Get me off this food roller coaster!!

Remember when the advice was to eat three whole meals a day? And that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? But then it changed to having six small meals a day was better for you?

Remember when we were told to avoid carbohydrates at all cost? Gluten? Or that meat was going to be the death of us? Then we were told that the Caveman Diet (Paleo) was the way to go?

But not to be outdone, from somewhere else it’s being extolled that FASTING! Fasting works wonders!

SOUTH BEACH DIET, ATKINS DIET, BODY FOR LIFE, WEIGHT WATCHERS, JENNY CRAIG, YOU ON A DIET, THE ZONE DIET, THE RAW DIET…

Aaaaaaaargh! Is your head spinning like mine is?

If it is, you’re likely choking on all the nutritional advice being shoved down your throat. It’s enough to make me want to head down to my beloved Taco Bell and beg for its forgiveness for having neglected it for so long.

The problem is behind almost every diet is a very real and rational science. With support from nutritionists and health professionals, even your doctor! You may even know people who have done well with one of the diets  – and they swear by it! And they’re all very convincing! And they all mean well! One minute you’re stuffing your face with bacon and then the next you’re eating more green, leafy things than goats and cows!

ENOUGH!

I am tired of being made to feel insecure about my food decisions. I am tired of counting calories. I am tired of jumping from one diet wagon to another. I am tired of bookmarking every single article on what to eat – for the “optimal ME!”

I just want to feel good. I want to be happy. I don’t want to be just physically healthy – I want to be emotionally healthy as well. And most of all I don’t want to waste a single moment fretting over a damn cupcake!

I am done with all the noise. I am done with all the food bullying. I am done listening to others. I need to listen to my body.

YOUR truth lies somewhere amidst the chaos. Let me reassure you that your gut is probably right. If a certain nutritional diet plan doesn’t make you feel good, then you should do something else. Humans are as unique on the outside as they are on the inside. What works for your best friend isn’t necessarily going to work for you. You have to find what does.

My friend, Joy of The Joy of Acupuncture, suggested a food journal. No, not so you can obsess over every single calorie but so that you can pay close attention to your body’s reaction to the food that you eat. Yes, tracking everything that you eat is a pain in the neck. But you might discover that raw foods just ain’t your thang. Or that eating fruits late in the day keeps you awake at night. Maybe gluten makes you gassy. From there you can build on a diet plan that works for you. With food that makes you feel good, gives you energy, lets you thrive and do all the things that you want to do.

Obviously, if you declare that you’re going on an all-McDonalds all-the-time plan because that would make you “happy,” I would probably block your way with an electrified cattle prod. If you really listen to your body, I doubt you would hear “let’s eat more junk!”

So today I am declaring myself FREE! Be the master of my own dietary fate! I am going to figure out what foods are good fuel for my body and I am going to stop worrying about what the latest and greatest is in nutritional news.

Won’t you join me? Tell me what your relationship with food has been like. Do you have any tips?

Photo via Flickr (Creative Commons) by Meredith_Farmer.

Advertisements

Why I’m never eating at Fogo de Chao again…

Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse chain. For $50 you can eat your weight in meat. The food is great and the service is good. It was Mecca to me. So why am I swearing to never eat there again?

I went to Fogo de Chao in May to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was our special occasion restaurant. We were both tremendously excited to be there and when the various meats on a stick started coming we were over the moon! We couldn’t wait to stuff our faces! And then more kept coming… And more… And more… I was not done with the meat I was currently chewing before the next one came along and pretty soon my plate was piled high with half-eaten delectable, greasy pieces.

As I was chewing I started to feel sick to my stomach. I was eating too much and wasting so much more. I felt out of control. I was starting to get a headache (a meat headache?). My husband and I grew quiet during the meal… No longer so effusive… No longer feeling great… Staring at the carnage in front of us. I pushed my plate away. I flipped over my circle card to the red side to indicate that I was done. And boy was I done. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Why did that great meal make me feel so terrible? Perhaps because it was gluttony at its best. I was almost embarrassed at the ostentatious amount of food that kept coming and the amount of food that was left behind on my plate. Everyone was chowing down and since it was “all-you-can-eat” it didn’t matter whether or not you finished what was on your plate. You could just get more! Yay!

But the way I was thinking about food was changing. I was acutely aware of food – How it’s made… Where it comes from… How it’s prepared… I recently learned of livestock production’s hefty carbon footprint. (And why can’t meat processing plants be more open about their operations?!?) I just never really thought about it. But here we were at this fancy shmancy restaurant not even bothering to eat our plates clean! Ack!

At the end, I just didn’t feel good… about any of it.

No, I am not giving up meat any time soon but I can make better decisions as far as where my food comes from. I can eat less of it. And I can start demanding better for the environment.

And, yes, I realize that plenty of restaurants are not concerned with sustainable foods or locally grown produce. So I’m not necessarily targeting Fogo de Chao… It just happened to be the place that finally pushed me over the edge.

So tell me… What pushed you over the edge?

My blog on the side…

I confess to being unfaithful… I have been working on another blog. A mistress, if you please. But it had to be done. This blog is tangentially-related to this blog in that it’s solely about food… Healthy food. Technically it’s my husband’s blog and it is all about the meals he is creating at home with the vegetables that I have a love-hate relationship with. But being that I am more technologically savvy – he cooks, I take pictures and slap it on the internet. He gets all the glory while I stuff my face with mushrooms and cheese. A win-win.

Without further ado, here it is:

Yogitastic on Food

It is a work in progress. The plan is to include recipes and cooking tips. But for now it’s a little bit of food porn. Enjoy!

Attack of the killer veggies (Changing eating habits)

The second batch of vegetables from our CSA was a little more exciting than last week’s. I can’t wait to see what hubs will do with the eggplants and the portobello mushrooms!!

In case you were wondering what exactly all the hoopla is about below is our list of vegetables for this week:

1 Pint Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
2 Italian Eggplants
1 Bag Mixed Baby Sweet Peppers
1 Head Red Romaine Lettuce
1 Bag Chioggia Beets
3 Green Bell Peppers
1 Bag Sweet Onions
1 Head Green Savoy Cabbage
1 Li’l Sweetie Cantaloupe
1 Bag Garlic
1 Package Portobello Mushroom Caps
1 Bag Red Gold Potatoes
1 Bunch Curly Parsley
4 Ears of Corn

I’m lukewarm about the beets but I think I’ll live. Maybe I’m a 100% convert after all?!?

How I learned to stop worrying and love the CSA

For a few years now, my husband (a.k.a. “the cook”) has been enamored with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). He liked the idea of supporting a local farm where he would receive high quality vegetables (often organic) and where growers  and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. Sure, he would have no control over the seasonal vegetables that he received but that’s part of the culinary adventure! (Oh boy!)

We finally signed up and waited eagerly (him)/anxiously (me) for the first pick up. He could barely contain his excitement. I, on the other hand, was filled with trepidation at the veggies (a.k.a. my green nemesis) that were to come. As a child I was a really picky eater and it always turned into a vegetable showdown between my grandmother and 10-year old me. Sometimes she won and sometimes I sat at the dining room table for several hours – taking on the challenge of not leaving the table until my plate was clean.

Luckily, my husband has been patiently introducing healthy items into my diet over the years (i.e. I no longer bleed bacon grease.) He assured me that he could prepare all the CSA food in a way that I could ingest it without gagging. All he asked was that I be willing to try.

This week we picked up our first full share and to my horror our first delivery had okra in it. OKRA! I hate okra!! I have childhood memories of my grandmother force-feeding me okra! ::shudder:: (Unfortunately, my petition to rid the world of okra failed miserably.) But we survived this near disaster by swapping out the okras with green peppers. ::whew:: That was a close one!

But then another problem presented itself. We had a busy weekend planned and it would require several meals being eaten outside of our home. Now we were in danger of food going to waste. A prospect neither one of us could stomach. But at what price? I didn’t want my life to revolve around food! Something I swore I would never do! Plus, it’s still nice out! I socially hibernate during cold weather so I have to get all my socializing in now before I have to whip out my long johns! “I refuse to stay home!” I loudly declared. “Well, I’m not throwing food out!” he yelled back.

It resulted in a tense standoff with hubs on one end holding a zucchini and me on the other holding a beer. Who was going to win this showdown?

Vegetable Showdown

Ultimately, we both did. Like all great peace treatises, we compromised. We tweaked our going-out plans a bit to allow us to eat dinner at home before heading out with friends. Crisis averted. For now.

It is not always going to work out so neatly and it will take some major adjustments so that we don’t end up wasting food. But I am proud of this commitment and I hope that it will make a difference. Good for me and good for the environment.

I will let you know how we fare at the end of this vegetable experiment.

Only 18 more weeks to go… ::sigh::

If you have any advice on getting through and thriving or if you have any experience you’d like to share, it would be really appreciated!

Image via Flickr (creative commons) by twodolla.