OJ Bites the Dust

April 4, 2012

I had a drink of my husband’s Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice this morning and it tasted like ass. I used to love that stuff. Another vice loses it’s hold….

If you want to know why I gave up the “zombie juice”, read this.

(source)

Also I would like to note that I add these “journey” posts to document the effect of clean eating on a regular person. I know it’s easy to read a blog like this and think, “Oh great, if eating right means giving up everything I love, then forget about it!”

I often felt that way too. So instead of “giving up” foods, I am replacing them with different options. I did not ever officially make a decision to “never” have OJ again. I told myself I could have orange juice whenever I wanted, but it had to be freshly squeezed from real oranges. Now, that process is no fun, so I don’t do it every day. I don’t even do it once a week. Once a month or so I bust out the juicer and make enough for the whole family (and then make orange-craisin muffins from the pulp).

I haven’t even felt too terribly deprived by this. I knew a glass of orange juice was always just a big ol’ mess away. I didn’t not drink it because I wasn’t allowed, but because I didn’t have the inclination right that second to mess with the juicer (juicing by hand kills my wrists). That’s an important distinction for a junk food lover like me.

So when I do let a little of the “bad” stuff slip back in, I am still surprised to find I don’t even like it anymore. And this is why I don’t like skinny people giving me diet advice. It’s easy for them to pass up the OJ (or pop, or store-bought cookies, or deep-fried, then frozen, then reheated nuggets) when they never learned to like that sort of thing in the first place. But it’s overwhelming to change your eating habits when you think you have to give up all the foods you love.

So these are supposed to be posts of hope. Posts that remind me that these choices do get easier. Posts that say, “If I can do it, you can too.”

Don’t think about it as “giving-up” foods. Give them a break while you explore new options. Revisit them 6 months down the road and see how you feel about them. I was not expecting to dislike that juice this morning. I was indulging in a moment. But instead I happily discovered that I am free of one more burden.

(I had a terrible time with grammar in this post… talking about things with all those double negatives and in dangling past participicular tenses (or whatever) is confusing).

Kids and Vegetables

March 26, 2012

Years ago, I stopped to visit a friend while she was preparing dinner for her daughter. She cooked while we chatted and at some point asked her daughter if she wanted broccoli or beet tops. The 3 year old child screamed out, “Beet tops!! I love beet tops!” I was stunned. Beet tops?! Are you kidding me?

I never forgot that moment, and am happy to report that now I too have kids that generally eat their vegetables (no, not beet tops… I’ll never live up to that one). Another friend asked me today how I managed to pull that off. I am going to share what I told her. But kids can be capricious, so let’s hope I don’t jinx myself by posting this!

My best tip is to start them young. Or rather don’t stop. Go right from Gerber’s pureed squash to the real thing. If that ship has sailed, then the next best thing is to start serving vegetables every day and set the example by happily eating them yourself.

I notice a big difference in intake if I cut the snacks off about 2-3 hours before dinner and serve the veggies first. I also use these tips from Dr. Sears. My take on tip #1: At snack time, I set out an ice cube tray (I got some star shaped ones from the Dollar Store) filled with finger foods and dips (celery, carrots, granola, apples, raisins, broccoli, cheese cubes, peanut butter, ranch, yogurt, etc.) When I introduce something new, I’ll dip some pieces myself and take a few bites saying stuff like “Mmmm, I like the celery with peanut butter” to get them started and show them what’s good.

Presentation also does the trick sometimes too. Last week I wanted to introduce a spinach salad with shrimp. I arranged the food into a monster face (spinach hair, carrot slice eyes, cucumber mouths, and shrimp ears) using ranch as “glue”. They ate it all. Even the shrimp.

If they don’t care for something, however, my husband and I have agreed to skip the battle of wills at the dinner table. Although we are not above negotiating if it gets results. We don’t allow the word “hate” at mealtime. They have been taught to say, “I don’t prefer this” instead. I find it very rude when someone works hard preparing a meal and a kid pushes it away with a face and whines, “I don’t like that.” Especially if I am the one who made the dinner! 

Now let’s discuss particulars if you don’t even know where to start. I don’t bother with canned foods anymore. Too many nutrients leach out during the processing and too much salt is added in. Frozen vegetables are great and, of course, I go for fresh whenever possible.

Here’s what works the best with my kids:

  • baby carrots, raw
  • green beans, frozen or fresh, steamed*
  • broccoli, raw w/ ranch or microwaved*
  • corn, frozen or fresh, boiled or microwaved*
  • cucumbers, raw with ranch (leave some slivers of skin on when peeling)
  • asparagus, grilled w/ olive oil, salt & pepper
  • various lettuces or purple cabbage in salad with ranch
  • baby spinach, raw mixed into salad**
  • salsa w/ chips
  • snow peas, stir fried in sesame oil

Here are some others that they tolerate:

  • yellow squash and/or zucchini, sliced or cut into spears, grilled or sauteed in a pan with butter, salt, and pepper
  • Brussels sprouts cooked a very particular way
  • peas as a condiment (added to stews, chicken pot pies, etc)
  • onions and celery (if I chop them tiny and add them to ground beef, soups, or stews)

*I always steam my vegetables in the microwave by adding the veggies to a Rubbermaid container, covering just the bottom of the dish with water, and adding salt and pepper. I put my lid on loosely, microwave on high for 5 minutes, check and stir. Then cook for 2-4 more minutes depending on how firm I want them. Once they are done, I drain the water, stir in a pat of real butter, and add more salt and pepper to taste. If you are anti-microwave, feel free to steam on the stovetop with a colander.

**I can usually get away with swapping the less nutritious iceberg lettuce with fresh baby spinach in almost anything (salad, tacos, etc.). Lately I have been slipping fresh spinach into other dishes as well (lasagna, omelets, calzones, etc.).

And last but not least, involve the kids in the process. Let them help shop. Even better… help them grow their own. Last year I won my boys over to tomatoes by letting them plant some in a container on the front porch (BTW, if you want to plant from seeds, now is the perfect time to start). The yield was not great and the tomatoes were tiny, but my oldest picked one, popped it in his mouth, and declared that he liked it! I consider that a win. This year we are planting tomatoes and peppers.

So there you go. My secrets. Well… actually, I have one more secret. It’s possible we are winning the veggie battle simply because we cut out the competition. My kids aren’t saints. I’ll be honest, if we had fruit snacks laying around all the time, they would choose those over the carrot sticks. But I save the junk for road trips and Grandma’s house. They don’t seem to be suffering.

I just finished watching the premiere of this movie (available for free until March 31st). Although the information isn’t new to me anymore, I still find it fascinating. The first half of the movie lines up perfectly with the “clean eating” aspect of this blog.  I wish everyone in America would watch at least the first 50 minutes.

My favorite quote:

“We’re overfed […] but starving to death.”

They make the point that a human could easily eat 10,000 calories a day but still desire more because we are not getting what we need from the “edible non-foods” that make up most of our diets. I totally agree with that and I think the average shape of the average American today backs up that fact.

I related very much to the stories about dieting and deprivation. I also like their first few suggestions for change:

  1. Focus on adding in good food instead of forbidding the bad (e.g. serve a salad with dinner) 
  2. Replace overly processed bad foods with it’s exact same healthy equivalent (e.g. replace hormone filled and anti-biotic laden milk with local, fresh milk)
  3. Watch out for MSG, HFCS, and other addictive, harmful chemicals

Towards the middle of the film, the focus shifted away from hard facts to what I felt was more speculative. They encourage you to spend time visualizing how you want to look and feel and loving yourself. It all comes off as a little hokey, but at the same time rings true, if that makes any sense. I do know that we are masters of shaming ourselves, however, and that certainly is not working!

I am also not loving the juicing plug. I guess if you are cutting out so many other foods, you almost have to juice to get enough calories into your body. To be perfectly honest, the one time I tried a “green” drink, I could barely choke it down. Besides, I have no moral or health reservations against buying a happy cow and using it all up over the course of a year. So while I am very supportive of giving our bodies more natural foods, I consider eating happy cows and chickens to be perfectly natural.

I also don’t like that they talk up the diets of our ancestors, but only propose a diet super high in vegetables as optimal. In fact, any traditional ethnic diet is optimal. The Inuits lived almost 100% off of animal products (which they do mention in the film, but then use that to justify adding wild-caught salmon to your menu). But Inuits did not just eat salmon. They ate seal, caribou, polar bear, and whale (including blubber). And their health was off the charts.

I guess my big problem is that I don’t think we are going to win over the population by promoting veggies and juicing. But I do believe that good foods can crowd out bad foods so we can at least start there.

So overall, I highly recommend at least the first half of this video. If you can bring yourself to follow all the suggestions in the last half, by all means do so. But anything that shines a light on the problems with what we are putting in our bodies and calling food is a winner in my book.

UPDATE (3/26): After discussing this movie with a few others, I felt I needed to update my review. I really want to stress that I do not agree that juicing is critical to a healthy lifestyle. I actually think it is rather wasteful. I completely agree with what my sister posted today about juicing fruit. If you have the fortitude and resources to juice and drink that quantity of vegetables, however, I am not going to try and talk you out of it. I really don’t want anyone to feel like juicing is the only way to a healthy life though.

I am sure I am not the only overweight woman who traces her food issues to her childhood and thinks, “what if…” and “if only….”

I am always quick to say I don’t blame my parents for my choices in life. At the same time, the habits ingrained in me as a child have made it hard to change my patterns as an adult.

I really believe that people try to do the best they can with the information they have. If the truth is elusive and confusing now, how much worse was it for our mothers? Women who were figuring out how to be working mothers while still living up to impossible standards as caregivers and homemakers?

That doesn’t change the fact that I grew up thinking water could only be consumed with Kool-aid mix and a cup of sugar. That a lunch consisting of deli meat on white bread, a Little Debbie snack cake, and a juice box was healthy because I threw in an apple. And if you ask 20 random people today if Honey Nut Cheerios is a healthy breakfast, I bet at least 19 of them would say “Yes”, so how was my mom to know any better back in 1985?

But darn it all… I was a skinny kid so I must’ve been healthy, right? I played a lot of sports, rode my bike to school, and was outside every evening until it was too dark to see. Maybe that kept the weight at bay, but I don’t think a return to that lifestyle is the answer for today’s children. For one… it’s just not going to happen in a world where recess is being cut, parents don’t feel safe letting their kids roam the neighborhood, and free time takes the form of “play-dates” in order to fit it into the family’s calendar.

For another, you’ll still wind up with me. The minute I entered the adult world, that level of activity was not sustainable. Things changed drastically in college. I got out of class, went to work, came home and studied. All I wanted to do during my free time was sit at Denny’s with my friends. Not much changed when I entered the workforce. And the weight crept on. 

Look around… I am certainly not alone in this. We have got to learn to eat right. For ourselves and so we can teach our kids. Skinny kids are NOT healthy because they are thin. They are walking time bombs. Just like me.

The weekend before last we went down to my parents’ place for my son’s fifth birthday party. My sister and I have talked with my parents about our new eating habits ad nauseum; they are both interested in what we have to say but don’t see our new lifestyle as being practical or sustainable.

Poking around their cabinets, I see exactly what they mean. I forget just how much tasty, convenient stuff is on the shelves in grocery stores. And my mom has always had a knack for “doctoring up” store bought foods. She was the master of “semi-homemade” before Sandra Lee ever set foot on the stage.
 
I brought dinner for the party Saturday night because my son made a special request, but I woke up Sunday morning hungry and unprepared. Now I am not a stickler about what the kids eat at Grandma’s house when I’m not around. If she wants to feed them cookies all weekend… whatever. She’s the one that has to watch them bounce off her walls all day. But it didn’t even occur to me that I would miss the routines I have established for myself over the past year.

My mom was ready for guests. I found plenty of cereal, bagels, muffin and pancake mixes.  But nothing had an ingredient list that worked for me. It made me recognise just how foreign my eating habits have become.

It’s true.. once I start eating sugar, I just can’t stop!

I chose a bagel and it left me snacky by 9:30am. I added a bowl of cereal, but was ready to eat again when my dad started fixing our waffle brunch an hour later. I ate a large Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream but was already jonesing for more when we got in the car to drive home that afternoon. We only made it forty minutes down the road before I was directing Jeff to pull into McD’s for a “snack”. Oh and did I mention the leftover cake I grazed on every time I walked by the kitchen?

And it’s just that simple to fall back into the downward spiral.

The strange thing is that I went into this “lifestyle change” with a goal of 80/20 (eat right 80 percent of the time and don’t sweat the other 20). Even as I type “lifestyle change” in quotes, I laugh at myself. Like Chris Farley doing air quotes on SNL’s Weekend Update, I use the phrase “lifestyle change” as if it is a concept that I pretend to strive for but don’t really believe in down deep. Those quotes that I used without thinking reflect that subconscious belief.

It never occurred to me that the 80 percent clean eating habits would become the ones I enjoyed. That the 20 percent wouldn’t feel like an indulgence. I always figured people who ate right all the time managed it because either they were lucky enough to have grown up ingrained with good habits or they exercised a  major feat of willpower each and every day. I just never believed down deep in my heart that people didn’t eat fries nonstop or swill Coke all day because it just didn’t taste good to them. Inconceivable!

But the paradigm is shifting. I no longer view a tasty Marie Calendar meal as a treat. It’s a salt pie that sits in my stomach and makes me feel bloated. I eat McDonald’s and feel like crap immediately afterwards. I drink a Coke and can’t wait to have some water to wash the syrupy taste out of my mouth.

While I am happy that these foods no longer have such a powerful hold on me, it also feels like I am severing a bond with humanity. Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic… but seriously. Food is such an important part of community. To turn my nose up at something my mother puts on the table is unthinkable. I never want to do that, and I don’t want to teach my boys to behave that way. And for the record, I still enjoy everything my mom prepares. But it’s unrealistic to expect breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch when I go visiting family. At the same time, my body just feels so much better eating real food. I can’t go a whole weekend eating out of boxes anymore. It’s not a welcome break; it’s no longer a treat.

So I need to learn how to be better prepared. I am sure I can live off of oatmeal for at least a few days….

I said something in my post yesterday that I want to elaborate on:

Many children’s “main sources of food” are “school lunches and convenience foods (Kraft dinners, Tyson nuggets, Betty Crocker pot-pies, Lean Cuisines etc.). The problem with those foods is not so much that you can’t make a meal plan of them that fit the dietary guidelines because you most definitely could.”

I used to count calories when I needed to lose weight. Admittedly it is a very useful strategy to expose and examine your current lifestyle. For awhile I chose to believe the “calorie is a calorie” hype and ate whatever I wanted while “dieting” and just stopped eating when I hit my meal totals. I clearly remember days where I would eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, grab a Twix bar and a pop for lunch, and a Happy Meal for dinner and be well within my calorie limits. Obviously this is a ridiculous way to eat, but I was a “normal” weight in college and arrogantly thought that meant I was healthy. I did not even suspect that I was sabotaging my body.

But let’s paint this picture with shades of gray and see how it gets more complicated. Here is an example of a nutritionist approved meal plan from my gestational diabetes days:

Nutritionist Approved Meal Plan:
Breakfast:
1 cup Cheerios cereal — 110 calories
3/4 cup skim milk  — 85
1 cup Tropicana OJ — 110

Snack:
Yoplait Light Yogurt — 100

Lunch:
Turkey sandwich on white bread — 320
1oz pretzels — 110
1 mozzarella cheese stick — 100
Lite applesauce — 50
Pepsi — 150

Dinner:
Lean Cuisine Sweet and Sour Chicken — 300
12 oz Crystal Light — 10

Snack:
1 cup Edy’s Slow Churned Rich & Creamy Light Chocolate Chip Ice Cream — 240

Total: 1,685 calories

That looks perfectly acceptable on paper, doesn’t it? At my current weight and activity level, my body will burn 2,300 calories a day. So 1,600-1,700 is a great caloric intake for weight loss. The above looks like the perfect plan. All those items can be purchased at any grocery store and whipped together quickly and cheaply. And since meal plans like this are all over the Internet for free, I don’t even have to think ahead or plan! So here you go everyone…. go forth and be fat no more!

But wait… why isn’t this happening?!  No one is pulling this off!  I like all of the above foods. This really sounds like a diet I could stick to. It has ice cream and pop in it for crying out loud!!

To be honest I have pulled this diet off in my day. When I was 21 and needed to lose weight to get into the Air Force, I ate like that for four months and lost 20 pounds. I lost weight this way again when I was put on the military’s “Fitness Improvement Program.” I even managed to lose a few pounds eating like this once I was diagnosed with the gestational diabetes (no small feat when you are pregnant).

But are you noticing a pattern here? Is there something wrong with this picture? Whilst I lost all this weight by counting calories, I also put the weight back on every time. Undoubtedly the calorie counting works to lose. But I never kept the weight off or was able to stick to this sort of plan to maintain. It was never an enjoyable lifestyle. And each time I tried it, I fell off the wagon sooner. My body wasn’t going to live that way and my brain could not overcome what my body wanted.

So for contrast’s sake, here is the clean eating menu I (mostly) stick to now:

Daily Clean Eating Meal Plan
Breakfast:
Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats w/ Craisins and whole milk — 225
Coffee w/ stevia and heavy cream — 50
1 medium banana — 100

Snack:
1 cup homemade vanilla yogurt from whole milk — 135

Lunch:
Chicken sandwich (leftovers on homemade bread) — 500
Apple slices — 60
Carrot sticks — 10
Iced tea w/ lemon and stevia — 0

Dinner:
Large slice homemade meatloaf — 300
Potato wedges — 100
Green Beans — 25
Side Salad (bacon bits, no dressing) — 50
Water — 0

Snack:
2 cups popcorn, oil-popped 110

Total: 1,665

Most of my dinners clock in around 450 calories, lunch is around 600 and breakfast is generally 350 with two light snacks. But I am never hungry. On weekends we make homemade brownies and on Fridays we order pizza. But I am slowly losing weight. If I can eat well, not be hungry, splurge every weekend, and lose weight… what more can I want in life? And I am not dieting. I am eating real food with realistic portion sizes.

So why is it that I can’t maintain the first plan? Well for starters… I don’t eat those portion sizes. 1 cup of cereal? Maybe I pour exactly one cup the first few days of a new diet, but I am never satisfied, and that never lasts. And am I going to teach my kids to weigh and measure every bowl of cereal as well? Is that the lifestyle I want for them? Counting every mouthful? Is that realistic or the recipe for an eating disorder. Or rebellion and an obesity epidemic?

The point is, the first menu gets a USDA stamp of approval. You could find something like it on most of the big food manufacturer’s websites because they are happy to promote the myth that losing weight is simply a matter of cutting calories with the occasional splurge. All of them reformulate and repackage their products to line up with the newest government health claims (“Low Fat”, “Whole Grain”, “No HFCS”).

But the first menu does not lead to a healthy lifestyle. Improvements are temorary. It doesn’t last! You don’t feel good eating this way. You don’t feel full and you never feel satisfied. You roam around your kitchen opening and closing cabinets and poking your head into the fridge. These processed, refined foods turn immediately into sugars that go right through your system and send you scrambling for more.

I don’t like to talk about weight loss on this blog, because I don’t think we should wait until we are obese before re-evaluating our food priorities. Especially where the kids are concerned. I wasn’t raised to eat right but I was thin. I didn’t even know I was “broke” until the weight packed on in college and I didn’t know how to stop it. My parents were great in every other way, but they didn’t have this information. We do. Let’s change.

An interesting question was posed this morning on my favorite discussion forum:

Question:

I’m wondering something here after reading so many responses with [stepkids] that are SOOOOOO overweight. WHY? [….]

Do you think being the child of divorce made this happen or having two separate homes?

My Answer:

We are living in a society with a broken food supply. We feed ourselves and our kids nutritionally devoid foods, we develop a dependence on those foods, and we lose the ability to listen to our bodies and self-regulate. It is NOT about will-power or self control. It is about eating “edible food-like substances” at mealtime instead of real food.

The obesity epidemic among kids is not confined to children of divorce. If you watch any of those documentaries (King Corn, Fast Food Nation, etc.) you will start to see the big picture. I am so concerned about this issue (for myself and my family) that I started a blog about it.

I think my stepson is a good example of this phenomenon. He is a “husky” boy but spends 8 weeks in the summer with us and every summer he slowly loses the extra pounds. I give all the children in the house unlimited access to food, but I do NOT keep any “non-food” (i.e. junk) in the house. And it’s not diet food… it’s stuff like fruit, veggies, whole milk, full-fat cheese, full-fat yogurt, whole wheat crackers and homemade bread with real butter. We even have take-out once a week as a treat. My boys are thin as rails, my husband is normal weight and I have been slowly losing weight since we started changing habits. And like I said, my stepson slims down when he is with us.

My stepson’s main source of food at home is his school lunches and convenience foods (Kraft dinners, Tyson nuggets, Betty Crocker pot-pies, Lean Cuisines etc.). The problem with those foods is not so much that you CAN’T make a meal plan of them that fit the dietary guidelines because you most definitely could. The problem is that those foods do not satisfy. They are practically pre-digested then reconstituted to resemble real food. The fiber and nutrients that make you feel satisfied are lost. This information is not making it out to the world because of marketing and lobbyists. The government considers pizza sauce and french fries to be vegetables.

Kids can’t make these choices for themselves so they CANNOT be blamed for not having access to real food. It’s sad… but all we can do is teach them when they are with us so they can learn how to shop and cook for themselves when they are old enough.

Let me just add that I really don’t blame my stepson’s mother for any of his weight issues. She is doing the best she can with the information she has. This blog is intended to help people like her. People who do their very best, follow the rules, and still struggle with weight loss, hunger, and health issues.

Kicking Habits

February 21, 2012

I always imagined myself as being somewhat resistant to addiction. I never much liked getting drunk, and have never even tried any type of drugs. I smoked a few times in the service, but it didn’t get a hold of me like it did my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

When I was younger though, I used to bite my nails. For as long as I can remember I struggled with that habit. I remember vividly trying to quit. The deals I would make with myself, the tricks I would try. Nothing ever worked.

Every now and again I would manage to grow my nails for a week or so. Then I would look down and notice a snag. I would give myself permission to work on just that one nail. Then bam… it was all over with and I had war torn hands again. Once I started I just could not stop.

I am finding that true with food. If I wake up in the morning and have my oatmeal and coffee, I am usually good to go until lunch. If I think of snacking, a cheese stick or cup of yogurt will do it. Then comes my daily nutritional black hole… lunch.

Like I mentioned before, I really don’t have lunch figured out. I am, however, starting to notice something important: my body knows when I feed it crap. I have just been misinterpreting that information for years. Today, for example, I had a hotdog on a store brand bun. I wanted to eat again within five minutes. Literally, 5 minutes. I then had a bowl of rice pudding. Whilst it was homemade, I used white rice, so that didn’t fill me up either.

At this point in my journey, I know where this sort of thing is headed–an out of control binge-a-thon that only ends once I have polished off the chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows I keep on hand for hot cocoa. I opened the fridge and searched desperately for something to stop the madness. I spied some leftover vegetable and beef soup and finally, that did the trick.

Ever experience anything like that? Ever have a bowl of cereal at a time when you weren’t rushing out the door? Like on a lazy Saturday afternoon? How long is it before you want to eat again? Immediately? Does that bowl of cereal ever make you want to put off dinner? Have you ever found yourself mindlessly pouring another (or four)? If you haven’t felt that you are probably at a healthy weight. You already know that food should not be like that. But for so many of us it is. Some of us can eat and eat and eat and nothing triggers us to stop. 

The cereal thing used to happen to me all the time. I won’t lie, it would still happen if I kept it in the house. Once I figured out it was the nature of powdered, transmogrified corn products to practically dissolve in your system without filling you up, I stopped buying breakfast cereal. But what about hot dogs? Why do they do they same thing? My only conclusion is that they must not really be food. Food should fill you up and leave you satisfied.

So that is my new litmus test for real food. I have to listen to my body and make different choices. In the past the message I heard was “You are not full, eat more of that!” Now the message I hear is “You are not full, that was not real food!” So my new criteria is food must nourish me in order to be considered food. And I have to start over every day. 

Yeah… like duh, eh?

But seriously… if you don’t know what I am talking about then be thankful. But also please stop judging. You can’t know what we go through and what brought us to this place. People used to look down on alcoholics, but now we recognize that they have a disease. I think we need to get to this point with food. It takes more time and it is not as obvious, but bad food is destroying lives. 

We are a sick nation. We have corrupted our food supply and this is the legacy we are passing to our children. You cannot judge an unhealthy eight year old. There is no way they did that to themselves. So please stop judging the overweight 22 year old or 35 year old. At some point her body lost the battle against the barrage of crap being shoved in her face. She lost control and will power won’t restore the balance. Food will. Real food.

That’s where I am at. I was fat and then I started eating right. I haven’t lost it all, but for the first year, I was just happy to stop gaining. And as I take steps, the weight has been coming off. It’s slow, but for the first time in my life, I don’t care. This isn’t about the weight loss anymore. It’s about feeling good. It’s about liking myself and feeling alive.

So I didn’t mean to turn this into a rant. But I finally understand. Stop telling us to just watch what we eat and have certain foods in moderation.  It’s not working. We need to learn to eat real food. Oh and it wouldn’t hurt to stop shoving the crap in our faces.

Progress Can Be Demoralizing

February 20, 2012

Do you ever find yourself moving slowly but surely towards a goal then all of sudden you get demoralized? I was feeling that way last week.

I have been reading on Food Renegade about how grains should be prepared in order for our bodies to make the most of them. I was just getting used to baking my own bread from whole wheat flour, and eating oatmeal for breakfast everyday. Now it turns out I should be soaking that oatmeal in yogurt overnight, and only using freshly milled sprouted grains in my bread.

I might could deal with the yogurt idea. We all love yogurt around here and the thin consistency of homemade yogurt  would lend itself nicely to our morning oatmeal. But you can’t just buy sprouted flour at Meijer. Or even Trader Joe’s. You have to frickin’ order it off the Internet and it is expensive!

This stuff can be overwhelming if you discover all these new ideas and try to implement them all at once. When I read that “sprouted, soaked, or fermented” thing I dutifully soaked some steel cut oats that very night. It wasn’t that hard and it was pretty tasty the next day. I sat there staring at my tangy bowl of oat-gurt trying to convince myself that this change was no big deal. But really I just felt defeated. My thoughts quickly changed from “I can do this” to “I am baking my own frickin’ bread and I am still doing it wrong?!”

I didn’t bake any bread for a week after that and that’s when I knew it wasn’t time to make this change. I get the grain thing and the stuff about the phytic acid… I really do. I just don’t think I can go that route right now. If a change is too overwhelming it ends up being demoralizing. I would rather go slow, then go backward. 

So let’s just forget about the sprouting and the yogurt and save the fermenting for beer. I am much more excited about trying raw milk…. One thing at a time.

Amish Farms Under Fire

February 13, 2012

I find this sort of thing demoralizing:

How in the world are we supposed to turn back the clock on our horrible dietary patterns if the government wages war against us? I don’t even drink raw milk (yet) but I am sick at the idea that people who want to are being controlled like this.