Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Know your food

I have a few friends who are always talking about the different diets they’ve tried or are currently trying in their attempt to drop a few pounds or at the very least eat healthier. Some of my friends have done well on their endeavors. Then there are others who have just no clue.
I love food hence the reason I don’t diet. I prefer to enjoy a little bit of everything in moderation and then try to do some exercise or activity that will help maintain my weight or burn extra calories to drop a few pounds.
There is no way I would have ever survived certain diets if I had attempted them. Take for example the grapefruit diet. Don’t get me wrong, I love grapefruit but not 24-7-365. Day one would have been OK, but by day two it would be something along the lines of this.

Let’s see, another grapefruit or this bowl of pasta salad lightly dressed with olive oil and parmesan cheese…hmmm……..ummm…yeah PASTA SALAD.

Now don’t start slamming me with emails saying I’m a diet hater, far from it. But the people I know who have been successful on their respective diets are the ones who understand that a true diet isn’t just about a specific type of food.
A real diet means being conscious of what you eat, why you eat, when you eat, how much you eat and what additional activities are being done to offset some of the eating.

It means making better choices.

For example the one decision I did make recently was to focus on whole-foods while avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
By cooking my own meals I can control how much salt I add. Cooking for myself also means there are no added chemical preservatives that I can’t pronounce in my ingredients. I cook enough so that I can portion and have meals ready for most of the week. This way I still have a healthier alternative ready on busy days instead of grabbing a combo meal at McDonald’s or Taco Bell.
There are days when eating out is the only option but the more I plan and make ahead the less likely I cheat. Everyone should have cheat days but it shouldn’t be every day.

At the grocery store I shop the perimeter while avoiding most of the middle aisles. The perimeter is where you find the basic staples of a healthy meal. It’s the produce section and meat and dairy section of nearly every store you walk into. The middle aisles are mostly processed foods like sodas, chips, popcorn and snacks. There are a few aisles in the middle worthy of a visit but for the most part it’s the junk food section I try to avoid.
The important aspect of any diet is knowing what you are eating and by that I mean knowing where it came from or made and what’s in it. If you read the ingredients and don’t know what half of the stuff is or can’t pronounce it then your body doesn’t need it.
Getting in touch with your food and food choices is something we’ve lost in the last two decades. Everything is fast-food either through a drive-thru or out of a box and three-minute microwave. But ask yourself is that stuff really food.

And if you decide to stick to a diet at the very least become educated about it. Recently one of my clueless friends told me she was going on the Paleo diet.

Friend: “Hey I’m on that new Paleo diet, you know the one where you only eat stuff that the caveman ate.”
Me: “Oh so mostly meat, fish, vegetables and fruit right?”
Friend: “Yes that’s the one, heading out know to get a bucket of KFC chicken, just chicken, no sides.”
Me: “Ummmmmm, not quite sure that’s how it works but you go right ahead. Good luck with that.”

Unfortunately she will likely fail in her latest quest since she seems to miss the point on what a true diet entails. Sometimes I just want to shake her until she comes to her senses.

Hey fool, going to KFC does not make you a hunter-gatherer. If you truly wish to eat like the cavemen did, make yourself a spear, spend the better part of the day foraging for berries and hunting for fowl. Then prep your harvested fowl and cook it over an open fire because I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t have an oven or a microwave, seven secret spices and crispy crust….just saying…keep it real. And while you’re at it the KFC is two blocks away…why drive when you can at least act like you hunting by walking there!

The cleaner you eat the better you feel. You truly are what you eat so junk in equals junk out (and all around the midsection).

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