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I grew up on white bread and processed American cheese. Candy and pastries were abundant in our home, thanks to my dad’s insatiable sweet tooth (thanks for passing that on Dad). I don’t remember eating many fresh veggies, but it could be that my picky eating habits prevented that.

You would have no idea by looking at our food now.

Changing from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to one based on whole foods has not been easy. In fact, I’ve heard it said that it is far easier to change a man’s religion than his diet. After seeing Ian fight some of the changes I’ve made, I’m inclined to agree.

But through gradual (okay, okay, sometimes extreme) changes, our diet is starting to look like I think it should:

No processed food – almost all of our food is made from scratch. I want to buy all food as close to its natural state as possible. After all, I want real food, not a science experiment.

Lots of fresh fruit & veggies – Eating plenty of fruit has never been a problem, but now I eat way more vegetables than ever before. I even add them to my smoothies.

Balanced – My aim is for 1/3 carbs, 1/3 fats and 1/3 protein. We’re getting closer to that by embracing fats like butter and coconut oil and shunning foods high in sugar. Since making this simple switch I’ve watched my weight melt off – and it hasn’t come back.

I’m not pointing this out to brag. I still crave processed foods from time to time – I just make a point of not keeping them in my house anymore. If it’s not here I’m much less likely to eat it. And if I do, I enjoy it and move on.

If I can make these changes, anyone can. And, more importantly, we need food rules; guidelines that we live by that put our health and nourishment at the forefront.

Because what we eat dictates how we feel and if we always feel like poo, then it’s hard to live a life that fulfills and inspires. I’ve seen this first hand since I’ve changed the way I eat.

For years, I’ve had an extremely itchy rash that would not go away no matter how many prescription creams I applied. I finally got rid of it by omitting certain foods (eggs, wheat, sugar).

(p.s. After years of guessing, this test helped me figure out that I can’t eat eggs – they were a daily staple for me).

My new food rules seem crazy to some a lot, but they make me feel better. I have headaches when I eat the stuff I shouldn’t. Stomach cramps make me double over in pain. Acne flairs up on my face. And that rash I mentioned is anything but attractive.

Call me crazy, but not feeling like that is way more important than Oreos.

But now, the question is, what food rules do we live by? This is a sticky subject because there are so many different opinions. One of my best friends is a vegetarian, while I veer more toward the Primal crowd (but even then, I still eat rice and corn sometimes). Some don’t even cook their food.

Are we all wrong? That’s debatable. Should we be intentional about what we eat? Absolutely.

And whether we eat meat or not, cook our food or eat it raw, I think that if we eat lots of fresh produce, healthy fats, minimal natural sweeteners and food as close to its natural state as possible, then we’re on the right track.

And I fervently believe that if you’re being that intentional about what you’re eating, then you should know why you’re eating it. If you switch to a Primal diet because I say it’s awesome, you’re missing the point. If you switch because you agree with the philosophy and the research available supporting said “diet”, then I’m happy.

I’m not here to tell you how to eat (though any recipes I post will probably be of a grain-free nature), I’m here to encourage you to be mindful about what you are eating and know why you are eating that way.

There are many facets to simple living and diet is just one of them. But it’s one that should be a top priority.