We are constantly inundated with food. Cooking Networks, fad diets, colorful ad campaigns, health dos and don’ts, all with conflicting points of view. If you are like me, much of the time you are confused on what to eat anymore. Vegetarian, imported organic, local conventional, gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, raw, the blood type diet or now this Paleo situation…I am exhausted just writing about it. Then every time you turn around there is some celebrity chef throwing caution to the wind and deep frying a hamburger and topping it with cheese and coleslaw (and getting paid a ton to do it)…what diet is that on anyway?

After a lot of research, a lot of eating and more than my fair share of cooking, I have decided that I am a “Qualitarian”. Thank you to my good friend and fellow qualitarian Chef Julie Frans for coining this phrase. It works for me. I leaves pathways open to express myself as a chef and to enjoy myself as an eater and to not be confined to labels, rules and expectations.

When the eggs are farm fresh and hail from chickens clucking about in the grass, I happily eat them. When the salmon was caught from a friend a few days ago, I dive in. I love myself some grass-fed short ribs but a few bites is enough for me. Most of the time I am vegan, just ‘cause I like to eat that way. I love my fruits and veggies and never, ever feel deprived. This “diet” works for me.

Not everyone can eat this way. Many folks truly feel like they need more animal protein (not to be mistaken with protein in general mind you, there is a ton of protein in a veg/vegan diet). It is clear that not everyone can follow the same diet and feel good. You have to find what works for you.

Whether you eat meat, gluten, dairy or wombat for that matter, the answer it to eat a ton of plants, no argument, this is not up for debate. The valuable minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will keep the doctor away, so will managing your stress levels but we’ll save that subject for another time. The fresher, more local and consciously raised food you put in your body the better. The Qualitarian Quest is not an easy one, nor is it cheap, but I promise you friends, it is worth it and delicious…your body and the planet will thank you!