thing, but I wish it was!) It’s interesting seeing the other side of the story, and it makes me sympathize with the larger-chested ladies a little more. The thing is, I’ve kinda grown to love my 32A’s. I feel like they fit my frame, and I love being able to wear strapless tops and low cut bikinis without worrying about spilling out. I’m not gonna lie, I would like to have B cups and a little cleavage, but I can’t complain too much…especially because I don’t have to wear a sports bra while working out! Side note: after reading that article, I found one for all my fellow small-chested ladies out there…check that one out here.

Having a Sore Throat for 12+ Days: Remember when I tweeted about this, on oh, October 13? Yeah, I actually started feeling sick around the 6th, and my sore throat didn’t completely go away until the 18th. I’ve been getting sore throats more frequently than any other kind of illness, but I’ve never had one that lasted almost 2 weeks and was severe the entire time. The pain got to be almost unbearable at night, and I was finally considering going to the health center on campus to get it checked out but luckily I didn’t have to because it resolved itself. I still don’t know what caused it, but I had no other symptoms of a cold, so it was really bizarre.

10 Things You Probably Don’t Want to Share: This makes me even more OCD about my personal items. I rarely share personal hygiene things anyway, except with my sister or mom, but now I’m really grossed out.

Obviously makeup is on the no-share list.

Obviously makeup is on the no-share list.

6 Gross Things People Do for Their HealthEven though a lot of these things sound questionable, they may be cultural traditions and hey, if it works, more power to ya if you wanna try it!

CrossFit’s Dirty Little SecretI’m not a Crossfitter, but I know a lot of people both outside and inside the blog world that are, and this article points out a scary issue that can happen with intense training, as in CrossFit. The ironic part is that rhabdomyolysis usually happens to the very fit–which just goes to show that rest days are extremely important (something I’m continually reminding myself!)

Silly cartoon, serious health issue.

Silly cartoon, serious health issue.

What’s your TMI to share this Tuesday?