Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are You Eating Like a Fucking Asshole?

Lately I've noticed a lot of blog posts devoted to fitness, weight loss and healthy eating and this happens every new year because it's resolution time and people swear this is going to be the year they get serious and lose the weight. My girl-crush over at Violent Acres has written about this for the past two days herself and I wanted to jump on her bandwagon and add my ideas because this is something that I'm passionate about. Obsessed about even. I also noticed back on the Day of No Consequences that the majority of the comments dealt with weight issues. Weight is a highly charged, very emotional topic and it seems to really effect everyone's lives these days, which I find sad and interesting at the same time. The obesity epidemic hurts me personally because I come from a big, fat redneck family and so many people that I love are going to die simply because they eat like shit and this breaks my heart. Most of my relatives outside of my immediate family think I'm insane and have an eating disorder and am a hippie, grass eating freak. My parents and sister don't count because they, thank God, follow very healthy diets for the most part and cook all the time.

A lot of people who knew me from the blog and then met me in real life were surprised because apparently I write as if I weigh more than I do. The truth is that I am not even a little overweight, but because I am a neurotic, head case perfectionist whenever I gain weight I flip the hell out. I don't carry it as far as an anorexic because I'm way too concerned with my health to ever do something as unhealthy as starve and plus I can't even stand the discomfort of not eating for five hours, so I can't imagine not eating for five days or five weeks.

I also really like to eat and cook. I love food. I like reading and writing about food, I love feeding people, and I like the community aspect of mealtime and how food connects us with one another. Sometimes I think I like all of these things more than actually eating. I love food so much that I'd desperately like to start my own food blog. This is partly because I feel that most food bloggers (not all, I love some of you) are stuck up and pretentious and totally lacking in humour. Food writing is sadly devoid of satire and I could take care of that pretty quickly. Ahh, if only I had the time to sit on my ass all day in front of a computer. Well, thank goodness I don't.

I have an extraordinarily healthy diet and since a lot of you probably resolved to lose weight this year I wanted to give you some of my tips. Some of you may have seen me eating things like chocolate or desserts or the occasional chip, but those things are part of my healthy diet. You may also protest and say "But you had lasagna last night, what'd you do puke it back up?!" Give me a chance and I'll explain how that fits in too. Not puking, but lasagna. Puking does not fit in at all.

I'm lucky because I had health problems at a young age which caused me to really be aware of how I eat. When I was 16 I was really sickly and it turned out that I had a mild form of Type 1 Diabetes caused by a virus. I have never heard of such a thing but that's what the doctor said and it was reconfirmed last year by my endocrinologist. It was so mild that if I just ate well, was active and didn't abuse any substances that I wouldn't have to take insulin. I radically changed my diet, because before that I ate nothing but Slurpees and Twix with the occasional nacho and since I was less than a hundred pounds my mother actually encouraged my garbage eating without realizing that it was making me sick. I stopped drinking sugary drinks. I gave up candy. I got used to eating whole grains and whole fruits. I liked vegetables. I was so scared of insulin injections that I ate well. Then I learned how to cook, cooked professionally and expanded my palette to eat all kinds of things I had previously never even heard of like cilantro, shitake, confit and camembert.

Pretty soon I became a food snob because once you get used to eating really well prepared, high quality food you can never eat a packet of Lipton noodles ever again without wanting to hurl. You just can't do it. Your mouth rebels and says if it once tasted Valrhona you can never give it another Three Musketeers. It's like tastebud abuse. Luckily, high quality food is a zillion times healthier than cheap processed garbage, so I highly encourage you to develop your inner food snob without reservation. Food snobbery is really the only kind of snobbery I can endorse because it can literally save your life.

In my late 20s I started to gain weight. I got depressed. I went through a traumatic break up that I am sick of hearing myself talk about. I laid around and took anti-depressants and gained 15 pounds, which looked a little too voluptuous on my tall yet petite frame. I know that sounds like an oxymoron. I'm almost 5"7" but I have a smallness about me that makes people think I'm shorter than I am. I have freakishly teeny feet and only wear a 6 1/2 shoe. I'm like a five foot tall person that someone stretched like silly putty. Suddenly people stopped calling me skinny and telling me I needed to eat. Guys said I had "meat on my bones" and suggested I lose weight. It was horrible. I knew I had to get this under control so I stopped the anti-depressants which I do not recommend unless your doctor says it's ok. In most cases being fat is far preferable to being crazy. I wasn't crazy - just upset about a boy. After becoming conscious about my diet and stopping the Zoloft I immediately lost ten pounds.

I found out I had a bad thyroid disease. I had a tumor growing in my neck. In fact, I had a disease that causes some people to gain huge amounts of weight. I had to take medication that made me swell up and retain water so I gained all the weight back that I had lost. It sucked and it has taken me two years to get my thyroid under control. If any of you reading this have thyroid problems please email me because it can be really scary and confusing and I know a lot about it now. I had to have my thyroid killed, which means that it doesn't function anymore and I'll have to take medication for the rest of my life. This can also cause people to become obese but I haven't. I actually lost weight and now I am 5" 6 1/2" and weigh 128 pounds. I wear a fairly loose size 6 and I am convinced that this is because of how I eat and yes, I'd love to be a size four but I am happy with the size I am even if I am no longer as skinny as I was when I was 16.

Having these health issues young in life was a hell of a blessing. It scared the shit out of me. I know what it's like to have a doctor look at you gravely and tell you to go straight to the hospital. I've seen the patients, bald and zombie-like, in the cancer hospital and I know how sick radiation can make you and I know that I will do everything in my power to prevent myself from ever becoming one of those frail skeletons attached to the chemo machines.

Here are some of my best tips for healthy eating to assist you in keeping your resolution this year. Nothing is difficult. Some of it can be a little more expensive, but personally I think the one thing you should never cheap out on is food. Buy your clothes at the Salvation Army and shop at Whole Foods if you have to. I'm going to try really hard not to repeat the same shit you've heard everywhere else that you haven't listened to (drink 8 glasses of water, exercise 30 minutes - you know all that).

Get Rid of Corn Syrup NOW

If you do anything at all, do this. Go through your cabinets and toss anything containing corn syrup. You will likely be left with an apple and some pepper when you're finished. Corn Syrup is the devil. Corn Syrup is toxic and will kill you and make you morbidly obese and it's in freaking everything. I predict that corn syrup will be the next trans fat and I pray for the day when they outlaw it. There are studies that say corn syrup causes you to eat more because it doesn't react with receptors in your brain that control hunger. Corn syrup is also profoundly unnatural and it takes so much energy and so much effort to make it out of corn. I guarantee you that you will lose weight if you just eliminate corn syrup from your diet and you have to be militant about reading labels. Mostly it's found in junk, garbage processed foods anyway so by eliminating the corn syrup you're also eliminating junk foods too. Luckily, plain potato chips don't have it. Neither do Fritos. Snack on these but only if you can eat a little. Which brings me to my next tip.

Stop Eating Like A Fucking Asshole

If in the process of eating you can answer the question "Am I eating like a fucking asshole?" in the affirmative, immediately cease consumption. I don't need to define eating like a fucking asshole for you because you know what that means. Everytime you eat or want to eat ask yourself that question like a mantra. "Am I eating like a fucking asshole?" You probably are. So stop it. Do not eliminate the cuss words. Asking yourself "Am I eating like a dumb-dumb poo poo head?" is not nearly as effective as calling yourself a fucking asshole. On Christmas or Rosh Hashanah and your birthday you have permission to eat like a fucking asshole, but only then.

Cook From Scratch and Quit Whining About It

Processed food has destroyed our country. We eat processed food because we're lazy, over-scheduled and stupid and because it's marketed to us as healthy, convenient and fun. It's none of these things. Processed Food - generally anything in a box, packet, powder, mix, pre-prepared packet, already mixed, instant anything - will literally kill you. Learn to cook some things and manage your time better so you can prepare your own food. I don't want to hear the excuse that you don't know how to cook. Cooking and providing food for yourself is the most basic and most essential of all survival skills. There is no excuse for not being able to feed and nourish yourself, and you don't have to cook fancy things. Preparing real food as simply as possible is actually the healthiest way to eat and dammit, who can't cut up some stuff for a salad?

Sometimes I get violent sugar cravings. I have to watch my blood sugar so I try really hard to avoid sweets, but sometimes I just can't. My rule is that if I really want some brownies or some cookies or a cupcake that I must make it from scratch. I'm talking creaming the butter and sugar, cracking the eggs, melting the chocolate. Baking from scratch ensures that you aren't eating chemicals, like corn syrup, and you have to do some work. You have to earn your sweets. Plus, when you finally get the cupcake or the brownie it actually tastes better and you've burned a few calories making it and cleaning up. Sometimes I find that after going through the baking process that my craving has subsided. Then I give stuff away. My one exception is Trader Joe's truffle brownie mix which, though a mix, contains absolutely no chemicals or anything I can't pronounce. In fact, all of Trader Joe's baking mixes are fine to use in moderation.

Fruit Plates Are Wonderful

Every single night for dessert Husband and I have a fruit plate for dessert with green tea. Each night as I make dinner I also make up a fruit plate with lots of cut up fruits arranged in a pretty design. Then I keep it in the fridge and bring it out for dessert. I take great pride in my fruit plates because they're beautiful, healthy and they taste good. They make me want to eat fruit more and since the fruit is already cut, it's easier to eat. I try to change it up a lot because the variety is fun and I like to try new fruits as often as possible. Who cares about a $4 box of raspberries? You could spend that on one latte. Husband and I have a rule too because we often want ice cream more than fruit. We have to eat the fruit first. Then we have to wait to see if we still want the ice cream and I'll admit that sometimes we do, but at least we ate the fruit and that causes us to eat less of the ice cream than we would have. Making deals like this with yourself will prevent you from eating like a fucking asshole.

Make Barilla Plus Pasta

I'd like to award whoever invented this the Nobel Peace Prize. I love pasta as much as I love cheese but I would never eat it before Barilla Plus. Now I eat it every week or so. Barilla Plus is not gross like whole wheat pasta. You can't tell the difference. It also has Omega 3s, protein and is made out of beans or something and has no chemicals in it. It comes in every pasta shape and was sent to earth by God Himself. Buy only this pasta. It comes in a yellow box.

Drink Green Tea

It's good for you. You can get flavored ones. It makes you less hungry, is rumored to promote weight loss and gives you caffeine without the jitters of coffee. I weaned myself off of sweetening it and now I'm one of those people who's all Zen-like and drinks unsweetened green tea all day. I like Republic of Tea and Tazo the best.

Read Books About the Food Industry and Scare the Crap Out of Yourself

Here's One

And Another

Still Another

Don't be ignorant and passive about what you put into your body. Get outraged, it burns more calories.

About the Lasagna

I made my lasagna completely from scratch, sauce and all. It took about 20 minutes to put together and another 20 minutes to bake. I used low fat cheeses and it was delicious. I ate a little square and will freeze the rest.

You can't deny yourself. Every so often you have to let yourself have lasagna and cookies, just make these things yourself with real, fresh ingredients. Don't eat so much of these foods that you go overboard into asshole territory. If you really can't control yourself then get help for food addiction or impulse control. Don't be ashamed or embarassed. Just go and do it. It is life or death.

I will now step down from my soap box. And oh yeah, carry snacks with you. I am particularly fond of tangerines and toasted, blanched almonds.

And here is a link to my very favorite fitness blog. Cranky Fitness kicks ass.

Good Luck with your resolutions and please use my comments section to post your own tips, ideas and encouragement, as well as links to any other good fitness or healthy eating blogs that we should check out. One of my resolutions was to link to more and varied sites.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Try no sugar added or reduced sugar alternatives. I eat Quaker instant reduced sugar when I'm really in a hurry and no sugar added hot chocolate or fudgicles when I want a treat. Tastes the same to me.

Also, don't drink your calories. To me drinking soda is equivalent to eating like an asshole, so I avoid it.

the Bag Lady said...

You are so right about processed foods! Cooking simple, nutritious meals at home is not hard. And, with planning, does not take any longer than waiting in line in the drive-thru at the Burger place.
Another product people should think twice about using to excess is Canola Oil. Well, unless they are just rubbing it on their bodies for some kinky reason....

SJ said...

Ever since you advised me to buy my clothes at the Salval but never cheap out on food, I have been trying to overcome my money anxiety and just buy the best stuff I can find. But I can do better, as this post has reminded me. 4 dollars worth of raspberries isn't even one/tenth of a co-pay for a regular old doctor visit. Corn syrup, here I come.

Leonesse said...

I didn't know about Barilla's Plus, thank you!!!

Our teens have finally started coming around. "Our" tacos didn't taste as good as TacoHell and "Our" burgers didn't taste like Mc-Ds. Glad I rented that Supersize Me and they watched it, then something in health class finally scared the bejesus outta them. They gave up soda and want to eat healthy.

Mary needs a cooler name... said...

This is a great post! I want to print it out and post it to a wall somewhere.

Thank you!

misha said...

thank you for coming out of the closet about being happy with the way you look. I kinda feel guilty that I in no way want to lose weight - maybe gain some in muscle. I stopped the corn syrup years ago, went on Atkins and have stuck w/ a kinda south beach diet but totally quiting for about one week once a month :) Luckily the next week my cramps totally take away my appetite and it all evens out :) It is so nice to hear about someone else who is happy w/ their body. I went to a yoga class once and it started with "everyone want to lose some weight right?" Everyone agreed, many did not need to. It was sad.

Lila said...

I really love your blog, but I do feel a bit upset about how you painted anorexics.

Those who are really, truly anorexic - not 'wannarexic' and trying to follow a trend - are not all vain, self-centered and self-obsessed.

Truth be told, I'm not anorexic because I want to look 'pretty'. I don't want to look like a model in a Vogue magazine, I don't care whether boys think I'm 'hot' and personally, I'd rather not have 'size 0' tags on my clothing.

I looked much better two years ago at a 'healthy' weight than I do now. Even though I'm in treatment, I'm finding it very difficult overcome anorexia, because anorexia is NOT about losing weight for me. It's about gaining control over something tangible (odd, I know, because really I've lost a great deal of control) and yes, it is a mental illness, just like depression is a mental illness. Some people get depressed because they were, for instance, raped - just as I know a girl who fell victim to anorexia because she was raped. The worst of it was that she didn't want to get help or tell her parents about her eating disorder because she didn't want to see her mother cry again - if that isn't self-centered and self-obsessed, I don't know what is.

I'm sorry to rant at you, but I really hate how people think that anorexia can be cured by eating a sandwich. It's much, much more than that. Sorry again for the rant. Aside from that little nitpicky thing, I really enjoyed today's post. :)

Ms Bart said...

You are so right about corn syrup. The other dangerous food item(s) are the artificial sweeteners.

I went on Weight Watchers about two years ago. (Took off 40 lbs. - go me!) When I started to follow the program, tips included using Splenda / Sweet-N-Low / premade foods. Well, I got fat eating good stuff. I wasn't going to lose the weight by eating crap. So I started reading labels. When I read corn syrup in stuff, I put it back on the shelf. Now, I eat really healthy and feel great. (I've put on 3-4 lbs. that I need to dump, post-Christmas, but I know how to do it.)

I'm a single woman who works long hours, so I don't like to take a lot of time to prep dinner every night. I cook a big meal or two every weekend (like your lasagnz) and freeze the meals in individual serving sizes. Homemade tv dinners! No preservatives. No corn syrup. Only quality ingredients.

All this was typed while I did have a treat though. Once a month I get a yummy Starbucks scone. Bad Ms. B!

gulfsidebo said...

i have to admit that I'm not the best eater, but by no means am i a fucking asshole. i eat fruits and veggies every day, keep my alcohol intake to 1 a day (2 on the weekends), 1 cup of coffee a day, 8 oz. of juice, some lactose free milk and i eat red meat only once a month and it's usually my burger craving. outside of that, i try to avoid fast foods and limit my soda intake to no more than 1/day.

it's hard to eat "best" when you have children, but it is important to instill good nutrition in them. we struggle with it, but we're much better off than most families.

me, i can go for seafood every day for dinner and i'd be happy. we love to cook, but sometimes we just don't have the time to cook. there's still a few bathrooms that need cleaning.

you don't have kids yet. once you do (if you do) you will understand how much harder getting the most mundane chores done is and hopefully your diet won't suffer for it. i've gained about 15 pounds since i became a father, but mostly i've been able to hold it there. lately, i've been losing about a pound/week just by exercising more and eating less.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, thanks for mentioning Cranky Fitness! It's really an honor, coming from you. Every time I come here I'm blown away by the power and quality of your writing. And as for kick-ass fitness advice, your post here blows anything I've ever done right out of the water.

(And I still frequently find myself Eating Like an Asshole. I just try to limit the assholiness to about 10% of my diet. So the 10% asshole rule seems to work pretty well for me).

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'm 46 years old, 150 pounds lost the old fashioned way. I was diabetic, hypertensive and had hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia. I was so afraid of waking up in a nursing home without my feet. One day I just realized that this cannot be all there is to my life... eat, sleep, work... etc... etc... I shut my mouth and got off my ass and I've kept it off for 3 years and I'm never going back.

I eat only when I'm really hungry and stop before I'm full. I didn't give up when I inevitably slipped. I actually allowed myself to feel hunger. I realized that pizza and ice cream will always be there.

I folow the Glycemic Index (it charts how quickly food raise your blood sugar). I eat mostly vegetables, then fruits, lean protein, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy fats. I treat myself regularly. I rarely eat sugar, white rice, white flour, potatoes, or regular pasta.

I use 3lb dumbbells for my upper body strength (Check out Body Electric on Public TV - it's good for ol' gals). And I just walk or bike whenever I can... no gyms or fancy stuff.

I am no longer considered diabetic, I'm 100% healthy, and I feel like I'm 16. I don't know why I wasted 15 years of my life on binge eating, and frankly I am a little afraid to find out. This is my new life, and I'm not going to give it up for anything.

Some sites I find extremely helpful:

http://www.nutritiondata.com/

http://hungrygirl.com/

http://www.glycemicindex.com/

http://www.diabetesnet.com/diabetes_food_diet/glycemic_index.php

I have Doctor-approved menus and grocery lists and more if anyone out there would be interested. Please email me at data__life@hotmail.com

~Shari Ann

P.S. I love you SNL, yours is the first blog I check every day and I think you're just about the most adorably sweet, genuine, charming writer ever.

BoB said...

I'm sure the boxes tell you this, but be vigilant about the water temp with your green tea. Just before boiling or about 90C or 200F. You can also watch the surface of the water in the beaker and when steam just starts to rise off the surface, it's good to go. I wish.

I wish I had that stereotypical bunsen burner and beaker of de-ionized water in my lab. And the pound of loose leaf organic sencha in some other lab glassware. I could, I guess. There's gas in the other room but I don't hang out there.

Anyway, be careful of the water temp and I'd highly recommend going loose leaf. You could start becoming a tea snob. Sencha is sweeter than bancha, provided you haven't made it too srong or with too hot of water or steeped it too long.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to your description of "eating like a fucking asshole" - eat slowly! Enjoy each bite. Put your fork down between bites. I agree with you about the lasagna, too. You HAVE to treat yourself - but in moderation, ala the book, "Why French Women Don't Get Fat".

Jen said...

This is a great post and I love your blog. I, too, thanked god when I first discovered Barilla Plus pasta, but since then I've found something even better and it has become a staple of my diet: Fiber Gourmet pasta. I can have it every day now if I want to. The best stuff ever created.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I use Barilla brand regular pastas and love them, but now I will look for the yellow box!

I am sadly one of the people that doesn't know how to cook, but you had me a "homemade sauce". Would you post your recipe or is it a family secret?

Arlynnia said...

You are absolutely right. Here's some things that I learned through the last year. About a year ago, I moved to Canada. Grocery stores there are very different than here. Sure, you have the big box retailers that sell crap in a box, bag, package of some sort. But there is a chain there called IGA (Independant Growers Association). These stores stock mainly fresh veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, meats, cheeses, the whole nine yards. There is a small section of the store that has some prepackaged food, but nothing like in Anywhere, USA. The fresh foods were very inexpensive and the prepackaged foods were very expensive. For instance, bulk grains for less than $2/lb. Fresh cheeses and meats for around $2-$4/lb. A can of tuna? $3. Yes, the same can we get for 3/$1. Frozen burritos? $10. See where I am going with this? It's very easy to eat very healthy, and hardly anyone is overweight. Well, I moved back from Canada and have brought the dietary habits back with me. The funny thing is that I used to think that I was eating healthy before I moved there. That's the marketing ploy working. Well, in a year's time I have lost 65lbs. And without doing much more than eating whole fresh foods prepared at home. I can go all out and spend 3 hours in the kitchen making something so good for me, my boyfriend, and his son. I love it. And I have plenty of time to do it as I don't watch TV. I quit that years ago. It's very convenient that TV and unhealthy eating go hand in hand. Easier to keep us all fat. Good luck everyone with changing your eating habits, you'll be happy that you did. Wide Lawns, thanks for bringing this important topic to the table. I just wanted to share my personal observations across cultural lines and how I integrated it into my life back in the US. Happy New Year everyone!

Chiada said...

Great post and thanks for the encouragement and food tips.

About a year ago, Hub-E and I started eating healthier, less processed foods, more veggies, etc. We also somehow found our way to the Mercola website and signed up the newsletters. One of Dr. Mercola's biggest rant is on High Fructose Corn Syrup. He has this funny way of saying it, which actually helped it to stick in our mind.

We our label reader junkies and avoid artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup (or any corn syrup for that matter), and any kind of hydrogenated oil.

So far I haven't lost any weight. But then, I do need to cut out a lot of sugar, natural or not. I have a terrible sweet tooth and find myself saying, "See, look! It's made with unfiltered cane juice! It can't be that bad for me." Unfortunately, sugar is sugar and adds to the calories and thus fat.

Anyhoo, great idea about making a deal with yourself to eat the fruit plate first and then eat icecream if you're still hungry. I need to try that since I crave ice cream all the bloody time. Plus then I'll be getting in my recommended daily servings of fruit!

Eric said...

My wife and I are both cooks and we tend more often then not to cook from scratch. Life at times gets in the way of that but I think we have a pretty healthy and delicious diet. I like the fruit plate idea. We will often snack on apples and cheese or popcorn while watching TV.

Check out the spouse's food blog

She is Lorraine from

Nikki said...

I am an overeater. Not horribly morbidly obese, but significantly overweight probably. The problem I have is that my stomach says "NO! stop! there's no more room!" but my brain says "Keep shoveling it in, asshole! This shit is good!" and the two never connect.

The only things I've been able to do so far with any kind of success, is eat slower and drink more water. I eat slower so that my brain has time to catch up with my stomach to let me know it's not happy with me! And Drinking more water, well it's helped in so many ways! I have a 34 oz plastic water bottle, and I drink two of them a day. It's made my skin clearer and smoother, I have less bladder problems, and with all that water, it's cleansing my system, and helping reduced weight gain from salt-saturated foods.

Recently- I made a deal with myself, that every time I find myself wanting to eat something, to either do a load of dishes, a load of laundry, or dust something. So far, it's going quite well. My house is pretty clean!

But other than that, I'm just trying to form newer, healthier habits, one at a time.

Sincerely, a fucking asshole.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Lila. That anorexic comment was a little harsh and unnecessary. Especially coming right on the heels of your previous post about how to treat other.

Usually, I love your blog. But ouch.

secretmom said...

This is such a great post. I would love, love, love if you started a foodie blog.

I'm so with you on the TJ's truffle brownie mix, but where do you get it in Florida? I think I will have to have my west coast freinds ship it to me when my stash runs out.

Charlottex said...

The biggest thing that helped me finally become comfortable with cooking for myself and eating well was Marion Nestle's book "What to Eat". She in a prof from NYU who specializes in nutrition. Very smart, down to earth and sincere in her desire to help people. This book breaks down the supermarket aisle by aisle, product by product, label by label. She demystifies the nutritional labels, warning on fish and the true meaning of Organic in the food industry. I lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks after reading her book. I didn't exercise any more then I had before, I just learned how to eat better. I recommend this book for anyone who eats food. Which is, um, everyone.

Green said...

My tips to not being a fucking asshole involve gum and ziplocks.

First, chew gum. Chew the kind that whitens your teeth, and pop it in your mouth at the beginning of the time when you usually start snacking.

Use ziplock bags - any time you buy something that could lead you to eat like a fucking asshole, portion it up THE SAME DAY you buy it, into ziplock bags. No more than one bag a day.

This was a great post, Woman.

NovemberLeTango said...

Thank you SO much for writing this. I recently went through health issues that just seemed to pile upon one another. I needed knee surgery at one point and couldn't exercise... and was stuck eating at my campus dining hall. I gained a lot of weight. I looked at myself, was disgusted, and after I had my surgery I took complete control of my diet. Everything I ate made me sick, so I cut out fried food, processed foods and the like, much like you suggested here for people. It makes all the difference. In the span of a year, I lost 25 pounds, and I have kept it off. I exercise on a stationary bike as often as I can. Now I'm an athlete and I fence. I cannot stress how important it is to cook your own food, and to cut out the crap and fried fast food. Vegetables are your friends! Brussels Sprouts can be amazing when baked and doused in, yes, a butter garlic sauce. It's much better for you than mashed potatoes or boxed rice. And has iron (which has reversed my anemia). Now I'm 21 and can eat like a normal person. Just a little bit smarter. Thanks for getting the word out there about eating real food!

chasmyn said...

The only thing I'd add about the water - be careful of drinking water with meals - it dilutes the digestive juices and leaves undigested food in there.
It is best to drink a large glass of water 20 minutes before a meal or I think 1 hour after.

Everything you said about food in the post is SPOT ON!

And if you have a partner, you CAN cook with children. So the bathrooms don't get cleaned as often.

And I TOTALLY agree with buy your clothes at SA and shop at Whole Foods. We do this! People tell me it is too expensive to eat organic, but I think it is too expensive not to. Food is a huge priority for us, and in addition to organic, we try to eat locally as much as possible, U-pick is even better. The fresher the food, the more nutrients it has, and the farther it has to travel, the less fresh it is.

Whiskeymarie said...

Amen, amen, amen.

I have mostly weaned myself of the evil coffee, instead drinking green tea (genmai with the roasted brown rice is my favorite), but occasionally only coffee will do.

I've been getting pretty militant about corn syrup & sugar in general at my house. The Mr. has a history of really bad diabetes and heart problems in his family. I told him either he starts taking better care of himself or we start picking out a nursing home now. He knows I'm serious, so he's trying much harder.
Good boy.

Fantastic post, my dear.

Lana Wood said...

I've recently discovered Violent Acres, and feel a lot of her stuff about weight has a lot of merit. I have for a long time been telling anyone who will listen that stuff that is bad for you is usually cheaper. The healthy stuff is more expensive for the most part.

I am busy trying to change a lifetime of eating habits. The most important thing is that I DECIDED it was important and to make it a priority.

One of my favorite tricks is to shop around the edges and stay out of the middle of supermarkets. The fruit, veggies, fresh dairy and fresh meat are on the perimeter. I also am a veggie junkie; I buy them flash frozen, or fresh.

When I am working, it is tough to get a good lunch, or good snacks. Every office I ever worked at had plenty of M & M's and soda. The best I can do most days is a Weight Watchers Smart One, but it is better than a value meal at some burger joint.

I do not like to eat most fruit whole, but do not always have the means to cut it up on the fly. I happen to like bananas, and my doctor happens to want me to eat them, so I am cool there. One of my favorite tricks is to freeze black seedless grapes. I love these babies, and I buy them when they are on sale. Then I bring a sandwich bag full of them for snack.

Because I am here alone with the two tyrant cats, I usually only have myself to cook for. I shop in “family size value packs, then split them up into single servings when I get home. I have a mini George Forman grill I use for pork chops, and pretty much anything else I can squish in there including scalops and salmon. I also make myself hot cocoa from scratch instead of eating ice cream when my sweet tooth acts up, but since I am even more of a chocoholic than a sweet lover, I make the cocoa with half the sugar, I don't miss it. The recipe is on the side of any container of Hershey's cocoa.

Oh, and for the umpteen billionth time, I love your blog.

booda baby said...

This was one of your best blogs of all times.

I see you had to dig yourself out an anorexic hole, but end of the day, we - each of us and all of us - ARE the culture. If we're prowling the internet, we're also absolutely capable of educating ourselves and, presumably, thinking and seeking treatment and changing the way we think. Our romance with psycho-therapy has a lot of 'splaining to do about how we have to apogolize to each other for our self absorption and half invented neuroses.

Yes, I'm irritable about it. I've listened to half assed excuses my whole life - haven't we all, but there's nothing quite like being the daughter of a pair of psychs, and friends with shrinks of all sizes and types.

But back to you. This was good. :)

nicrogers said...

What I want to know is what kind of bread do you buy? I have the hardest time finding bread that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it.

Anonymous said...

"Eating Like an Asshole." I LOVE it. After reading your post, every time I ate something this weekend I thought: Am I eating like an asshole? Thanks.

Pat said...

What a great piece of motivation!
Thanks so much for the pep talk!

Does anyone else love steel cut oats for breakfast? I know they take a long time to cook, but I have found the best way.

The night before, start them cooking following the directions on the pkg. I love those cans of McCann's Irish Oats, but after that you can fill the pretty can with oats you buy in bulk and still follow the directions!

What I do, is get them boiling and lower the heat for another minute or so. Give them a good stir and add some dried cranberries, cherries, raisins...whatever you like. (The sweetness of the dried fruit is enough for me and all I add, when I reheat them, is some skim milk.)

Put the cover back on and leave them on the stove to fester. In the morning, they will be done and you can take a portion to reheat in the microwave and stick the rest in the fridge.

I always make enough for a few days...and I tell you...I love my oats! :)

After these oats, you will never eat those nasty instant oats again!

Pat

Pat said...

OMG! In my oat post I forgot to say to get them boiling for a few minutes, cover and then TURN OFF THE HEAT! THEN you can let them fester!

Uh OH! I wouldn't want to be responsible for anyone's fire.

Kore said...

As a mom I feel that using kids as an excuse to not cook healthfully is irresponsible. Being a parent means it's my job to teach my son to value his health and make good choices. That means cooking from scratch.

So much of any culture revolves around food. We pass on cultural values when we cook and eat together. What is your kid missing out on if you feed him a diet of Easy Mac?

My advice is to make making dinner a family affair. From the very beginning I've tried to get my son involved in preparing our meals. Even as a toddler he could help pour and stir ingredients. He would play cook with empty Tupperware and wooden spoons. As he grows older he will take on more responsibility by helping chop, measure, and saute. By the time my kid is a teenager he will have one dinner a week that will be his responsibility to plan and prepare - with no shortcuts. I'll give him a set amount of money and he'll have to come up with the menu, shop, and cook. It won't always be perfect but at least by the time he's an adult he'll be able to cook for himself.

Oh, and I love Barilla Plus. The macaroni works well in homemade mac & cheese. You can cook it forever and it doesn't turn to mush.

Jennifer said...

I love this post! I found you through the Perfect Post Awards.

Ever since I moved to Italy it has been SO MUCH EASIER to keep my weight under control. The food here is just what you described: made from scratch with natural ingredients.

I pretty much eat what I want, have three meals a day, sometimes some fruit in the afternoon. I have a little pouch leftover from my pregnancy and the wine I drink with dinner, but that's okay. This was a great post about eating normally, the way we should.

Maggie45 said...

Another very good book is "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Wow! I love this post.

I especially love the line about eating like a fucking asshole.

Anyone who insists the F bomb is a must is a winner in my book.

I agree about the high quality foods. I love wine with cheese and started buying expensive cheeses. Then I stopped and I absolutely can't abide Kraft cheese anymore.

Congrats on the Perfect Post!

Now I'm off to eat like a fucking asshole because it actually is my birthday.

A.B. HALL said...

Loved your post! I could have written it my self, but probably with less wit and humor and more anger and cynicism.

Growing up my mother ate like an asshole and fed us kids like assholes** (re: she didn't feed us at all but let us fend for ourselves in addition to regularly taking us out for fast food and restaurant food). But I was lucky. I also had a stepmother. She was a health-conscious ex-hippy with ideals that made it to the table in into our mouths (and subsequently into my mind).

In my teen years I was always a food-label reader, but I still ate like an asshole. I was conscious but lazy. I got pregnant at 25 and realized I weighed a lot more than I thought I did. But I was pregnant; I’d deal with that after the baby. Well, that wasn’t in the cards. I got gestational diabetes, went to see a nutritionist and learned some of the most helpful information of my life (food related). I had no idea what carbs were doing to my body prior to pregnancy. I didn’t have a clue what the Atkins diet was and I didn’t care to know. I never cared about dieting. But I was ignorant and that was a disservice to my body and my health. I learned how to portion my carbs and was able to control the gestational diabetes through diet and (minimal) exercise.

For those who care? 1 carb “portion” is 15 carbs. For breakfast I ate 2 “portions” (30 carbs), this was usually a bowl of whole-grain-based cereal, unsweetened soymilk and an apple (or some other fruit). I had a 2-portion snack, a 3-portion (45 carbs) lunch, a 2-portion snack, a 3-portion dinner and a 1-portion snack (this last snack is where I rewarded myself and often ate like an asshole during my pregnancy, but it was only 15 carbs, so it wasn’t that bad). I was eating around 200 carbs a day.

Once I started paying attention I couldn’t believe how I had been eating before. No wonder I weighed so much more than I thought I did. I will report that I had an easy pregnancy, gained a total of 30 pounds and learned something that will stay with me for life.

But I was still missing a piece of the puzzle. I dropped 20 of the 30 baby pounds within 2 months post-pregnancy. I lost the other 10 within 5-6 months. But the weight came back, slowly. I tried exercising and actually gained weight. I gave up and the scales went up. When I hit 142 pounds (I’m five foot tall), I told myself that was enough. By looking around the net I found info on low-calorie diets. I swear I had never thought about “calories” a day in my life before I discovered this information. It seriously didn’t occur to me that calorie-overload = weight gain (my total disinterest in dieting comes into play here).

Now I watch my calories. I started eating low-calorie and have lost 10 pounds in a month and a half. Holy Hell! But this is the thing… I eat whole grains, beans, veggies, fruits and all the good stuff. I just eat smaller portions. I gave up the Kraft Mac and Cheese (one of my eating-like-an-asshole guilty pleasures). I figure if I don’t eat that much during the day, what I eat damn-well better fill me up (and by “that much” I mean calorie-overload).

I have been food-conscious for many many years but I always teetered on the edge between enjoying shitty foods and their alluring convenience and seeing those foods for what they really were. I’d have unsweetened soymilk and whole grain cereal for breakfast and then Kraft Mac and Cheese for lunch. Starting the low calorie diet (“diet” as in “way of life”) has simply given me that boot in the ass that I needed to kick the crap. I do, however, still indulge now and then.

I am fascinated with the food industry and reading about its evil ways. I own every book you mentioned and have loved each one of them. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Andrew Weil and reference many of his books as well. I try to cook most of my food and it is very important for me to pass healthy eating habits onto my son. I’m sure he’s going to eat like shit when he’s older, but it’s my hope that the solid/healthy base I provide will call him back at some point in his life. That is my hope.

I am currently struggling toward veganism. There are too many reasons NOT to eat dairy and meat products. But I find myself, like before, teetering between American culture and its MASSIVE dairy/meat dependence and seeing those foods for what they really are.

Just to see myself write it, I’ll mention a few reasons for going vegan:
- Veganism is healthy. Dairy products are loaded with shit and seriously, we (as in humans) are not supposed to be eating/drinking this crap. It’s for baby cows, c’mon, that’s cow-boobie juice guys!
- Veganism is animal-friendly. Cows and chickens and pigs really AREN’T treated much better than baby cows. I know there are many out there who won’t touch veal because of the inhumane treatment. On a side note, did you know baby cows are not fed pure cow’s milk?
- Veganism is better for the environment. Factory farms where animals are slaughtered and dairy is produced are some of the worst contributors to pollution. Just think about 10,000 cows, where does all their waste go? It goes in our rivers and our oceans (or man-made “lakes” that pollute our soil and drinking water).
- You’ve been lied to and your brain has been filled with propaganda. The dairy industry, the meat industry, the USDA, the FDA and countless other industries and associations are connected. It’s not as clear-cut as you have been led to believe. Regulatory agencies answer to the agencies they regulate because money rules this country and those with money (i.e. large industries) are able to wield power. Read any, scratch that, read all of the books mentioned in the above post, you’ll understand.

But I continue to teeter. I have, thus far, been unable to give up dairy and meat products. I am taking small steps to make better food choices and eat healthier. Thank you for your post. It’s been great/therapeutic to write out my own thoughts, if nothing else than to see them written. Cheers to NOT eating like an asshole (except twice a year).

** I love my mother and she is wonderful, despite her eating-like-an-asshole tendencies.

the new girl said...

I know I'm here supah late but I think I love you.

maria said...

i just refound this blog. oh my GOD write that book, with that title. this is going to be the third time i've mentioned your blog on my blog because i just HAVE to.

Anonymous said...

i hate tazo tea, tastes like ass.

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