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The 80/20 Rule: How to Eat and Drink Healthy (Without Giving Up What You Love!)

As a busy working mum trying to maintain a toxin-free life, I reckon Miranda Kerr is setting the kind of example we all ought to follow.

Partly because she achieves her stop-traffic beauty using all-natural and organic ingredients.

And partly because she's not afraid to Instagram a pic of herself tucking into a burger and chips.

How does she get away with it? It's called the 80/20 rule, and once you start applying it to your life, I swear it will make the whole business of living toxin-free so much easier.

Living the 80/20 life

For me, living a nourished life is first and foremost about enjoying life and feeling healthy and energetic. I want to put the best possible food into my body, so 80 percent of the time I eat foods that are as close to their original state (i.e. unprocessed) as possible, and I almost always try to eat organic.

But I flat-out refuse, after eating well and working out all week, to deprive myself of a buttery chocolate croissant on a Sunday morning.

The 80/20 rule is all about balance and "everything in moderation". It means you can go to parties, or go out for a meal (even a cocktail!) without worrying or feeling guilty. And it's much easier to make healthy choices when you know that somewhere down the road you're going to treat yourself to an amazing meal out – without quizzing the waiter about every single ingredient, or beating yourself up about it afterwards.

Not that I set out on a junk food binge every Saturday as some kind of reward for a week of living virtuously. Toxin free is a reward in itself – the way my body feels is all the proof I need.
But seriously, who has the time to worry about checking the sugar and calorie levels of every single thing they eat? And even when you know what they contain, there are some pleasures that are too important to give up.

Take chocolate. (Thanks, I think I will!) I'm obsessed with the stuff, and 70% cocoa organic chocolate is my indulgence of choice. Sugar, too. I've tried to quit it, I really have, over and over; it's just not going to happen. However, I've incorporated the 80/20 rule here by ¬adding Rice Malt and stevia to as many things as possible.

The 80/20 rule even works for water. Most of the time I make sure I'm drinking filtered water without fluoride and other nasties. But if you're out and about and you don't have that choice, well, a girl still needs to stay hydrated, and I'll drink the table water.

Three simple tips to make the 80/20 rule work for you

  • The easiest way to manage an 80/20 life is to eat the most healthy meals when you're in a regular routine, such as during the working week. Save the 20 percent for the weekends when you're more likely to need to be flexible. (This also works well for kids – good food on school days, weekends reserved for parties and treats.)
  • Stay true to your overall health barriers. Even on my off days I make sure to check for the real nasties in food, like unsustainable palm oil, trans fats, artificial colours, MSG and sweeteners.
  • The 80/20 rule can extend beyond eating habits. You can also apply it to your exercise routine, for example, by committing to training on at least four days out of five.

80/20 goes to Hollywood

Miranda Kerr isn't the only celeb to rock the 80/20 rule when it comes to their guilty pleasures. Cameron Diaz, in her wonderful 'Body Book', admits she still indulges in carbs and cheese. "I love cheese", she says, then reels off a list of favourites that includes string cheese and "double-triple-cream Brie"!

Celeb trainer Yumi Lee says the 80/20 rule is what helps Jessica Alba maintain her healthy weight, and underlines how much easier it is to make healthy choices when you allow yourself the room to relax about it.

So, for a celeb body, the reassuring message is this: treat yourself well most of the time, and every few days, just treat yourself. (And remember – Nourished Life is here to help you with the first part of that equation!)

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