Archive for ‘junk food’

February 22, 2013

Bottom lines…

Having been on a sort of “dietary walkabout” the lat 6 months or so I can say that I’ve come to a few conclusions-

a very few conclusions.

Conventional wisdom, as I remember it, generally has held the that way to “lose” weight was essentially a math formula- calories in, calories out. You want to be thinner? Eat less! Workout more! Tame your appetite! This is the mantra I’ve heard circulating throughout my entire life.

There is no shortage of “diet fads.” In this country in particular we have become a nation obsessed with image and depressed with the results we see, which leads to more obsession, then depression and so on. We get into a dangerous cycle always following that carrot on a stick to be a thinner, fitter, more pleasing version of ourselves. Until we read that the glycemic index of that carrot on the stick may be making us fatter. So we replace the carrot with aspartame fueled soda until a study tells us that the chemicals are embalming us from the inside. The diet drink becomes a porterhouse steak and the authorities scream, “Keytones!” We back away from the red meat and move toward soy but that becomes the enemy before too long, that crafty soy acting as a hormone in our bodies, a wolf in sheep’s skin and pretty soon we discover that the cupboard is bare. Chemicals will kill us, carbs will make us fat, protein will poison our tissues, soy will do who knows what.

I admit there are moments when I sit down on my kitchen floor, head in hands with absolutely no idea what to eat.

The bottom line as I see it is that there is no panacea, no one size fits all, no miracle cure for everyone. The world has shifted, our bodies are bombarded now with chemicals and free radicals and heavy rotation advertising slogans, to continue to employ “conventional wisdom” or even fad diets ends up being a fail, which leads to depression and culminates in strengthening the obsession with being thinner, being fitter- even being healthier becomes an unreachable goal given the overwhelming and conflicting data!

The one common refrain I hear when I ask someone about a type of diet they’ve tried, “Well, it totally worked for me!” or “So and so lost all this weight eating that way!” The data is conflicting and confusing but the anecdotal evidence is compelling. What’s a person to do?

Here are a few things that occur to me in this drama free fitness realm:

1) Know thyself-

Your body is your own. No one knows you better than you know yourself. Do the work necessary to understand how foods affect you. Keep a food journal. Note how you feel or how your clothes fit with each passing day. Not everyone needs to cut out fats or sugars or gluten. Figure out what your body responds WELL to in the food area of your life and feed it that.

2) Forget the carrot-

In fact, throw down the stick too. What would it look like to just spend time celebrating things you love about your body for a little while? It does no good to be running after that carrot on the stick day after day, week after week, month after month only to realize you’ve been running in a circle for years. The goal of being healthy is a good one but it’s a daily, probably hourly, series of choices we make and they ALL go back to a goal of loving ourselves enough to care for ourselves and our families. The carrot on the stick is a lie at best.

3) Become a delish-itarian.

My friend Sarah coined this to me one day and I’ve never forgotten it. Let’s stop making food our enemy, shall we? Clearly, we want to make choices that sustain us and avoid the free radicals and the chemicals and the genetically modified foods AND how about we re-introduce ourselves to our taste buds too. Every meal, ask yourself what you taste! Look, I’m no saint, people, I wander over to the Sonic Drive In from time to time. There’s no shame in that. Instead of employing shame to help us change our ways, try really tasting your food throughout the day. What do you like? What do you dislike? What do you not even taste at all? I say we enjoy our food, not by overindulging but by paying attention to it.

Maybe if we do these things, that will begin to shape how we make our choices and that will shape how we live our lives… That’s a cycle I’d like to embrace.



January 17, 2012

In the news…sugar and spice

Oh dear…Paula Deen, diagnosed with Diabetes three years ago and just now getting us caught up with her sweet self.

I’m not a fan of Paula Deen but then again I’m also not a detractor. I don’t hate Paula Deen, although I will admit that seeing her wide, semi-manical smile seated next to a beautiful albeit sinful dessert every single time I’m in the grocery store line makes me cringe. It just annoys me. I’m a little cranky that way.

I love sweets. I love southern cooking. I love to eat. The truth is that I feel like crap when I eat too much of that sort of food and so I try to reserve the really GOOD stuff (read: Wuthering Heights foods) to the occasional treat. I do this because when we make those foods our “staple” foods then not only is it hard on our bodies but it’s hard on our psyches too. What’s “special” if I eat like that every day, right?

But this isn’t about southern food or tasty desserts.  It’s about Paula Deen. Like most things I can see the different sides of this. I have friends who have gotten this sort of diagnosis. It turns your life upside down. It forces you to think differently, act differently, understand your motivations differently. It causes you to question your past and worry about your future perhaps a little more than you might have before. It’s a serious diagnosis that has long reaching implications.

Some fast stats on diabetes (thanks to NDIC):

  • Among U.S. residents ages 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9 percent, had diabetes in 2010.
  • About 215,000 people younger than 20 years had diabetes—type 1 or type 2—in the United States in 2010.
  • About 1.9 million people ages 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 in the United States.
  • In 2005–2008, based on fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1C (A1C) levels, 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 years or older had pre-diabetes—50 percent of adults ages 65 years or older. Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2010 yields an estimated 79 million American adults ages 20 years or older with pre-diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Now, if a person makes her living cooking sweet treats and getting us to buy her cookbooks, cookware, magazines, what have you, then a diagnosis of this kind would take on a new dimension. I cannot imagine the panic that comes with getting this news. It threatens your life AND your livelihood. I can understand on some level why Paula Deen needed some time to process all of this. If was any of us normal folk we could do that easily, privately, but as a celebrity who makes her living posing with cupcakes? Not so much.

Yet, as I read about the fallout of this announcement I see an awful lot of people complaining about the deceit, about the lack of integrity, the irony of her 6 word memoir composed after her diagnosis and appearing in Oprah’s book-

“Might as well eat the cookie.”

I don’t know if it was deceitful for Paula to keep working and promoting unhealthy eating after her diagnosis. It’s not as if she was promoting health and wellness before that. In reality, the harm she’s really done in all this is to her own body. In some ways, for this last three years Paula has been more in integrity with her self. She’s continued to be the person she always has been. The bigger issue now is how she will approach the future and the person she will HAVE to become in order to stay alive and well. I hope that she keeps her focus. I hope she finds ways to enjoy food JUST as much as she has in the past while still remembering that all of this media is just dust in the wind when all is said and done. What really matters is the quality of the life she lives with the family she loves. Godspeed, Paula Deen, I wish you well.

January 7, 2012

What’s your Wuthering Heights food?

Everyone has a Wuthering Heights food. If they don’t they ought to.

If you haven’t read the book then get thee right now to a library and read it. Go now. I’ll wait.

Right then, where was I? Yes, your Wuthering Heights food.  This is your Heathcliff, not your Healthcliff. It’s the one food you simply cannot resist. You know it’s bad for you. You know it can never love you the way you need to be loved, the way that keeps you truly happy and contented. You know it will probably kill you over time but you just cannot stay away.  No matter how you try to love Kale as much as you love as deep-fried Twinkies you know it will never hit your sweet spot, don’t you?

Yeah, well…I say, there’s a place in our lives for making crappy food choices. Sometimes a little leeway in this area is actually healthy, at least on an emotional level.  The more we deny ourselves something downright delicious once in a while in the name of “fitness” the more we build up resentment and anger….and then WE become Heathcliff- dark, bitter and brooding. See how that works?

So, my advice, Drama Free folks…eat the deep-fried Twinkie once in a while when it crosses your path but don’t seek out the deep-fried Twinkie. In the long run, that Kale is always going to love you better.

January 1, 2012

Be grateful.

Happy New Year, normal people!

Are you looking back on what you ate or drank or how little you worked out during the holidays?

Stop that.

Every single time you start to get sucked into that black hole of regret get hold of yourself. Thump yourself on the forehead, snap a rubber band on your wrist…do something to remind yourself to be grateful for that leg of lamb, that time with Gramma Jo, that beautifully crafted beer, those things you only eat or drink once a year (e.g. aunt betty’s fruit cake, uncle bob’s extra noggy eggnog.)

Unless you’re being courted by a mysterious mogul or monarch you’re not getting presents ever day, right? That’s “the holidays” or pretty much any special occasion throughout the year.  Food presents. Enjoy. Be grateful.


December 30, 2011

Healthy stuff for normal people….

I’ve always been a person who pursues the healthy path unless I’m in the fast food drive thru, then all bets are off because as I see it if I’m getting fast food then I want the food that chain makes famous. I know it’s completely wrong but if I’m at McD’s I want french fries, not salad.

I’ve always been a person who pursues the healthy path unless I’m in the fast food drive thru, then all bets are off because as I see it if I’m getting fast food then I want the food that chain makes famous. I know it’s completely wrong but if I’m at McD’s I want french fries, not salad.

For years I’ve been trying to reconcile this and force myself to choose healthy options when I’m faced with unhealthy situations. At the same time I remember sitting with uber health nut friends at restaurants and feeling the pressure that came at ordering time. What I REALLY wanted was the Cream of Broccoli soup but what I ended up getting was the low fat/low salt/low taste option because I was having lunch with the uber health nut guru type, not that the uber health nut guru expected that of me.

I realized that this pressure to be “healthy” and to “choose well” hits me everywhere. At the same time the opposite message- “eat fast, eat greasy, take the easy way” is what is most available to me. I don’t mind working a little harder to live longer, feel better and be the best version of myself, I just don’t want to be obnoxious about it.

There has to be some middle ground here.

And so, I’m working on pointing out the middle ground as I encounter it. I’m a normal person, a middle of the road person. I’m not super fit but I’m healthy. I’m not a gym rat but I am a certified personal trainer. I’m not a vegan/vegetarian, I’m a delishatarian. I’ll choose the delicious as often as I’m able.

If that’s something that interests you then come along for the ride. Toss in your 2 cents as we go. We’ll all get rich.

It’s stone soup for the soul around here.