Whole thinking

There are a lot of ways to eat. I change my mind frequently about what works best for me, more meat and less carbs or mostly vegetarian with lots of beans, lentils and whole grains, etc.

But this weekend, as I was still recovering from being sick and laying in bed, I realized a few things while watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives.”

No matter what kind of food philosophy I’m following, the focus should always be on whole, unprocessed foods. There are a few pieces of advice I’ve really taken to heart when it comes to my food shopping and eating habits and one of them is “shop the perimeter of the store.” This is where the freshest food is, and the food that I want to be eating. Before, I use to peruse up and down every isle. Now I will venture into the middle of the grocery store only if it’s for something specific, like coffee or canned tomatoes (which apparently I shouldn’t be eating either) so I don’t get sucked in by advertising and processed food.

The other thing I realized during this documentary is that I don’t miss not thinking about my food, which I did for a while. My healthy living journey has taken me from someone who never cared about what they ate to someone who carefully plans every single food choice. There have definitely been days where I wished I could go back to being a person who didn’t analyze everything on my plate, but this weekend I realized I no longer felt that way. Somewhere along my path, my sometimes-desire to return to a state of unknowing about nutrition disappeared. This doesn’t mean that I always eat perfectly, but it definitely increases the likelihood of making good choices.

I also really like like Michael Pollan’s line from this NYT article he wrote: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” In the article he makes the argument for a diet rich in real food (i.e. food your great grandmother would recognize), stopping eating before you are full and choosing foods that are plant based.

The power of food continues to amaze me. I was stunned when I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” about how juicing has transformed people’s lives.

And for a documentary that will make you think about how much food is wasted, I definitely recommend “Dive.” It follows a family (and a culture of people) whose meals are mainly salvaged from dumpsters. Unlike “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” the documentary didn’t make me want to go out and dumpster dive, but it did make me think about possibly volunteering or donating to one of the food shelters around here.

With so much diet propaganda circulating in our culture, figuring out the right way to eat can be seriously overwhelming. But like most tough problems, the right answer is usually the simplest. Eat real, whole foods. It’s hard to go wrong with this philosophy.

I would love to know your thoughts! I know there are a lot of other documentaries out there that talk about food and I’m slowly making my way through all of them. On my short list are “King Corn” and “Food, Inc.”

What has changed or influenced the way you think about food?




Weigh-in Wednesday, a paleo update and more!

I feel like we have so much to talk about! Here are 10 things about my week:

1. I’ve been cooking up a storm! So many people say they don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning or don’t have energy to cook after work, but cooking is such a stress reliever for me I look forward to it. I’ve been extra diligent about keeping the kitchen clean as well. Nothing screams “cook!” more than a spotless kitchen stocked with healthy food.

2. I made turkey meatballs stuffed with tons of veggies to eat for dinner this week, inspired by this recipe from Paleo Plan. Meatballs are so easy to make and even easier to reheat for quick work-night dinners, I should really make them more often. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except substituted the green peppers (yuck) for grated zucchini (yum) and added one egg to the mixture. Turned out delicious!

3. For three days I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to put together a recipe for apple cinnamon coconut flour pancakes, but can’t get it exactly right. Either the pancakes come out too dry or they are too moist and take forever to cook and I can’t flip them! But don’t worry, I plan to keep trying…

4. I tried Ethiopian food for the first time on Sunday at Mesob in Montclair. HIGHLY recommend it. The food was delicious and cheap!

5. I made pumpkin coconut flour muffins following this recipe from Cindy’s Table. They came out amazing! I’m currently eating one with one plain Greek yogurt. Can’t wait to have another for breakfast! Also, when I was buying the cupcake tins, I kept thinking they looked so tiny! Working near a Crumbs, which NPR called out for its ridiculous cupcakes, has seriously distorted my portion sizes.

6. It’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees outside tomorrow! Who else is planning to leave work early and go frolic in a park??

7. The other day I was feeling really lazy and had to bribe myself to go run. I said, “Listen, Jodster (yes, I call myself Jodster when giving pep talks), just do two miles.” Later I was thinking, I can’t believe two miles sounds like an easy run for me! It seems like yesterday that I was dreading the 20-minute run in Couch to 5K.

8. Relating to that last point, my bff Tracey totally called me out on my recent sucky attitude toward my body. She reminded me to be conscious of my progress, even though in my head it feels like I haven’t made any lately. Since that talk, I’ve really tried to take her words to heart and recommit myself to being body positive and thankful. Before I started trying to lose weight, I didn’t expect much of my body. I didn’t ask it to run, demand anything of it physically or expect it to shed fat. I’m having a hard time not fighting my body through this process, which is affecting my confidence and self-esteem. I plan to write about these things way more in the future (since the emotional side of weight loss is the whole reason I started the blog) but it’s a tough subject to broach. I will do it, however, because I need to do it.

9. Have anyone else’s allergies been driving them nuts lately? My sinuses are making my whole face hurt and I felt like my throat was on the verge of closing all day and I couldn’t get enough air in. So annoying!

10. I owe you a paleo update. Since releasing myself from a restriction mindset on Monday, I’ve felt much better about all the changes to my diet. I stopped reading paleo blogs completely, except to look up recipes, and almost immediately the panic of “AM I DOING THIS RIGHT” subsided. I have to say, there truly are some benefits from increased protein and decreased sugar. My meals keep my hunger at bay for much, much, much longer than pre-paleo meals. For example, pre paleo my typical breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. This had 54 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein for about 250 calories. The coconut pancakes I’ve been making are also about 250 calories, but have 32 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein. And tomorrow, the pumpkin coconut flour muffin with half a cup of 2% plain Greek yogurt and 1/2 a tablespoon of sunflower seed butter will be about 300 calories, 17 grams of carbs, 19 grams of fat and 19 grams of protein. I used to be starving by lunch time, but now my breakfast keeps me satisfied for much longer, and I can see why!

I wouldn’t say I have more energy on a paleo diet, but my energy is more consistent through the day. I used to get really tired from around 3-5 p.m. and haven’t experienced that lately. This could be all in my head, since I’ve read so much about the effects of going paleo, but it really feels like I don’t have dips or spikes in my energy levels anymore. I also noticed that when I do start to feel hungry, it’s not with the same level of urgency. I can realize that I’m hungry without an immediate need to eat.

That being said, I was pretty terrible at being consistent this week. Actually, that’s not totally true. I managed to make really great food choices the whole week, except for the amount of alcohol that I drank. I was hungover twice, did many sugary shots and consumed way too many mixed drinks. Not the healthiest choices. I also really slacked at going to the gym. Usually I have plenty of time to get up in the morning, make breakfast, go to the gym and shower before work but the last few weeks my job has been really stressful and I’ve been going in earlier and earlier. I know that’s not an excuse, and I’m pledging to make time for exercise no matter what this week – for the sake of my sanity more than anything else!

Wow that was a lot. Here are the numbers:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 174.5

This week: 176

Change: +1.5

Total loss: 67