I will not forget the time when the person next to me at a large gathering asked, “Are you on a diet?” I remember I was a bit surprised by the question so I quickly replied with, “Why?” She said she thought I was because I didn’t have a lot of food on my plate. I didn’t tell her that I was not feeling very well, a bit of an upset stomach likely from having a caffeinated beverage too late the night before that resulted in interrupted sleep. I just wanted to be easy on my stomach. I told her that I was not very hungry.

Why is this question asked? In my case, there was not “enough” food on my plate. It could be that because you’re choosing not to eat cheese or grandma’s cake. Does this mean you’re on a diet? And what does being on a diet mean anyway? A lot of us have images of being held hostage to what you should or shouldn’t eat!

Have you ever had the pull-out-something-from-the-fridge type of diet? At work, the buy-it-from-the-vending-machine diet? What about the food-kicking-around-the-pantry diet? The eat-at-least-7-servings-of-vegetables-every-day-all-year diet? Perhaps a breakfast smoothie diet?

I’m on the Undiet Diet. No chains allowed.

That’s what I follow. A diet that doesn’t belong in any category, program, package, or club. One that doesn’t tie you to any particular protocol. However, I’m not trying to knock anyone who is thriving on a wonderfully working practice with great eating habits and a focus on certain foods. What I’m trying to do is have you stop and think what a diet is, and what one are you on? Because you know, everyone is on a diet. If you eat, you have a diet, which means you’re on one. And it doesn’t have to be someone else’s way.

Here are some of my guidelines to what I call the Undiet Diet:

Whole-foods – I aim to fill my plate as much as possible with foods that before prepared, was in its natural state. If this doesn’t happen, I don’t worry about it. There’s always next time.

Hydration – I typically drink about 8 cups of liquids per day (not pop!) It can come as tea, lemon water, soup, smoothie, etc. If I drink more because I require it, great. If not, no problem.

Food Combining – I try to avoid eating any starch or fruits or high-sugar vegetables with animal protein, especially red meats. If I want to eat this combination, I take a digestive enzyme to help digestion.

Garden Fresh – I receive pure joy picking fresh bounty from my garden. Heaven food. The plants are at their prime strutting their deliciousness, begging for attention. I yield to the yield. Yum! The priority is clear: eat whatever is available. Now. In non-garden months, I’m grateful for farmer’s markets.

Celebration – Whatever the celebration like a birthday, Christmas, Easter, or another main event, I make sure to taste. It’s not the time to restrict (unless you must due to real issues) or gorge or shame yourself for doing so either. Enjoy, and take enzymes if you must!

The Undiet Diet doesn’t break, define or stress me out if the day doesn’t go as planned. I accept there will be mistakes. I will learn from them, make adjustments, experiment, and try again.  I release myself from food prison and welcome freedom.

Will you join me on this diet and have it be your food story too?