Eating Using 80% Rule

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I think the way I eat has a lot to do with how I feel, especially as I get older. My body has never handled over eating very well, and less so now. If I over eat I feel bloated, and get tired almost immediately. My body is using all it's energy trying to digest food. I may get gas and even some gallbladder discomfort.

The hyperavailability of food in our culture makes it hard not to over eat and to eat too often. So our bodies are working almost nonstop trying to digest. Only at night does our digestive system get a break. I began to feel much better and have more energy when I fast for a small period as I outline below. My energy level also benefits when I remember to eat healthy portion sizes. Remember this is me, I am not advocating anything. I would suggest reading more about intermittent fasting, clean eating and talking to your doctor.

In my first post I gave you a typical day for me for meals. You can see it here. My rules for a healthy diet are;

1. Try to eat healthily 80% of the time. I know I will fail if I set a goal of perfection.

2. Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

3. Eat limited amounts of meats, dairy and rarely sugar or processed meats.

4. I limit my red wine intake to 4 to 6 ounces a day and rarely have any other alcohol.

5 I don't eat after 6 or 7 PM and then not again until 10 or 11 AM the next day. I do have black coffee when I wake up.

My No Recipe, recipes

I've had requests to share some of my recipes so I thought I would tell you how I have evolved to a more healthy cooking plan. I have always loved to cook and as a young cook I always thought I had to have a recipe to follow precisely. As life went by and I became more proficient I learned to modify almost every recipe I used to meet my specific tastes. What I have learned at this stage in my life is that a lot of recipes ask for unhealthy ingredients. How many of your favorite recipes use cheese, butter, milk, cream, red meats, etc? I have found the not using a recipe produces some really wonderful clean meals. 

As I have said before a couple of nights a week I will make cheese burgers or homemade pizza (still healthier than restaurant). But the rest of the week is dedicated to being good to my body and feeding it well. Here's some examples.

I always keep a bag of frozen organic skinless boneless chicken breasts in my freezer. Each afternoon I take out a couple to thaw for dinner. About 40 minutes out I lightly coat each side of the breasts with olive oil and then sprinkle on a little garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and cracked black pepper. I pop them in the toaster over to roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 mins. A regular oven works just fine.

While the chicken is cooking I throw together what I call a medley. Here are my three favorite options.

Option 1. I chop finely, a zucchini, a yellow squash, 1/3 red onion, a couple of tomatoes, and an avocado and toss in a bowl. I coat with the juice of one lime and some olive oil. I let it set to let the flavors blend while the chicken cooks. When the chicken is done I chop it up in small pieces. I am not a big meat lover so I limit mine to about 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards). Since my husband goes to the gym everyday and lifts weights I give him 4 to 5 ounces. I toss the chicken in and devour! Really, this is so good.

Option 2. I chop up some onion and mushrooms and saute them in a little olive oil. I add a can of chopped tomatoes, and a can of our favorite beans, usually Cannelloni and add little heat through red pepper flakes or even a jalapeno. When the chicken is done I chop up, dividing as above and add. Again this is the most delicious and clean meal!

Option 3. While the chicken is roasting I cook a cup of orzo in chicken broth. It takes ten minutes. I set it in a big bowl to cool. While the orzo is cooking I chop some onion and a red pepper and saute for a few minutes and then set aside to cool. When cooled a little I add it to the orzo. I then add chopped, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, Kalamata olives and avocado. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to coat. Lastly I add the chicken. This is my favorite. Not quite as clean but oh so good.

My point is, I could put something different together every night as long as I have vegetables and lean meat on hand. I can mix it up with any herbs and spices for variety.


I often hear friends say they know their diet affects their health, energy, and how they look but too many of them have thrown up their hands in response to the confusing and often contradictory reports of things that are good and bad for you and how they change sides every so often. (Has anyone kept track of how many times coffee crossed back and forth across the good-for-you/bad-for-you line?) The reason we feel this way has less to do with the scientific research and a lot to do with the abilities of the headline-seeking media that report on it. Scientific understanding about diet and health progresses slowly and is based on dozens or even hundreds of studies. When the headlines report that a vitamin is worthless or a food will reduce heart disease, it is almost always the case that the person reporting is taking a finding out of context which distorts its meaning. Even if they did a perfect job, the next study is likely to retract or modify those findings. In truth, there are diets that contribute to your overall health, energy, and appearance and there are diets that detract from these attributes. I will talk more about the stable part of what science has told us and how it can be put to work to benefit you in future posts.

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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!