December 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m gonna be quite frank with you and let you in on a little secret. During this past year of diet/food changing habits, I’ve never really thought about why the food that I was putting into my body was so much better for me than what I was doing before. At the very strong chance of sounding dumb, I never thought it was so simple:
Food vs. food product.
Why hadn’t I thought of this before? It really comes down to how many food items I’m putting into my body daily, weekly, monthly that come, not only in a package, but with an ingredients list. Versus those that don’t.
When I became conscious of this fact a few weeks ago, my buying habits changed once again. Instead of buying veggie broth or pesto in a jar or hummus ready made, I began rethinking what I was buying and asked myself,
• How easy would it be to take this from a food product to a food?
• Would it be cost effective?
• Can I make it time-efficiently?
• Is there an alternative that is a food or foods rather than this food product?
• If none of the above, do I really need it?
When I started becoming more aware of the ingredients list, I made different choices of what I purchased and put inside of me. Not only did I begin to buy fewer food products when I asked myself this series of questions, but I decided to cut out some foods altogether and make my own from scratch–like homemade crackers! Mmmm!
It’s not an easy choice to make. I must admit, there’s a mentality that goes along with food products that come in boxes, jars, cartons, and so on. They’re marketed as “easy”; as something that will make cooking a breeze. I’ve had to break that perspective and say to myself, “Homemade is not more difficult than a box. It’s a lifestyle shift. And a good one at that.”
I want the food that I put into my body to allow me to live longer. And happier. I want to feel confident that I’m giving my family foods that will give them health when they are feeling sick, depressed, tired, or stressed. And that’s what food is to me.
Try it this week. Take 3 food products on your list and find recipes to turn them into foods. Ask yourself the above questions and start feeling better about what you’re putting inside of your beautiful body. Food vs. food product: it’s as simple as that.
November 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
A friend recently asked me how I keep my fridge so clean and organized, lamenting that she would like hers to look the same and asking about my system. It got to where it’s at through a few simple lifestyle changes and then I’ve just kept it the same. Trever, of course, has jumped on bored to my zen fridge style. And thus, our Weekly Eating began.
1. Start Here: Start with what you have. The problem most people encounter in the first place is overbuying for the week. Go shopping in your own cupboards and fridge. Create a meal plan list. Use up every last jar of pasta sauce, jam, dressing, etc. all before you shop again for more. Obviously, buy fresh fruit and veg when yours goes bad. Buy and use only fresh for the week.
2. Clean it Out: After you’ve taken inventory of your non-perishables, throw out the stuff that’s no good and expired. If you have items that are good that you never liked–like that dressing you didn’t care for–give it to a neighbor.
3. Keep Using: I know you still have stuff in your cupboards and fridge you haven’t used. Create a meal plan list. Buy fresh fruit and veg. Repeat as necessary.
4. Diet Plan: Once all the old is gone for the most part–condiments, spices, etc. should be left–figure out how you want to eat. You’ve given yourself a second chance to start from scratch. Decide what food you want to put into your body and stick to it. Put the list somewhere you’ll see it. Make it a family plan, if necessary. Start researching recipes that fit what you want to eat. Create a meal plan list.
5. Now the Shopping: The key to a clean, organized fridge is to shop for the week. Just the week and only the week. It’s a perspective change. It’s removing the bulk buy mentality or the that-looks-good point of view completely. You just buy what you need. For the week.
And that’s it! “What about if we run out of this or that,” you ask? You add it to the list for next week. You make do with what you have. You wait a few more days for it. I keep a running list of what I ran out of (usually spices) for my next shopping day. I shop for groceries at the store on Wednesday’s and at the Farmers Market on Thursday’s.
If you’re concerned about having food and water in an emergency, create an emergency kit. Store non-perishables that you can use for two or three days in that. Then you won’t have to fret any longer.
It’s simple enough. And it’s just one zen way to shop. What you eat should not be stressful. It should give you energy, make you feel good, and keep you from getting sick. That’s another food blog in itself.
Community Discussion: How will your cupboards and fridge change? What dietary updates would you like to make?
Photo: Fresh homemade tomato soup. 8 tomatoes, 1 yellow onion, 2 apples, 1 quart of veggie broth, and salt to taste. Blending till creamy: Optional.
August 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been really into food lately. As Trever pointed out tonight while I was making dinner, I’ve been making “gourmet” meals. What he means by gourmet is that I’ve been creating dishes from scratch rather than a box. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but it’s really started taking on a new level of deep satisfaction: it’s whole, raw, tasty meals that fill us up and help us to feel even better inside and out than we did before we ate.
This process has been going on since last August when we moved to Glendale. I started walking to the Farmer’s Market every Thursday and began shopping at Whole Foods after deciding that the local Ralph’s and Vons weren’t that awesome for choices with a diet like mine–gluten and casein-free whole food lover.
In October of last year after watching “No Impact Man,” I decided to try to eat 75% local food for 31 days. I’m excited to say I did it, we did it. And Trev lost over 10 pounds eating veg. (He should be a vegetarian according to Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s Eat Right For Your Type, so it makes sense.)
In May when I became pregnant, I also became very ill with morning sickness 24/7. At that point, Trever took over the grocery shopping for ten weeks while I was unable to do it without you-know-whating–I tried once and it didn’t end well in July. Tonight while I was cooking linguini with a red lentil sauce, he said he just did what he had to in order to survive. He ate top ramen, bean and cheese burritos, canned soups, peanut butter filled with sugar, and macaroni and cheese. Needless to say, he started gaining wait, lost focus, and felt more exhausted even though he wasn’t working a carpentry job.
Around the beginning of this month, I started doing one of my favorite things: watching movies on my Netflix app. I watched “The Girl…” trilogy in Swedish, Stardust, The Secret of Moonacre, and countless documentaries. One of the docs that Netflix suggested to me–and was simultaneously suggested through another friends blog–was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross.
After watching fifteen minutes of it, I told Trev he had to see this inspiring story of an Australian guy who completes a sixty-day juice diet (and then some) and goes from drab to fab. At the end of the movie, Joe is one good looking man and he changes the life of Phil Staples and countless others.
I realized how I spent the past ten weeks in bed or on the couch and I was ready for change. I got our grocery spending on a budget and created a weekly meal plan to cook real, whole, delicious food. Another side effect of being pregnant this time around has been not wanting meat, so Trev is back to losing weight and feeling awesome. And so am I.
It may sound simple to you. Heck, it may even sound crazy. What you put into your body effects every single last part of who you are. It can either bring you health, vitality, and wellness by acting like a medicine. Or cause you anxiety, pain, depression, sickness, and countless other diseases and side-effects by acting like a poison and working against you.
Food might not feel that way when you’re putting it into your mouth, but not getting micronutrients (fruits, veggies) will actually promote everything from colds to cancer (See Dr. Furhman’s website for more sweet info).
I hate to admit it, yet after my ten-week food sabbatical, for the first time in my life I am not persuaded by junk food. I’m free of the desire of a quick fix of a burger and fries and eat the almonds, rye crackers, and fruit I brought with me. I no longer notice fast food joints and start dreaming instead of the pesto sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach that I can make in 5 minutes at home. I can even go to party’s and see yucky food and remind myself how I’ll feel after I eat it and go, “Oh yeah, it sucks. I’d rather eat whole food.”
It may have took 27 years and the worst morning sickness I’ve ever experienced to finally get me to this point, but it was worth it. They say if you stop eating the bad stuff, you stop craving it. Well, I guess ten weeks is enough. Maybe Joe Cross had a point with those 60 days. I think I’ll keep this going. I want to live as long as possible for Trev, Audrey, and the person that’s baking inside of me.
Photo: Audrey eating by “candlelight.”
July 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been an omnivore all my life. Before my sister and I were in high school, my dad would take the fam on business trips with him. One of my favorite places to go was San Luis Obispo.
We would drive five hours up the coast from our home in North San Diego and find ourselves in a quaint, nostalgic little beach town. My sister, mom, and I would explore the area and have picnics at the beach. We’d eat at the same hole in the wall famous hot dog place. Visit Bubble Gum Alley. And get candy at the best mom and pop candy spot in town.
My favorite event by far though was visiting the country-esque McLintock’s Saloon and Dining House. They served a kids meal-sized steak with tasty sides like fries or mac and cheese. After you were finished with your dinner (you had to finish everything on your plate), you got a bowl of ice cream and a pick from the saddle bags of toys that the server would put on the back of your chair. I looked forward to that dinner more than anything else during the trip. It’s like the Disneyland of steakhouses.
Those smells and memories will forever live in my mind. Lately though, I haven’t been feeling so nostalgic. Over the fourth of July weekend, I purchased organic chicken and steak from Whole Foods. I spent a pretty penny and realized it was one of the first times I’d purchased raw meat at the grocery store in months.
The parties were a huge hit. All three of us had a good ol’ time. On Sunday night I ate about four ounces of chicken and then proceeded to have nightmares all night. Not about chicken, silly, but because my body. My digestive system at the moment is all out of whack. I’ve continuously noticed that it occurs more and more consistently when I eat meat. I’ve got gastritis and other issues, it seems…causing the craziest dreams!
I’m not into saying “I’m this” or “I’m that!” I’m okay with eating vegetarian for right now and eating meat when I’m craving it (once a week or whatever it is) and dealing with the dreams that come like movies on the big screen at night. I think the best technique for me in any case is nothing to an extreme. When I give myself absolutes, I get stressed out. Maybe you can relate with me on this one.
A lot of people like structure and rules for themselves. And I totally get how that would be comfortable. I even have them for myself (e.g. I will not put myself in a compromising situation with another person for the sake of respecting my relationship with Trever), but I try not to write them down or dwell on them. I know there are many things from my past and the fact that I’m a laid-back second born that has caused me to be this way.
In the end, it comes down to you doing what you feel is best for yourself. And not having to push that on other people. At the moment, I’m pushing my agenda of respecting other people’s perspectives. We all do it. I wrote this blog before my good friend Bronya posted “Anyone got any vegetarian recipes? Thinking about trying it for a couple weeks!” on her Facebook. It turned into an all out war with over 30 posts. This can be applied to anything. Dietary habits. Philosophies. Religion. Remember McLintock’s. Remember we all must live truth to the fullest unto ourselves.
Someday I’ll take Audrey to that steakhouse and Pebble Beach, and Bubble Gum Ally. And hopefully she’ll know: You can do whatever is best for you.