Perfect Eating is an Illusion – Be a Qualitarian

Vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan, carnivore, pescatarian…there are many words to describe the way people eat.

I finally found a word that accurately describes my eating style: Qualitarian

One of the best things about this style is that it can be combined with others. You could be a Vegetarian Qualitarian or a Carnivore Qualitarian. It’s a simple, but effective concept and one that I’ve followed for awhile now, though I never had a single word to describe it.


I discovered the above snippet in my January/February 2013 copy of Vegetarian Times. I know it’s April, and I’m a little late sharing, but better late than never, right?

In case the the above photo gets broken or isn’t view-able for some reason, it’s a photo of a snippet from the magazine, and it reads:

Be a Qualitarian: “The best change you can make in the New Year is to become a qualitarian,” says Ashley Koff, RD, founder of the (AKA) Stamp of Quality Nutrition. “That means making the better-quality choice – note, I never say best quality – for everything you put in your body.” Aspiring to eat perfectly all the time isn’t practical, but in most situations, there’s a better choice, she says: “For example, if you’re at a convenience store grabbing something on the go, that could mean buying water, unsalted nuts, and a piece of fruit. If the fruit isn’t organic, aim for organic next time.”

This pretty much describes my eating style from the last couple years to the present. I like to say, “it’s about choosing the better choice…not the perfect one.” But, it hasn’t always been this way.

I have perfectionist tendencies, so I used to beat myself up about not getting things just right. I found that this type of thinking led me down a negative path that was not conducive to my goal of healthy living. Worrying about not making the perfect choice was stressful and would sometimes make me feel more like quitting than moving forward.

“Perfection is an illusion. Imperfection is beautiful.” –Tanya Beardsley

When I started focusing on a more positive approach, thinking about making better choices instead of perfect ones, I really started feeling more confident and happy about healthy eating. Mostly, when I started focusing on choosing better over perfect, I found a certain sense of freedom…like the weight of perfection had been lifted. It was wonderful.

We all have different budgets, time constraints, and resources available. What works for one person may or may not work for the next. Personally, I strive to eat clean, local, and organic food, but I take help from processed foods sometimes and I definitely don’t eat 100% local and organic. Do I beat myself up for eating boxed mac and cheese? Nope. Not any more. But, I do try to purchase the ones with cleaner ingredient lists. To me, this choice is better in two ways. It’s better than eating a more processed version, but mostly, it’s better than giving up completely and just getting fast food. Grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and boxed mac and cheese > fast food

Bottom line – my current eating strategy is to do what I can, focus on the positive, and make the better choice. Yup, I’m definitely a Qualitarian, and I’m loving it.

What better choices have you made recently?

12 thoughts on “Perfect Eating is an Illusion – Be a Qualitarian”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I have been struggling with the same issue lately. I try to eat organic whole foods, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that! I like the idea of just focusing on the better choice of your options and not stressing about being perfect every time!

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  3. Hey there 🙂 Just stumbled upon your blog and I love the idea of being a qualitarian. So often I have gone hungry because I’m traveling and can’t seem to find something that ‘fits’ my ‘standard’. I really love the idea of being a qualitarian because, you’re right, sometimes things just don’t go as planned and if we’re doing our best then it shouldn’t matter. Sometimes I wonder – why am I my own worst critic? 🙂


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