Diane's Current Nutrition Philosophy | Balanced Bites, Diane Sanfilippo

Diane’s Current Nutrition Philosophy

Diane Sanfilippo Lifestyle & Mindset, Real Food 101 22 Comments

There was a time when I couldn’t go a few hours between meals without a major blood sugar crash. Then there were many years when I stopped eating grains all together, I even remember (some of you may, too) thinking “oats are just horse food.” Sigh.

There are truly only a handful of things about nutrition I still wholeheartedly stand by and will probably never let go of:

1) animal foods are critical to optimal human health (whether or not you eat dairy is personal to your gut/tolerance)- they also help the planet/soil remain healthy when raised properly and in a decentralized way.

2) whole foods are to be centered versus those that are refined – and if you eat something that is refined, you’re not a bad person.

3) reducing sugar intake is a good idea, and balancing how much of it you eat with your activity level is likely ideal.

4) avoiding poor quality fats (like canola, soybean, and other inflammatory, RBD oils – google it) whenever possible, especially at home, is something everyone can do regardless of dietary choices otherwise. They don’t need to be organic / grass-fed to be better choices.

5) you must find a balance of what you enjoy among what is as healthful as possible. If you don’t enjoy your food and your life (!!!), a *perfect* diet will not do all you think it *should* do.

Once I balanced my blood sugar, more foods found their way back to my plate. I can eat meat and veggies for a meal and be happy. I don’t fear healthy fats. I can also enjoy some granola – homemade or one like this from Nana Joes Granola with high quality ingredients and not experience a spike-and-crash. I can incorporate the dairy I’ve found that works for me. This is goat yogurt – cow yogurt is still not something my body can tolerate (painful acne!).

I didn’t plan for my sharing of this bowl of yogurt and granola (with fresh passion fruit and some The Date Lady syrup on top) to be a big nutrition declaration- and this isn’t really the whole of my approach, but I did want to contextualize it.

Let me know below – what's the number one nutritional belief that you stand by?

Comments 22

  1. Interesting points! My number one nutritional belief is that homemade, made from scratch food is the healthiest for me, and I feel best when I eat almost exclusively that way. I bake, but mostly GF and always with high quality ingredients. I once heard that you can cut the sugar (in a “mainstream” recipe) by 1/3 and it will turn out fine. It’s true!If I do use wheat flour (rarely) it is organic.
    I’ve had to do a lot of work to learn how to cook, sometimes now my food is so delicious I can’t believe I actually made it, and I wonder why I can’t get food this good in most restaurants. Also, fresh local produce is the way to go. I recently moved and don’t have a good health food store near me, and the fabulous farmers market is temporarily closed. When I have to buy produce at the grocery store I am disappointed. Thank you for all the work you do and the information you share!

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      Agree! I think baked goods made from better ingredients (especially avoiding canola/soybean oil) truly are a better option than the others. I don’t love when people think “cake is cake.” It isn’t. What it’s made of matters!

  2. Thank you, Diane for sharing! I’m currently dealing with MCAS, high oxalates and Candida. Finding a balance while healing has been rough but I look forward to the day I can finally make peace with my plate and find that perfect formula for my body!

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      I hear you, Amy! I know my good friend Caitlin (@grassfedgirl on IG) has done well with carnivore for a time – it may be therapeutic for you. I think it’s worth testing then reintroducing things slowly perhaps!

      Thanks for the note.
      Diane 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing. I know you’ve always said you’d be gluten free do you still feel the same about that? Just curious. I’ve pretty much landed where you are as well 🙂 Thanks for always being a sane and steady voice in the nutrition and health space.

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      I don’t eat gluten unless we’re traveling abroad. I think I am less bloated without it and my husband is intolerant to it physically, so we just don’t have it in the house. I don’t order it in restaurants, etc. I would eat some sourdough if it was homemade and really appealing, which I think I did a couple years back on a book tour at a restaurant? I don’t even know! 🙂

  4. All through these years of being “paleo”, “primal”, “keto” or whatever nutritional plan was the “it” thing at the time, I’ve come to the conclusion that labeling your diet, has dire consequences to many people…..either you are not “keto-ing” hard enough or you ate some thing”off plan” and now can’t real it in…What contributes to this is “labeling “your meals….like a posting on FB showing your “keto” dinner, my paleo this, WW that…it’s dinner, it’s just dinner, made the way you choose to make it that feels right for YOU. It’s something I’ve come to notice happening more and more and it’s a topic that I go over with clients while health coaching.

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      Funny enough, despite writing books on Paleo, Keto, and even my sugar detox, I never felt overly dogmatic about any of it. I wrote about choosing quality dairy in Practical Paleo and include some fruit in my keto book and some grains on my sugar detox. I think people are always looking for “it,” like you said, ad there is no real “it.”

  5. Diane, I love you and keep following you because you keep it real. I have long said that pleasure is a nutrient and most people get pleasure from foods. Great points you make above and they help to simplify food choices, allow flexibility, and reduce guilt, shame, and stress!!

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  6. Thank you for the sample of Nana Joes granola in my last box of BB meals! I loved it so much that I bought 3 full size bags! 🙂

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  7. As a fellow enneagram 8, I love to see you challenging your own preconceptions of what a healthy diet looks like for you and others. I too have found my outlook change over the years— dabbling in whole grain based/veganism as well as strict paleo (since when did bananas become the devil?) to finally resting in a fluid place much like the one you describe to be your own. Thank you for putting your stance into words so eloquently, and for not being afraid to be multidimensional in your approach to life— (several passions from your past and present podcasts, beautycounter, BB, and surely more) as well as your dietary preferences (books on Keto and Paleo and now your IG sharing of Macro counting and flexible eating). If you can’t tell, my “20” (I’m 24) is admiring your “40” and I’m so inspired by you to challenge my own preconceptions and live my own life multidimensionally!

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  8. Great article! I’m 3 months postpartum after a difficult pregnancy and now nursing around the clock. I’m definitely nutrient depleted and dealing with some GI issues, but I’m using the digestive health meal plan in Practical Paleo as my guide. I like your eating principles in this article, I’m finding balance is key to sustainability for long-term dietary changes.

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      Hi Julie-
      I spent years avoiding grains and finding ways to include / focus on more protein and healthy fats. When you remove sugar/refined foods for a long time, you find a way to reintroduce them and not spiral out of control more easily. Eating more protein helps a ton!

  9. I think you have a great approach! I agree it is all about balance and finding what your body can tolerate.

    I think it’s great to hear other people say that you are not a bad person for eating something that is refined.

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  10. I’ve been a dieter my whole life. I learned so much from your balanced bites podcast. It completely changed the way I choose to feed my body. I resisted going completely gluten free for years (because I love craft beer). But I just got diagnosed with non celiac gluten sensitivity, so now, above all else, my number one diet rule is NO GLUTEN and eat whole foods.

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