Hope you’re all well. With any luck, I’ll be sitting on the beach by the time you read this post, allowing my ghoulish limbs to soak up some much needed sun.
Today’s guest blogger is, I daresay, a lady with whom most of you are fondly familiar. Heather — known to me as HEABs — is the cheery and compassionate voice behind Heather Eats Almond Butter, a blog that focuses on “balancing wholesome nutrition with sensible exercise.” I can think of very few people who embody that balanced motto better than Heather. Why? Well, part of it is her refusal to mortify her own body with a self-imposed regimen of rigorous fitness that doesn’t give her joy. Part of it is her unique ingenuity when it comes to making plant based foods that are both nourishing and decadent. Part of it is her enthusiasm for yoga. Part of it is the fact that she is also in the healthy fat fan club.
Most of it, though, is because Heather knows how to listen to her own body. Few capacities, I think, are more salient than this one when it comes to living a healthy life. I’ve said it before, and I shall say it until I’m blue in the face: there is no “diet plan” that suits all of us. Some of us do well with more protein, and less carbs; some of us need carbs in order to feel energized. Some of us feel our best eating nearly all raw foods; others need more cooked. Some of us (like my macrobiotic pals) can eat relatively low fat diets; others need fats in order to feel well. Some of us can eat fruit nearly all day, and feel our best; others are highly sensitive to fructose. There is no rule; there are only different bodies.
You guys pretty much know by now how I like to eat: tons of veggies, nuts, and seeds, most of ‘em raw; whole grains and beans, most of ‘em cooked; simple combinations of foods; lots of healthy fats; juices for energy; biggest meal at night; more savory than sweet. These are the general habits that tend to make me feel my best; they’re not necessarily for everyone, but they’ve always been just right for me. And in spite of the fact that Heather and I eat differently in many ways — namely, she’s omnivorous, and I’m vegan — we overlap in many ways, too. We both think fats are mui importante. We’re both veggie lovers. We both like to play with avocados and root veggies. And we both believe that exercise should be more pleasure than pain.
Most of all, Heather and I both believe that bodies are unique and varied, and that nutrition should be equally so. Welcome, Heather, to CR!!
First off, many thank to Gena for allowing me to guest post here at Choosing Raw. I remember when Gena first emailed me about her new blog, and I’ve been a fan ever since. We don’t always eat the same foods, but I’ve always admired how Gena fuels her body, and she is such a talented and gifted writer. So, thanks again Gena for inviting me to guest post on your amazing blog. I’m honored.
For those of you that don’t me, my name is Heather, and my blog is Heather Eats Almond Butter, or HEAB for short. About two and a half years ago, I discovered food and fitness blogs, but I became frustrated when I could not find many written by women who had lost an extreme amount of weight through diet and exercise alone. Ten years ago, I lost 100+ pounds by changing my eating and fitness habits, and I decided to share my story with others through my blog. I wanted people to know that it is truly possible to lose a large amount of weight and keep it off and therefore, HEAB was born.
So, how does one lose weight? Well, You simply have to figure out what works for you. Guess what? There is no perfect diet out there. People often ask me if I’m ever going to write a book about my weight loss, but honestly, I would never want to say my way of eating is the only way to lose weight because what worked for me may not work for everyone. For example, many people lose weight when they incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet. Vegetables work for me, but fruit doesn’t. It’s too high in natural sugars and goes straight to my belly. Yes, I still eat it, but I limit my intake to 1 or 2 servings a day. Others believe you have to drastically cut your carb intake to lose weight. Nope, not for me, but I do have to watch what kind of carbs I eat. Complex carbs are fine: oats, sprouted grain breads, and root vegetables are no problem. However, hand me a piece of good old fashioned cake with ice-cream, and again, straight to the belly. The plan that worked for me and still does, includes plenty of fat along with some carbs and protein and little to no sugar. Fat makes up about 50% of my daily caloric intake, and since I eat meat and eggs, I never worry about getting enough protein. I eat carbs when I want them, but again, fat is my macronutrient of choice. So, that’s it. That’s what works for me, and I encourage all of you to find what works for you.
My only words of advice, and I know Gena will back me up on this is don’t skimp on the fat. So many of you continue to fear it but don’t! Our bodies need it to function. In fact, I did a little fat intake experiment of my own. Back in November, I decided to try a diet higher in protein. However, I made the mistake of constantly choosing lean proteins, think egg whites over whole eggs, and lean chicken breasts, etc. Look at my hands when I cut back on my fat intake…they were so cracked and dry.
After a couple of months, I decided the high lean protein thing wasn’t working for me, and went back to my usual way of eating. Check out my hands after adding more fat back into my diet…much better and no more dry cracked bleeding knuckles!
Again, our bodies need fat, and they will tell us when we’re not getting enough. I’m not saying that my way of eating will work for you, but I do encourage you all to listen to your body. What is it asking for? That is they key to losing the weight – giving our bodies just what they need and listening, listening, listening.
Now, before I go, and in honor of Gena’s high raw vegan lifestyle, I’ll leave you with a picture of my favorite raw dessert, my wedding cake…
My body does not like white flour and sugar, and so I try to stay away from it whenever I can. For my wedding, I thought, why feed my guests something that I never even eat? So, I didn’t. We had a local raw chef make this cake, and everyone agreed it tasted amazing. It consisted of layers of fresh fruit, pressed dried fruit, and cashew cream frosting. The outside was decorated with slivered almonds and edible flowers. 100% HEAB, 100% perfect.
Please don’t hesitate to email me at heather(at)heathereatsalmondbutter.com if you have any questions. Again, I started blogging to share my story and to help others, and I’m always just an email away. Thanks again Gena, and I hope you’re having a blast in Florida!