The 80×20 Lifestyle

A lifestyle that allows a little room for tater tots + champagne. 

The 80X20 lifestyle is the HXH preferred approach to dietary health for so many reasons. Really – I could go on forever, but I’ll try to reign it in with this blog post. Sharing the 80X20 lifestyle gets me so fired up because I am so passionate about the benefits of it. Living and eating this way has helped me stay healthy AND happy, which we all know can be a hard balance to achieve. I have been practicing 80Xx0 a while now, and this plan is the only one I can confidently say has worked for me. It’s pretty simple, it’s very effective and I highly recommend it.

THE 80X20 CONCEPT

So here’s the way 80X20 works…for about 80% of the meals I eat in a given week, I strive to consume whole food, plant based options with very little added oils. This means no meat, no cheese, no eggs, no dairy. I rely heavily on high carb foods like fruits, potatoes, unrefined whole grains like quinoa and jasmine rice, along with a ton of leafy greens as key components in my 80% meals. Salsa, marinara, mustard, and other low oil sauces are my favorite “dippers.” It’s so important to experiment and discover meals that you love when it comes to the 80% category. There are so many great options, so don’t assume that whole food, plant based meals have to be limited or boring. Plus, it’s important to experiment and find meals that you love in this category. It will help you stay on track and not feel tempted to binge eat on your 20% meals.

Check out the “Rich Roll Meal Planner” on www.richroll.com if you love cooking at home and want some recipes.

The 20% meals allow a little space to have some fun, we all have to live a little! I consider this food the wiggle room percent. 20% meals should make up three to four of your weekly meals. These meals are not meant to be an all-out splurge, and for the record, I don’t recommend eating an entire meal of fried food, cheese, meat, and a giant dessert . The 20% meals should still (for the most part) follow the guidelines of your 80% meals, but with a little wiggle room. Oils and cheese are heavy on saturated fat, which is why I put them in the 20% category. For me, this looks like indulging in a side of tater-tots or having a dessert. For others, this might mean eating meat or cheese. Note: I try to limit meat consumption to 3x a year. Remember, the goal is to FEEL GOOD. So it’s up to you how far off the path you want to go with your 20% meals – it’s calculated in to feel less rigid and calculated in your weekly food consumption. How great is that?!

80% VS. 20% MEALS 

80% Meal Examples

20% Meal Examples

My 20% meals usually occur when I eat out, but there is one pasta brand I LOVE that I will cook at home, and it stays in my 20% category.

  • Capelli Fettuccine Pasta w/ a Vegan Sauce. It is made with almond flour and eggs. So that is why it stays in my 20%, because of the eggs.
  • Ricotta Gnocchi Pasta w/ a Vegan Sauce. I usually get this from The Obstinate Daughter. YUM!
  • Vegan Pizza from Mellow Mushroom. I’ll bring my own Vegan Ranch as a dip and sometimes I will get the soft pretzel with the mustard sauce too because it is just so darn good.
  • Tater Tots from Home Team BBQ.
  • Black Bean Nachos with no cheese from Home Team BBQ. I use the BBQ sauce instead of the cheese.
  • If I am at a party or an event – I go for the dessert table. I usually won’t eat the whole thing because I know it won’t make me feel good.

WHY 80X20 WORKS FOR ME, AND WHY IT’LL WORK FOR YOU

Why have I chosen this lifestyle, and why does it work?

Eating a 100% whole foods, plant-based diet, for me anyway,  made me pretty miserable. I was constantly craving ‘fun foods’ and felt like eating socially was such a drag. I became a little obsessive. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that I “wasn’t allowed” to eat.

Also, America is a REALLY hard place to practice a totally plant based, vegan diet. There are so many treats and junk food options that are tied to a normal social life. While practicing 80X20 I still have alcohol, usually in the form of wine, champagne, or tequila + soda + lime. I’ll allow myself a few drinks on Friday and Saturday but I’ve gotten to a place where I hate staying out late because I don’t see the point anymore. Yay for progress since graduating college!

Lastly, I think that every so often, it’s important to allow for “emotional feedings”. I’m not talking about going crazy and binging; I’m talking about indulging in foods that make us happy and that we enjoy regardless of their ingredients. These are the foods that give us a break from an otherwise concentrated diet of healthy, whole foods. This ability to be flexible from eating totally clean and healthy takes away the pressure and strain of our normal diets and allows for some breathing room, all while maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. One of the best parts of the 80X20 lifestyle is being able to eat some “cheat” meals and not ever having to feel guilty about it! #TreatYoSelf (20% of the time, of course.) Remember this is NOT a fad diet – it’s a way of life.

For some, this way of life might look more like 70×30 or 90×10 – and that’s totally cool. You do you! It’s all about balance. It keeps the “guilt” meals limited and the earth grown, fiber filled, healthy meals fueling your bod! 

80X20 IN PRACTICE

I take my 80X20 lifestyle day-by-day. For some people, meal planning is freeing. For me, meal planning means stress and slipping into my bad habit of obsessively thinking about food. One of the reasons I created the Blender Bombs brand is because BBs provide the perfect foundation for an 80X20 lifestyle.

I know that every day, my first meal is going to be a smoothie packed with plant-based, whole food ingredients that will keep me full until my second meal. It’s easy, it creates a pattern, and it takes out the guesswork for half of my meals.

For dinner, I decide day by day what I’m going to eat. There are a handful of restaurants in Charleston that serve great go-to 80% meals.  I also keep groceries on standby that are whole food, plant-based. It’s really not as difficult as you may think!

So – what does 80X20 look like for you? What are some ways this lifestyle has benefited you? What questions do you have about the 80X20 lifestyle?

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