Fake It ‘Til You Make It: Healthy Eating

So, you’re probably still in a cookie coma from the holidays, and everyone around you is starting to say things like, “I’m going on the South Beach Diet”, “I’m going vegan” or “I’m going to eat only grapefruit and kale smoothies until spring.”

Here’s the deal: I’m not going to tell you to jump on the New Year’s resolution diet bandwagon because let’s get real, old grapefruit and kale smoothie guy is going to be digging into a nice cheeseburger by Martin Luther King Day. Besides, no one way of eating works for everyone. But you’ve got tons of “healthy” conversations ahead of you in the next couple of weeks. People are complaining about how much weight they gained over the holidays and swearing that tomorrow they’re heading to the gym. Whether you choose to join the fray is up to you.

Maybe you didn’t gorge yourself on fruitcake, eggnog and fudge for the entire month of December, or maybe you don’t care that you did (if that’s the case, what’s your secret?). Whatever attitude you’ve adopted, some schmuck is going to corner you in the office kitchen this week with their Tupperware full of broccoli and grilled chicken and tell you why their “diet” is the best.

Here are 8 tips, tricks and “healthy facts” to get into or out of a conversation with your boss who’s decided that 2014 is the year the whole office goes Paleo.

1. I’d rather do a detox with smoothies than a juice cleanse – at least you feel like you’re eating.

True story. There are about a billion ways to detox. Most involve drinking revolting liquids for more days then you actually can and then gorging yourself at the end with nachos because you “earned it”. Pills are also a way to go with detoxing. But I think the people that I know that have done it happily – or as happily as you can without having solid foods – have done so with a smoothie plan using real foods. There are also some detox plans out there that are whole food-based, as well.

2. Dude, if you are cutting out honey, then you’re going hardcore Paleo.

If you’ve been living in a cave the last year you’ve either A) never heard of the Paleo diet or B) gotten REALLY into the Paleo Diet. This diet’s core is eating only foods that our ancient relatives would’ve eaten. That means no sugar, grains or dairy at all. Some Paleoites will use honey, real syrup or molasses for sweeteners since cavemen probably had access to that.  Basically, you only eat proteins, fruits and vegetables… and have terrible gas. Seriously, though – it’s probably the best “diet” for you, but one of the most difficult to stay true to.

3. Eating non-GMOs and eating only organic are two different things.

Wanna talk hot button issues at lunchtime? Bring up GMOs in a kitchen full of people eating salads. People feel very strongly about genetically modified foods because giant apples don’t occur in nature. There are some people that think they’re harmless and some people that believe they are ruining our bodies and our country.  Organic food fanatics make sure to eat foods that are grown without chemicals. This does not mean, however, that their food has not been genetically modified, it just means their food is about 20% more expensive. All organic non-GMO foods carry special labels so you know.

4. Real Food, Omnivore, Flexitarian… it’s all pretty much the same.

All three of these eating plans are popular. They all pretty much consist of eating plant-based foods and foods that are perishable. Real Food does not include meat, but Omnivore and Flexitarian do leave space for lean proteins like chicken and fish. A good trick for these plans is to shop along the edges of the grocery store where the produce, meat, dairy and bakery are and staying away from all the processed foods with preservatives in the middle of the store. And no, ice cream doesn’t count as a perishable dairy.

5. I don’t think I could be entirely vegan, but lots of people recommend keeping vegan until 6 pm.

Oh, vegans. We all know a few, or maybe are you are one yourself. They are frustrating in their rigidity and confounding in their ability to make any soy product look like meat. I find vegan restaurants have some of the freshest ingredients and two of my favorite food trucks in NYC were vegan, so it can’t be all bad. Mark Bittman of the New York Times was the one who started the whole “vegan until dinner” or “VB6” craze. You eat a vegan diet during the day and at night, eat as you would normally. The idea behind it is to inspire healthy choices all day without banning foods you love.

6. Don’t mind grumpy friend’s name here, she’s doing the Master Cleanse.

This is the cleanse to end all cleanses (or your life). This god-awful process involves drinking a concoction of lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper all day, for every meal… for DAYS! This is really popular with celebrities because they are paid a lot of money to make themselves look great. I’m not paid anything, so unless someone is going to bet me money that I can’t drink this, I’ll find a nice cleansing tea to drink, thankyouverymuch.

7. Isn’t it crazy that one of the best selling healthy eating books is by a preacher?

That’s right, folks, the church is getting into the healthy living game. The Daniel Plan by Rev. Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church has teamed up with nutritionists and doctors to come up with a health plan that incorporates faith. The plan is based on the story of Daniel (of the lion’s den fame) who when given rich foods from the king’s table while training as a gladiator, refused them and opted for a healthier menu that he felt honored God’s wish for him to live a healthy lifestyle. Anyway, the book is a New York Times best seller and the plan is looks an awful lot like the standard plate that the government put out a few years ago to replace the old food pyramid – ya know, 50% vegetables, 25% lean protein and 25% grains or starch. The Daniel Plan also encourages fitness and community.

8. It’s been 4 years and JHud has still kept that weight off – she looks amazing.

Your mom, your aunt, even your grandmother has probably tried it: Weight Watchers. It isn’t particularly hip, but it is tried and true. It is flexible, doable and has always been my go-to eating plan. Didn’t particularly help Jessica Simpson lose her baby weight, but getting pregnant again does that to you.


There is so much information out there about healthy eating and diets. Not to sound like a Cyalis commercial, but before you radically change the way you eat, I’d talk to your doctor. Here are some fun blogs with recipes for various healthy eating lifestyles:

Thug Kitchen – F**king plant-based and mainly vegan recipes (GOOP approved and hilarious!)

NY Times’ Mark Bittman VB6 author and Timescolumnist

Everyday Paleo – for you cavemen and women

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