80:20 – The Magic Ratio


Today, Dessert Comes First embarks on its new direction. 80:20 – what I call “The Magic Ratio,” my mantra for how I live my life now, something I briefly mentioned in the About section.

A few months ago, FOOD magazine asked me to write about how I eat and live post-cancer. The result is the piece above and which I’ve pasted below for easier reading.

Soon, I’ll be posting my recipes and photos of what and how I eat, I’m so excited to share this with you! I’ve always maintained that DCF is my venue for telling my stories, and these are my new stories.

Fear not, I haven’t gone all “health-guru” on you. The “20” in my magic ration of 80:20 will get much exposure too.

Here we go!

80:20 – The Magic Ratio
By Lori Baltazar
As published in FOOD magazine, Issue 3, 2016

Being sick taught me to listen to my body. It’s the most important lesson I’ve learned as a cancer conqueror and it’s also my guiding light when choosing what to eat. I live on a mostly whole foods/plant-based/dessert diet, a way of eating that nourishes both my body and my cravings.

Before, I entertained these idealistic notions that after chemo, I’d shun sugar, turn vegan, and become ridiculously skinny. But I had to be real and honor the fact that I was in my 40s and needed to celebrate that my body – my strong body – had gotten me through cancer and chemo. And while I do indeed eat a vegan diet most of the time, the truth is that I do need my meat and dairy – and most importantly – my desserts too.

My “magic ratio” is 80:20 – 80% clean, 20% deliciously dirty. What this means is that during the week, I’m eating chia pudding with fruit and turmeric tea, quinoa oatmeal topped with creamy coconut milk and caramelized banana, inhaling the aromas of my mushroom stroganoff and bean burgers, and slathering homemade tahini dressing onto salads and into hummus. That’s my 80% clean eating. But when that 4.30pm slump hits, it’s time for those chocolate-covered dates. Then on weekends especially, I relish a thick steak and a slab – yes, “slab” – of cake. That’s my 20% deliciously dirty eating, and boy, do I enjoy it!

80:20 is the balance that my body benefits from, that sweet spot where I’m healthy and happy. I ate this way even before I got sick. What’s different now though is that I’m more tuned in to myself. I believe that there are countless ways to wellness and clean eating; there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all. So I hold tight to my right to be gentle and forgiving of myself, be it in the form of a hug or a hamburger. I trust that my body tells me what it wants.

So when I’m fed up with flax seeds and falafel, and I’m going out of my mind for a milkshake, I respect it; my stomach is not out to sabotage me. After everything I’ve had to go through, I believe that above all else, I’m nourished not only by the food I eat, but by the pleasure eating gives me.

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