Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Atkins... The list goes on and on. Many people choose the food they eat based on the restrictions of a diet. While that can work for some, I don't believe that amount of restriction is right for everybody.

Here is a little bit of insight into how I choose the food I eat. I don't believe in sticking to one specific "diet" or food theory. I am however a strong believer in having standards for the food that enters your body.

1. Whole foods. Not the store, actual whole foods (although Whole Foods is great). This means quinoa instead of pasta, apples instead of apple sauce, homemade oatmeal instead of pre-packaged and pre-sweetened oatmeal, veggies instead of "veggie chips". The list goes on and on. Our world is filled with food-like products, disguised as "healthy" foods. I do my best to pass on all packaged foods. Instead of buying a fruit and nut bar I will simply eat fruit and nuts.

2. No refined sugar. If there is one thing that I feel passionately about eliminating or at least greatly reducing, it is sugar. Sugar has so many downfalls it's not even funny. This includes high fructose corn syrup, pure cane sugar, and all other refined sweeteners. There are alternatives however, and believe me, I do enjoy them. Coconut sugar for instance comes from coconuts and has a lower glycemic index than white and processed sugars.

3. As local as possible. Sometimes it's impossible not to eat fruits or veggies that have traveled a far distance. Whenever possible I eat local. This ensures a more nutrient dense food. There is a huge difference when you taste kale that was picked from the ground 3-5 days ago as opposed to kale that was picked two weeks ago and shipped all the way to your grocery store. Eating locally also allows you to eat with the seasons.

4. Organic!! There are so many controversial studies out there about whether or not it is important to eat organic. Let the research stop here. It is! While organic food can be more expensive, it is totally worth it. Would you rather eat an apple that has absorbed harmful chemicals, or an apple that is not toxic? The answer is obvious. It's not always possible to shop organic due to availability near you or higher prices so it's important to stay up to date on the dirty dozen clean fifteen list to know what to absolutely avoid.

Author's Bio: 

Natalie Canizares is an Institute of Integrative Nutrition Certified Health Coach and Wellness Expert. She empowers people to eliminate bad habits, let go of limiting beliefs, create new actions, and holds you accountable to achieve results. Her holistic approach gives you the tools and support to achieve long term success. Email Natalie for Coaching at beautifullybalanceddiet@gmail.com.