I’m the Food Police. At least that is how many people view me. I can’t tell you how many times people have made explanations or excuses for the food choices they make in front of me. It’s cool, I’m not judging. I eat “bad” foods too. In fact, many people are surprised what they see me eating sometimes. It’s not all quinoa salads and green smoothies at my place. Can I tell you a secret? I eat doughnuts. I eat cake. I eat fried chicken. I eat pastries with my coffee. Like right now. Mmmm.

I love reading the blogs of other dietitians and nutritionists. They are so virtuous, what with their bountiful gardens, daily excursions to farmer’s markets, frequent forays into the kitchen to experiment with almond flour or the kale they just picked from their garden, and postings of recipes incorporating the latest superfoods. I want that to be me, I really do, but it’s just not.

I have a garden, but it’s small. Sometimes I forget to water it. Then it dies. I do go to our local Farmer’s market on Sundays. But some days my one-year old decides to nap through it, or we are out doing a family outing, or I’m simply too tired. I do try and experiment in the kitchen, but with a little guy tugging on my leg and the older one wanting to “help”, my focus is well, a bit off. And recipes? Well there is one area where I excel. In following, that is. I follow recipes to a “t.” My brain has little room for creativity these days. Creating recipes, well that is for another day. Maybe when the kids are in school? Besides, have you seen how long it has taken for me to get back to blogging? My goodness.

All I’m trying to say is that I’m not perfect. Yes, the Food Police is not perfect. When I tell people that I see their eyes roll right into the follow-up question. “Sure, but how do you stay so trim and in shape? I simply look at a doughnut and gain weight.” That’s where I bring up the 80/20 rule. Have you heard of it? The premise is you live healthy and virtuous 80% of the time. The other 20% is where you splurge a little. Have a piece of cake at a birthday party? Go for it. Have a few drinks with friends on a Saturday night? Why not. If you’ve been eating healthy all week and incorporating a decent amount of exercise, some indulgence here and there is perfectly fine.

Like I said, I do eat doughnuts. Every day? Heavens no. Maybe once or twice a month, and quality counts. Krispy Kreme, no way. Mighty O Vegan Donuts = YES. And cake? Yeah, again, like once a month at a get-together or if I get inspired (or coerced) to bake something at home. Pastries with my coffee? A little sweet with my coffee is sometimes nice, but I never eat the whole thing. I never forget about portion size.

The rest of the time I’m eating whole foods, a lot of it fresh from PCC (our local organic grocer) or the West Seattle farmer’s market. I’m drinking lots of water, and more recently I’m doing more green smoothies with coconut milk and eating a ton of fresh summer fruits. I’m also exercising, almost every day. I know exercise is a sticking point for many, but people, you have to move! You have to get that heart rate up and you have to sweat. There’s many ways to achieve this and I can offer recommendations for gyms, trainers, and methods, but exercise is vital. As I once overhead someone say, burpees can cover a multitude of sins.

I really hope this helps you see that many of us in the health industry are not perfect. We like to indulge and splurge as much as the next person. And we all have times in life, just like you, where we just can’t be as healthy as we aspire to be (kids/family obligations, job schedules, illness, etc). The key is to be as health-conscious as you can most of the time and let that other 20% go. It’s that easy.

Of course, if you need help with that pesky 80%, give me call. =)

Mama makes me delicious food.

About Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist