Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My body the experiment

Do you want to be told how to eat to have energy, feel good and be at a healthy weight?  I do.  And in a way we do know what to do.  We need to eat a balance of fats, protein and carbohydrates.  We know we need to eat more greens and less processed foods.  And I could go on but, that is where you lose people.  Because the immediate question is how.  How do I do those things and keep my mind, my body and my family happy?  And I could give you the scientific reason for eating more leafy greens (eaten in variety leafy greens give you all the amino acids needed to fulfill your protein needs) and that might help some people.  But we don’t have data for how these foods specifically make us feel because we are all different and food acts on your body differently than mine.  So I can’t tell you exactly what to eat.  I can just guide you.

I am experiential learner, so to guide effectively I first must do.   My body the experiment.  For the past five years I have taken January “off” of drinking, eating meat or last year’s fiesta of diets.  This year is a bit different and more inline with my quest for more data.  I am doing a month-long cleanse.  Starting this Thursday with a colon cleanse I will empty my body of toxins, working through my organs and eventually readying my body for life as we know it.  I love that this is month-long cleanse because for me, I need this time to think about what I want from food and to really powerfully start new habits.  A month (specifically the quiet month of January) is a good amount of time to wipe away the old and begin anew.

I am intrigued to see how my body reacts to this intense cleanse.  I did the colon cleanse in August.  It was really interesting, but I didn’t fully feel a long term positive impact.  Possibly because I really needed to do it one to two additional days.  So I am trying again - the whole body.

The more I read about food and nutrition the more credence I give to the power of food to heal or to ail you.  So I will eat well, not drink and cleanse my organs.  I am excited to see what happens.  What do you want from your body this year?  I want to release mine from it’s old story.  I want it to be free.

What are some habits or routines you have built in that support you in the life you want to live?  Take a moment to write them down.  Not for me.  For you.  Because as you might have figured out by now – I believe writing to be rather cathartic.

Take Care.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What is Important to You?

We all live our lives by our own values.  I think it is important to know what those values are thereby living our lives more meaningfully.  For most, values change over time.  I know that by living with my hubbend I now value recycling more.  I know that living in Portland as a mother has made me more aware of the green movement and buying sustainable toys for my son.

I have also turned into somewhat of a locavore.  I have realized that while I value organic foods, I am going to pick a local product over an organic product should I be forced to do so.

Having this recent piano/moving fiasco has made me realize how important music is to my life.  I grew up with music.  The hubbend did not.  And while he has learned to appreciate music and is a super rad dancer, he has no idea about the theory of music. I missed having instruments in my home.  I want those things in my life and for my son.

So.  Back to food nutrition.  It is important to me.  Probably partially due to where we live, but I have developed into a local eating, mostly organic, mostly vegetarian, physically moving woman.  I am not interested in politics (although I know I should be).  I would rather read a book on nutrition and food politics.  I would rather read a book about emotional eating and why there seem to be two “me”s.  The me who eats well and the me who will stop at nothing to get.that.sugar.

What are your values?  Think about it.  It is important. 

Then smile.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Serving Size

I like to finish my plate, don’t you?  I also like feeling satisfied by my meal and some of that comes from the mind - the thought that you finished your plate/meal.

I know now that if I am eating a animal based protein that is a max 4oz serving size and the remainder of my plate is a green/vegetable mix.   I know that and when I am making my own food I create meals that mostly satiate my mind and my body’s needs.  I say mostly because occasionally, in the name of health I create a meal that doesn’t satiate one or both of these needs.  These are the meals that end up with me in the chip cabinet at 10pm.

So my problem primarily occurs when I eat out.  At restaurants.  Because they serve HUGE portions.  Portions I could not possibly eat no matter how hard I try.  And believe me, I try.

Americans value value.  So we eat a lot of cheap foods.  I try not be like this, but still get stuck in the rut when I go to a restaurant and really want to feel the satisfaction of “finishing” my meal.  I can’t.  Or I do and truly feel like shit afterward.  It is really nice having something to take home sometimes so that I can eat it again another day.  But sometime couldn’t a restaurant just serve the proper serving size?

I know, I know the restaurant/food company/FDA’s job isn’t to make us healthy.  But every once in a while I would like to go somewhere and be served good food that satisfied me.   Food that made me feel like I’d had enough.

I don’t ignore my emotional issues, I’m just asking for some assistance.  You’d think the health care system would appreciate someone like me.  I won’t cost them as much.  In the long run people like me, while we might be a pain in the ass, are the ones that will live those healthy lives with less diet-related health concerns.  That is a good thing.  Right?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nutrition Pushing

Last year was the year of the Omega Three Fatty Acid.  A concept most people don’t understand and wouldn’t know how to find one if forced, almost all items last year were changed so that they could be marketed as high in omega3s.  This year the  big companies are pushing Vitamin D and Calcium.  Who knows exactly how these nutrients are decided.  Last year the brussels sprout was the it vegetable; this year it is kale.  Kale is the main ingredient in every new recipe you see touted by companies.  Blueberries were presented as magical because they are high in antioxidants, now it is pomegranate and acai berries.

What will it be next?  Do we really need these labels?  Are they helpful without context?  And what really gets me is if someone eats kale every day then they aren’t getting enough variety in their diet to be healthy.  People need to eat all greens, one of them being kale.  People need antioxidants from a variety of sources.  And yes, we should be eating more greens to get more omega3s in our diet vs. omega 6s, but putting it into grains and other things where it doesn’t belong is not the answer. 

Internal Dialogue

*Warning: not for the faint of heart.  If you don't like swearing or negative talk then just stop reading now.

This is the internal dialogue between the two of me: Skinny Bitch (SB) and Big Fat Cow (BFC).

SB-Dude, you suck.  You are fat, gross and are really ruining my awesomeness.  I look awesome and you are supremely disgusting with your fat hanging out everywhere.
BFC- You just need to chill out.  You are stressing me out.  Why do you have to be such hard work?  It is just food after all.
SB-You are making us a hypocrite!  How could anyone believe I am healthy and eat well if I am big and fat?
BFC- A: your standards are just a wee to high.  We are NOT fat.  However, to answer that question.  People don't expect you to be perfect.  You will be a successful health coach because of your life experience and your unique contributions.
SB-Ya.  My "unique contributions".  What people really want is a happy, sunny person.  Neither of us are that.
BFC- It is true.  But we are real.  We have always valued that, haven't we?
SB- YesYes, but can't you just shove over for a little bit?  You have been in charge for most of my life.  Can't I just lead for a while?  I have only had one year!
BFC-Ya, and what have you done with that year?
SB- A TON!  I eat so much better, I am so aware of what I am putting in my body and have more energy.  I am not depressed anymore (remember depression, fatso?) and am sleeping better.
BFC- Good points, but still.  CHILL OUT!

SB is quiet for a while. 
SB-I want to chill out.
BFC-I want to honor our decisions to eat well and life a balanced happy life.  I like us.
SB-ya.  I need to be alone for a while.  Can we talk later?
BFC-Take Care.  Love you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review–Catching Fire

One of my nagging concerns about the Nutrition program I am currently enrolled in is that I won’t have enough nutrition information to help people when I graduate.  Being the librarian/ex-librarian/avid reader that I am, I am spending much of my reading time on emotional eating, diet, and science of nutrition books.  I want to read as many books as I can so I can help as many people as I can.  I don’t think I am so unique as to believe that my life experience leaves me isolated.  Why else would Facebook be so popular?  I believe many people like me want to eat a little better, sleep a little better and live a little better.  This is why I believe this school is great and why I can have a career helping people live their best life. 

I recently finished Catching Fire:How Cooking Made Us Human.  This book started out slow.  I thought I would recommend it to raw-foodies, but 75 pages in I thought they would be offended.  I kept reading and found it more and more interesting.  By the end I really thought the author had a lot to say and wanted to engage in a dialogue with people who thoughtfully ate food.  People who thought that the food they ate had meaning every day.

I find myself thinking about this book a lot recently in my life.  Like why we eat cooked meat and what that means about portion size. (Cooking meat gives us more energy from the food so we need a LOT less.)  We also lost our jaw strength and teeth sharpness in the evolution from habilines to homo erectus and so don’t have the ability to chew raw meat.  Or the time really… I have loved learning more of the science behind our food and how the evolution of humans have brought us here.  The ramifications of this evolution we are seeing now in a society that is over-weight and under nourished.

Read this book if you want to know more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Healthy and Skinny are not the same thing

Now everyone with me say, “DUH”.

Well, recently I have been eating really well.  Almost completely organic, mostly vegetarian, seasonally appropriate and predominantly local foods.  Feeling good about my food choices but for one thing that is “uhhmm” weighing me down.  Yep.  The weight thing is such a problem.  The number.  I didn’t weigh myself for about three years.  It was such a nice time Smile.

That number just kills me though.  I am eating so well, but after a dinner of brown rice, tofu, broccoli and peppers I am up about two pounds.  Now, seemingly my body doesn’t like brown rice (maybe it is the phytic acid), but STILL.  I need to find another whole grain that treats me a little better.  Quinoa is good, but hubbend doesn’t like it.  I shall try kasha, amaranth and millet next.

I get frustrated when I feel like I am working so hard at this and I am still not rewarded.  (Rewarded now, that is.)  Which definitely points out one of my problems with food.  It might have altered a bit, but the fact that I think I should get a gold star for eating well tells me something is still off.  Intellectually you may know that eating well will keep you healthier in the long run and eating locally/organically is good for the environment, but is that truly what keeps you going?  Not me.  I want to eat well enough so that my body stays strong for as long as possible, but I feel like my reward should be something like, “And now, Brooke, after all that hard work, you shall be rewarded with the loss of the sugar craving.  You will now enjoy the foods you eat that sustain you and will not feel disappointed at the end of the meal because it was “so healthy” and there wasn’t a sweet reward.”

Is that too much to ask?  I guess so. <sigh>

So I am down two pounds today.  Two more to go until I am normal again.  And still I wait.  And work.  And hope some day for that reward.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Then again

Once again the rules have changed and I am slightly behind in figuring it out.  I am not the most intuitive person so I am not surprised just glad that it finally sunk in.

What am I talking about?  The vague references aren’t clear?  It might be my lack of clarity which explains my lack of ability to clearly elucidate my thoughts.

I am sitting here sweating because I have had coffee which my body evidently doesn’t need.  Lemme go get a glass of cool water and I’ll be back.

OK.  Will henceforth start spilling it~ I have been eating too many carbs!  What?  How did that happen?  Well, after spending one year eschewing them as a way to maintain weight, this fall I started adding root vegetables and whole grains meaningfully into my diet.  Why you ask?  Well, this summer I didn’t have enough umph during my Olympic Triathlon and part of that was due to not enough carbohydrates in my diet.  Because complex carbs are good for endurance athletes.  The fiber slows down the absorption giving your body energy over time. 

So, what is the deal now?  Well, I am not training for a triathlon right now.  I work out, but just not as hard or for as long.  I don’t need all those carbs in my diet to keep my body keeping on.  I need to back off a bit.  Cause the belly is bugging me. 

In the spring I can come back to this, but I need for find my balance for now.  For winter.  Which is different than spring when I am training for running.  Which is different than summer when I am actively training and competing.  Which is different than fall.  Wow, this stuff isn’t easy.  And everyone is different. 

The body is amazing and complex, isn’t it?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thank you, turkey

So I just want to thank the turkey officially for all it has given us.  From Thanksgiving Day’s meat, to 3 subsequent TG meals, multiple sandwiches and the broth made from the carcass.
turkey broth
Thank you, turkey, I appreciate all you have given us and will continue to do so in the form of most awesome broth for the coming winter season.