We MUST count our internal behaviors into the mix when thinking about creating our happiest, healthiest life with food. If you eat lentils every day because you are a pure and perfect yogi, but you hate every bite and feel depressed all the time, that's not very good yoga. And most people think that's what healthy eating requires: bland food you don't love.
Food is meant to be pleasing. If we love tacos, we want a life that can include tacos.
For me, that comes from the power of 3.
I am never going to be a purist, or a radical. I am a scientist. I explored veganism for almost a year, and I am highly motivated toward healthy food choices, but, I also want fun and joy and simplicity in my life, and veganism offered none of those things to me. Like Allison said in a comment below, I have also removed a huge amount of meat from my diet, but, I'm not going 100% plant based anytime soon. It's a full time project to get enough energy for my anemic-tending blood vs instant energy when I eat meat. But I don't need it every day, or even every week. I can eat a steak from a fantastically expensive free-range, grass-fed, well loved cow about 10-15 times a year and I'm good. And guilt free to eat a burger at my nephew's brew pub once or twice a year when I go visit. I buy 3 - 4 local farm raised turkeys per year as well, and not a scrap of meat on the bird is wasted. That's my staple; the freezer always homemade bone broth and chopped meat for soups or stir fries. And once in a while I'll have a tuna melt with my husband, because he loves them.
I didn't just decide on all of that in a snap, it was an experiment that took time and practice, but the power of 3 was very helpful.
My top 3 meats, based on desire, health value, and ethics, are turkey, steak, and tuna. I'd prefer wild salmon, but a world with orcas in it is more important, and that's all they eat, so I don't generally choose it. But because I am 100% clear on my values here, and what's the right combination for my health and happiness, I am also free to choose an occasional other option. A couple of times a year, a salmon or shrimp taco is going to go into my body.
My relationship with food is almost completely free of guilt because I've taken the time to really understand what works for me. There is no one size fits all; your ideal eating plan is as unique as your fingerprint.
So, the power of 3 can apply to everything, and really, the goal is to find your number 1 in each category, and the smallest number of alternates as possible, so in the grocery store, you've got power.
If you decide that snickers is your number one of all sweet treats, and number 2 is ice cream and number 3 is pie, then the big sale on butterfingers does not trip you up. The price of things is the LEAST important to your empowered eater.
3 favorite breakfasts?
3 favorite sandwiches?
3 favorite things to do with a potato?
You can play this one as deep as you want, and then build your food life from there. Start with what you love to eat. Say goodbye to everything you don't really care about. Then, can you make what you love healthier and still love it?
From there, you can build the perfect food life.