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Since I have transitioned the family to a traditional diet (although I continue on the GAPS diet), it can be very challenging to keep all foods kosher, so to speak. Maybe I should clarify what I mean by kosher – I mean healthy, real foods which are nutrient dense and that are prepared in traditional ways.
When I say “prepared in traditional ways” I mean soaking grains, seeds and legumes with kefir or lemon juice so as to minimize phytic acid, fermented foods prepared with the lacti-acid fermentation for gut health. Basicially, it means that I prepare our meals from scratch using wholesome ingredients the way our great grandmothers would have done.
A lot of work? Yes, it can be!
Worth it? Definitely!
The 80/20 Rule
I was greatly relieved when I read the work of Dr. Weston A. Price and his 80/20 rule. Basically, Dr. Price said that as long as 80% of your meals were healthy and nutritious, 20% could be left more or less to chance.
While the 80/20 rule could definitely be used as a cop out, for me it has alleviated unnecessary guilt on those occasions when I choose to allow my family to have “treats”.
For those of you who began your journey with traditional foods earlier in life, maybe you don’t have this problem. But, for me, we already had older children who were used to sugary treats especially during the holidays. You know, the recipe that your mother made and is now part of your family’s tradition.
Another example is when we finish pruning the vineyard (and it takes a couple of months to complete the job) we have a doughnut party. While our doughnut recipe is about as healthy as you can get, the icing does contain sugar. I can substitute raw sugar but honey is just not the same.
There are some foods you eat because they just plain taste good, they are comforting and bring back good memories!
So, I have given myself the freedom to follow a healthy traditional diet for the family very closely 80% of the time, and 20% of the time, I can loosen up and have more flexibility. That would work out to be about 4 meals per week that can be more flexible on the nutritional scale. We are a healthy family and eating birthday cake once in awhile or a dessert made from a family recipe is not going to have a significant impact on our health – as long as I provide nutritionally dense foods the majority of the time. This gives us the freedom to eat with those around us and enjoy special occasions.
Is the 80/20 Rule for Everyone?
Does the 80/20 rule apply to everyone? No, I don’t think so.
Dr. Price did see amazing results in school children who ate a nutritious lunch according to his recommendations but still ate their nutritionally poor diet at home. The children stopped getting cavities and began healing!
There are 2 categories of people I would say, the 80/20 rule does not apply to:
- Someone on the GAPS diet who is in the process of healing their gut. It is important to stick strictly to the diet. After all, it is a healing process meant for the short term. That healing process can be prolonged if the diet is not followed.
- Someone with food allergies, such as, peanuts that can cause life threatening reactions, should not just throw all caution to the wind and eat the offending food.
The underlying key is commitment. Commitment to health. Commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Commitment to caring for your body in such a way so as to maximize your potential.
There is more to life than just eating healthy. Health goes beyond what we eat. Don’t get me wrong, our bodies need REAL food for fuel. But, there is more to life and I am going to use the 80/20 rule to allow my family special dishes and desserts once in awhile!
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