What is moderation in the modern world?
I am a big advocate of moderation and avoiding the all-or-nothing approach for several different reasons. For many people who have been eating the Standard American Diet for a long time, the thought of giving up all animal products and animal foods can be very daunting. But there isn't enough evidence to show that one HAS to eat 100% whole plant foods to reap the benefits of health and longevity.
But what does moderation mean, really? We know in the blue zones or places around the world that naturally have a high number of healthy centenarians, or people that live beyond 100, the populations there tend to eat a predominantly plant-based diet and eat meat only about 5 times per month. Even if you already eat a completely plant-based diet, you can use moderation to eat things that you may not consider that healthy. It can be helpful to set a guideline or a rule of thumb so that you determine the amount of health promoting food in your diet and the limit of foods that aren't so health promoting.
I like to use the 80/20 rule. To me this rule means: 80% of the time eat as healthfully as you can with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes so that 20% of the time you can have some play foods. If you eat about 3 meals per day, 20% is about 4 meals per week.
Of course, you are free to use whatever criteria you would like to define what your level of moderation means, but if you are not an all-or-nothing person and feel like you need some guidelines to keep an eye on, this may be a great place to start!