Friday, February 1, 2013

You are what you eat?

So I just watched a documentary on Netflix. It's called Hungry for Change. Before it got to the end and devolved into a juicing and detox infomercial (seriously, I hate that stuff... if I want to eat more fruits and vegetables, I will eat more fruits and vegetables, nutrients and fiber intact, and you can't detox anyway. Your body doesn't work that way, and there is NO credible science that they work.) it was actually very enlightening and intelligent.

One of the things they talked about constantly was how our bodies get effectively addicted to sugar, because sugar is in EVERYTHING. If you're a big white bread eater, that gets basically metabolized right into sugar, too.

This made a lot of sense to me. I know that when I eat simple carbs, I STAY hungry... I can't get enough. Eat chinese food with lots of pasta or rice, or italian with pasta, or mexican with flour tortillas, and I'll be hungry again in an hour... no matter how much I ate.

I'm not a low-carber. I don't endorse the diets. I'm sure they work for some people, but I'm not interested in eliminating nutrients, nor reducing them. Carbs are not the devil. I like carbs. A LOT! In fact, carbs are actually the body's preferred quick fuel source. There's a reason distance runners carbo-load before marathons! The problem comes when we eat overly refined carbs that metabolize straight into sugar when we eat them, and eat more than our bodies burn, so it gets stored right away as fat. And leaves the body starving for nutrition while it's full from the calorie overload you just gave it. High in calories, low in nutrition.

I recently saw a person on SP who was complaining about gaining weight in spite of eating in her calorie ranges. I peeked at her trackers, and was stunned to find that yes, she's eating between 1200-1550 calories a day, but 30-50% of that was all candy and sweets! Trips to Starbucks, candy for lunch... its no wonder she isn't losing! All calories are not created equal. 100 calories of broccoli is so much you can't finish it, and it's packed with vitamins and minerals that keep you full and healthy. 100 calories of chocolate is gone in a flash, and leaves you hungry and wanting more. If you want your body to be healthy, you have to fuel it properly.

I think what I DO need to do is start focusing on the quality of my foods. I'm already moving in that direction. I eat whole grains instead of refined white stuff. Whole wheat bread, pasta, etc. I'm trying to add more veggies; I'm up to 5-6 servings of vegetables a day... up from 0-2.

I'm going to focus more on eating healthy and clean. Whole foods, made-from-scratch seasonings and such. Part of the reason I have such a sodium problem is because I tend to easy to make kits and prepackaged stuff, frozen prepared foods (like pre-breaded chicken) and stuff to heat and eat.

So I think my project for the next month is to make as much of the food I eat as possible to not have a nutrition label.  Fruits, veggies, and meats from the outside perimeter of the store. I'm going to aim to reduce my sugar intake. I'm not going for perfection here, I'm just going to start adding this stuff gradually.

Today I already started down that road; dinner consisted of fajitas with fresh-cut bell peppers and onions, with chicken breasts. The kids both got a helping of raw bell peppers and onions. While at the grocery store, we took a look at some cereal. The two boxes I picked up were strawberry mini wheats, and Special K with strawberries.

On the box of strawberry mini wheats? No mention of strawberries. There's a long laundry list of long, unpronounceable chemical names, but no strawberries in it. Mmmm, it does have sorbitol, though!

The Special K? Rice. Whole grain wheat. sugar, wheat bran, strawberries, brown sugar, wheat fiber, less than 2% salt, and malt flavoring.

This is the natural progression for me. I'm already aiming, instead of "I can't have it but I want it" for "I can have it but I don't want it." I don't deny myself anything, but as I've learned more about
what's in my food, how many calories things "cost", that they just aren't appealing. I am resolving to read those labels, and choose things that have the fewest. While eating some "reduced sugar" instant oatmeal today, I looked at the label in horror to find a list of some 20+ ingredients, including artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

So I threw it away, and bought a container of instant oatmeal. Ingredient list: Oats. I can add my own brown sugar and maple syrup if I want it.

I had chips with dinner for the first time in a month, and it just... wasn't good. I didn't even finish them. I've gotten to where I always have a bag of carrots and broccoli in the fridge for easy snacking. I just need to expand my options. Instead of grabbing an msg-laden fajita seasoning mix, I need to make my own. I have dozens of cookbooks I never use. I just need to stop being lazy, and start doing what is good for my family, and for me.

Besides, it's hella cheaper than going out to eat all the time.

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