Balancing act: Finding peace with better food choices

Balance in life is an ongoing process. It’s like a never-ending ride on the playground see-saw.

There’s work-life balance. There’s balance in relationships (friends or partners). There’s diet and exercise balance. And there’s even internal balance, as well.

Since taking over as Editor-in-Chief at PACIFIC in September, it’s the diet and exercise balance in my life that continues to be up and down. Just about every week I’m eating out at multiple new restaurants, trying new foods, getting drinks with contacts or checking out other events around town. I know, pity party, table for one.

So, a few weeks ago while lying on my yoga mat during final relaxation (you know, that time when you’re not supposed to be thinking about anything other than your breath), I decided it was time for a drastic change. The next day I cut practically everything out of my diet. No processed foods. No gluten. No added sugars. No caffeine. No alcohol. In other words, no fun.

For me, sometimes it takes an extreme action to find middle ground again. This “clean eating” process is something I’ve done before. I cut out a majority of foods (for that first week it was only fruits, vegetables and nuts) then slowly add back in simple items each week (fish and legumes one week, gluten-free grains and eggs another). Is it easy? Hell no. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was a total pain in the ass on some of those initial days. Is it worth it? Not for everyone, but for me, yes.

The process becomes a practice in mindful eating. Do I really need that bag of chips next to me when I’m watching TV at home? No. Do I need a bite-sized candy bar each day after lunch from the candy dish on my desk? No. But those things had somehow become routine and the extreme process I chose to take helped break those habits quickly and reminded me how much more energy I could have when I wasn’t making poor eating decisions. Side note: Admittedly, for the first time, I am writing my editor’s note for this publication somewhere other than La Mesa’s Public Square, where I would indulge in a cold brew coffee and a scone with a flight of three different flavored butters (yes, that’s a thing) — and I’m pretty sad about that.

Am I ever going to eat those things again? Hell yes. A life without butter (and bacon) is no life for me. But with any luck, I’ll be able to find a happy place that makes me feel healthier and more balanced.

If you’re curious about other possible ways to bring balance into your life, check out this month’s feature on chakra balancing (page X), where writer Laurie Delk tries it out and relays firsthand what it was like.


Leslie Hackett


“I feel a balance here in San Diego. The people are more serene. It elevates the quality of life.” — Chef Marco Maestoso (Not Your Grandma’s Cucina)


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