"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Eating To Live

I have a pal who keeps asking me to write a post about how I eat. I've written before about my foodie philosophy thoughts but never specifically about meal planning and nutrition and health and what I think about eating well. So, this post is for you, Jo....
Fresh vegetables are important components of a...
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I'm the daughter of a hippie, raised on Adelle Davis and granola so in some sense health and deep interest in natural eating has been ingrained in me. (Thanks Mama! I'm eternally grateful!) I've done all kinds of reading and research about food and the upshot of my study is that I really, truly believe that whole foods, as found in nature are healthy and processed foods, particularly refined flour and sugar are poison. I know that sounds unnaturally strong and unpopular but its what I really have uncovered. I eat grains if they're whole, I try to minimize breads, pastries and pasta since flour doesn't do us a lot of nutritional favors. We have pasta once a week, for Sunday night dinner and it is always whole grain, sometimes I eat the sauce over steamed or sauteed veggies instead of noodles.

Here are some of the food tips I use to try to guide myself to eat well:
  • Three colors of produce at each meal.
  • Each dinner I make has a protein source (not necessarily animal), a cooked veggie, a raw veggie and a fruit, and sometimes a grain (usually rice or quinoa).
  • Solid breakfast every day....no exceptions, ever.
  • Drinks at our house are water, milk, tea and coffee (once a day on occasion), and lately sometimes fresh juice I make in my juicer.
  • Chocolate is our sweet of choice, always dark an eaten in small squares. 
  • Fat is not the enemy. We drink whole milk, we butter our veggies, we eat our steaks untrimmed, we saute in olive oil and we eat cheese regularly. (note however, that none of us are lactose intolerant)
  • I cook and shop from a subscription menu planner that is delivered to my email account weekly. You can find it here, if you're curious.
  • We buy fruit in quantity and keep it out in the open to encourage eating it for snacks.
I've done all kinds of things to stay healthy I've weaned myself down to skim milk, I've eaten diet products, I've lived on gas station cappuccinos, but I feel healthier sticking to my current eating regime than I ever have in my life. And the research heavily supports this kind of eating. There is a lot of evidence to prove the theory that something serious is wrong with modern, Western eating...people all over the world are leaving their native diets and adopting our fast food, convenience lifestyle and they are suddenly and dramatically inheriting our legacy of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. I truly believe that aging in a strong, fit way is possible and normal on the right diet. Although exercise is supportive and good, evidence tells us the most alarming factor is that we've left foods that make us strong and healthy for foods that are toxic, dangerous poison. I really believe that modern processed foods are the single source of most current health issues in America.

Lest you think I'm some sort of glowing, fork holding poster child, let me share that I am also a compulsive eater who has major weakness in the food department. I have a hard time coping with emotions, usually negative ones and I eat to calm down and feel good again. I wish a salad made me feel sane again but right now I'm pretty trapped in eating foods that I know are toxic and dangerous when the panic hits. I can eat well most of the time but as soon as the chips are down...I head for a gas station candy bar or a cookie stashed in the freezer from Christmas...or five or eight. I want to kick this habit. I need to learn other ways of calming myself and I need to just cut these dangerous foods out of my life so they aren't even there in the freezer if life does take a sudden bad turn.

I was just saying today that I am pretty committed to eating a real food, no processed goods diet but I need some form of support. So, at homeschool coop today, I told the other crunchy mommies about my plan...and then afterwards we ran to Whole Foods to pick up a couple things and serendipitously there was a woman there, signing people up for the Eat Right America Challenge, a 28 day real foods pledge with built in email and real life support. If you have a local store, you might want to think about joining me. 
English: Fruit on display at La Boqueria marke...
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If you're curious about where I'm getting these wild nutrition ideas consider checking out a few of the following sources and beginning your own research campaign:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Nourishing Traditions
Real Food, What to Eat and Why
The Omnivores Dilemma
Deep Nutrition
50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People

Sick Fat and Nearly Dead
Food Inc.
Fast Food Nation
Forks Over Knives

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