Abby's Road: Live to eat, eat to live

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Listen to your body. It’s all about moderation.

Except for thirty days, you should eat only whole foods. Those are foods empty of most things you find at the grocery store or any other establishment that sells food. No processed foods, no foods containing refined sugar, no grains, no caffeine, no alcohol. If someone did not harvest or kill the food you’re about to eat, it is wholly forbidden.

A whole foods diet is an advanced degree of clean eating. You can eat clean, but you might not be eating whole. For example, you can eat grains like quinoa and oatmeal and still say be eating clean. But you wouldn’t be eating whole.

A whole foods diet is not paleo. It is wholly impossible to explain the difference, but it’s there somewhere. It might boil down to degrees of separation from CrossFit.

When you’re not eating whole, you should eat clean. If you can’t eat clean 100 percent of the time, you should eat clean 80 percent of the time. Think of all the meals you eat over the course of the week, and then ask your accountant what 20 percent of those meals would constitute. Save that portion for nights out or any time you want to socialize with other people without bringing the general mood down several notches.

As long as you’re eating clean, you might as well stop eating gluten. Gluten does dirty things to your intestines. Quinoa is naturally gluten free. Eat oatmeal as much as you can, except eat it with as little gluten as possible.

You can buy gluten-free pretzels, pancake mix and muffins. But consider their nutritional value: almost zero. You might as well eat a candy bar.

Speaking of sugar, cut that out, too. Did you know you’re probably addicted to heroin? I mean sugar. You’re probably addicted to sugar.

Sugar is in everything. You will never escape it. You must escape it, though. If you don’t, you’ll be fat forever and you’ll experience mood swings as dramatic as a telenovela. Which is as good a reminder as any that you should never drink a margarita again. Full of sugar.

You could get a degree in mixology and chemistry, and you still won’t be able to outsmart sugar. Sweet’N Low, Equal, Splenda, Stevia, Truvia, coconut sugar, xylitol, Sucanat, agave nectar, even something called Whey Low. Guess what they all have in common? Sugar.

Put raw honey in your tea, 100 percent natural maple syrup in your salad dressing, Medjool dates in your baked goods, and hope no one’s looking. Because if someone is looking, they are judging you for trying to cheat your way through a sugar cleanse. Enjoy your coffee with a scoop of coconut butter and toast to your superior health. (Don’t you dare add milk.)

What I’m trying to say is, read your labels. That said, you should never buy food requiring a label. Buy fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. Just be sure you pick the right ones.

Legumes (keep up – those are beans) seem like a good idea, but they’re not. They make your gut leak. I don’t know why or how, but do you want your gut leaking out of your bikini? No, you don’t.

Eggs are a great alternative. You shouldn’t eat them, though. They might be the reason you feel so bloated.

Stick with animal meats. Just double-check that they’re grass fed and 100 percent certified organic. If your meat doesn’t have a resume, don’t bring it near your lips. Bottom line, you should probably go vegan.

You could also go nuts. By eating nuts, I mean. Peanuts aren’t nuts, though. They’re legumes. See above.

Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables. More vegetables, really. And not vegetables of the same color. Your vegetables should replicate the colors of the rainbow. Eat fruits sparingly – hello, sugar! On the other hand, berries are packed with antioxidants. You need those.

Eat within 30 minutes of waking. Stop eating two hours before bedtime. Drink water, especially when you feel hungry. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you’re actually just thirty.

Remember, you only live once. Don’t deprive yourself.

Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.