I’m a garbage guts. For real. I mean, I literally eat, basically everything.

Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration.  What I really mean is that I eat from every food group and I eat lots of things that people may think would be ‘off my list.’ I have bread most days – so its dense, dark, usually sourdough but I still eat it most days. Every SINGLE day without fail I start off my morning (usually after exercise) with a full fat milk cappuccino, mug size in a cafe. Considering we now live 200m from one of Brisbane’s best cafes, keeping this to 1 a day is an ongoing battle ;). I’ve also never followed a gluten free diet, and 2 or 3 nights a week you can count on me sitting down with my other half and having a red wine with dinner. It would be rare for a week to go past where I don’t consume a glass of sparkling wine and I just can’t help this. It’s genetic. It’s called the ‘champagne gene’ and it’s very active in my family.

I honestly love nothing more than eating out. Nothing is off the list – we love Indian, Thai, all kinds of Asian cuisine, Japanese, Seafood, the occasional good old fish and chips… you get the gist. It still surprises me when I am out for a meal with people I don’t know well and they say ‘oh you’re a nutritionist?’ They then look down at their plate like I’m going to judge them. Or worst, they sit there waiting for me to analyse the menu and pick  the least exciting, lowest calorie option out of them all. Hmmm, you can’t rely on me for this I’m afraid.

But seriously, interspersed with the ‘fuzzy bits’ is a lot of goodness. Cheap take-away just doesn’t do it for me, my entire pantry and fridge is all wholesome, fresh ingredients and I’d prepare 18 out of 21 meals a week myself. These are generally packed full of vegetables and herbs, really good quality protein and balanced with slow release, tasty carbs. My cooking style is fresh and fast, but tasty (well I like to think so anyway, Carl may not agree….).

So I’m telling you all of this because the culture around exclusion is starting to drive me a little loopy. I completely respect and acknowledge that in order to ‘reach a health goal’ or manage a condition, this degree of relaxation may not be possible. I also agree that many people have genuine intolerances (see our recent podcaston this topic) or may need to exclude dairy or gluten in particular because they react adversely. But, it’s still my belief and something I say to my clients that a healthy gut should be able to tolerate a wide variety of food from a wide variety of food groups without too many issues. Please don’t think that healthy and exclusion are the same thing or that they must go together.  Also remember that nutrition can be very individual and will vary from person to person. Just because your friend tells you, you shouldn’t be eating cheese (for example) doesn’t mean they are right. Again, what’s right for one person may not be right for you.

Thankfully, we are moving towards a more wholefoods focus and away from a processed food society. Seriously, simply basing your nutrition around mostly minimally processed foods would solve many people’s problems! Rather than always looking for that one, single evil that’s causing all of your ailments look at the whole overall picture. Heaps of people I see have convinced themselves that ‘potato’ must be the reason they can’t lose weight or that ‘the gluten in the Big Mac’ made them feel sick…. step back, look at the entire picture. Be in control of your nutrition and your health but also allow yourself to meat each meal with joy. The psychology of food and how we sit down to a meal is equally as important as what’s on the plate itself. Always come from a place of nourishment and peace, as opposed to abuse and guilt. Those 1 or 2 meals I eat a week that aren’t perfect, I really enjoy them. I’ve worked hard on not beating myself up about it and I’d love for everyone to experience this. Eating is such a joyous ritual, a beautiful opportunity to bring people together and not to mention a blessing to have access to more than we need. The ‘stress’ we are creating around food is perhaps causing just as much harm as making poor food choices.

If nothing else, I hope this blog post served to show you that no one is perfect. The instagram world of #glutenfree, #soyfree, #nutfree, #fatfree, #dairyfree, #wheatfree, #meatfree, #sugarfree, #flavourfree #fatfree ‘perfection’ (what are you eating, air???)  is in my view far as far from perfect as possible. Think of me next time you allow yourself a little indulgence and I hope you can enjoy it, be kind to yourself and move on to the next moment in time without delay.

Happy Friday :).

P.S. Pictured is the Ruben sandwich I ate from The Coffee Nook for lunch at the top of our new hood in Secam Street. Rachel and Michael here have been banging on about these for weeks and they are so right…. ammmmaaazzzziiinnnggg! A corned meat toastie on beautiful rye bread with strong cheeses and pickles…. are you salivating yet? It was absolutely divine!