80-20…. because we’re only human
“So, what does the 80-20 mean then?” asked an interested party of me last week.
It’s a good question and one that I’m sure will be asked of me more and more over the coming weeks, but essentially it means eating ‘clean’ food as in natural, unprocessed, no chemicals added, appetising tasty food for 80% of the time.
“Why only 80% of the time?” asked my inquisitor. Don’t you need to be eating that way 100% of the time to be healthy?”
Well, no actually you don’t. The thing is whatever you’re doing, if you become obsessive about it, that in itself is not healthy. There are things we love to eat that really aren’t all that good for us, but if it’s an occasional treat then that’s absolutely fine. That’s the 20 part of 80-20!
I was reading an article online yesterday by Danielle Colley in the Australian Women’s Weekly which highlights this point perfectly. Her subject, a health coach and wellness blogger called Barbara, was passionate about using food as a medicine to maintain health and wellness, starting with her own family. She stocked her kitchen with only organic, clean, whole, sustainable seasonable local foods to feed her growing family. As she explains:
“Nourishing my family became my badge of honour, until one day my daughter came home from school and tried to hide the empty packet of biscuits she had been given at school. My heart dropped. I had unwittingly created fear around food. My daughter was scared of letting me see something she had eaten. This was the opposite of what I wanted.”
Brenda’s passion for clean, whole foods meant feeding her family that way 100% of the time, but when she realised it was causing a ‘food’ issue in itself she looked at things in a different light.
“I wasn’t so extreme that it became totally tricky to eat out or go to people’s places for dinner, but I found that I was constantly trying to find the 'best possible option' on offer, based on my food ideology, often ending up with a less than satisfying meal as a result,” she said. I learnt that the stress I was creating around food was more detrimental than some of the food I was actively avoiding.”
Making a conscious decision to relax the “rules” has enabled her family to have a more balanced approach. Brenda now goes for the 80:20 rule, where they eat well 80 per cent of the time, and the rest of the time is a free pass.
“I made a decision that I no longer wanted to create fear around food. When you have an ingrained ideology, it’s easier said than done. Unwinding habits can be a bit of a slow process, but that’s exactly what I did. As a result, we’re all in a much healthier place in terms of our food attitude these days,” said Brenda.
I agree completely. I promote 80-20 because we are only human and, as much as we might know something isn’t good for us, if we think we can never have it again we will crave it all the more. At The Pantry 80-20 we don’t want to kill the joy of eating. It should be something to be celebrated and savoured, so we will ensure you can come and eat with us either completely healthily, or 80% healthily, or maybe even less, it’s up to you. But one thing you can be sure of at The Pantry 80-20 is the food you eat will be the best we can find locally and cooked as innovatively and perfectly as possible - 100% of the time!
“Does that answer your question?” I asked of my inquisitor.
“Aye, that’ll do” came the contented reply!
Kate - founder of The Pantry 8020