“Avoid foods you see advertised on television.”
~ Michael Pollan

 With Memorial Day behind us, summer has unofficially begun and I’ve spoken with a lot of people who experienced a good amount of guilt about what they ate during the long weekend. This makes me sad because I don’t believe that food and guilt should have any relationship and in fact, my mission is to help anyone who wants it to create joy, power and freedom in their relationship with food.

If you have followed my writing for a while then you know that I don’t believe that deprivation is the answer to avoiding guilt and that I frequently write about buying food of the highest quality. This is an extremely important piece of having that type of relationship with food. There is a widely held misconception in America today that a piece of boneless, skinless chicken breast is a better choice than a burger. I don’t necessarily agree with the statement even with all things about the 2 being equal and I definitely disagree when the statement is made without any regard to the quality of the ingredients.

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When it comes to choosing food, quality is everything. You have to ask yourself questions like how was it raised? what was the animal fed? These things matter. When you are choosing high quality ingredients, you can eat things that you’ve been misled to believe that you can’t have and you can feel good about eating it.

I served burgers and dogs to my guests on Memorial Day weekend. People loved the food and I felt good about serving it. Let’s take a look at ways that you can do it too.

Make grass-fed burgers. Grass-fed beef is available in some stores, through local farmers and online. That is my first choice. If you can’t get grass-fed, consider organic meat or at least something that is hormone and antibiotic free. Starting with the highest quality meat can take a burger from junk food to a good meal. The same standards hold true for the cheese if you’re making a cheese burger. Consider buying cheese that is raw, organic and/or made from milk of grass-fed cows. At least consider cheese that is hormone free and try to avoid processed slices masquerading as cheese.

Buy uncured grass-fed hot dogs. Truth be told, I ate a lot of hot dogs growing up and even though they were kosher, I don’t really want to think about what went into making them. Having said that, I know what a good hot dog tastes like and there is nothing like it when you want one. There are several brands of uncured hot dogs available now and in the summer, I do enjoy a hot dog now and then. I think Applegate uncured organic grass-fed beef hot dogs taste really good and when I eat one, I don’t think twice about it.

Pay attention to the bun. Use sprouted buns or whole grain organic buns or at least a bun that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. Make sure you read the labels because many burger and hot dog buns contain high fructose corn syrup as well as also sorts of artificial ingredients.

Eat lots of sauerkraut and pickles. These are great for digestion and help boost your immunity. Look for brands that have been fermented with just water, salt and spices and make sure that they don’t have any chemical additives or artificial colors. Some brands that I like are Bubbies, Hawthorn Valley and Real Pickles.

Serve other great side dishes. In addition to my food above, I served a big platter of roasted asparagus and a salad of arugula, walnuts and beets. They tasted great, looked beautiful and added lots of nourishment to the meal.

These are just some practical options to allow you to enjoy the foods you love from time to time and still feel good about eating them. You can eat in a way that supports the way you want to look and feel without deprivation and guilt. A large part of learning to do that is also changing your thinking about food, diet and you! If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, send me an email at Randy@TheConsciousPlate.com and we can set up a time to talk.