Tuesday, November 20, 2012
After some years of researching and trying various diets: low carb lifestyles, primal, paleo, whole food, raw food, low cal, low fat, and faddy ones like only fruit or cabbage soup (for a seriously limited time), I can finally see a picture of My Own Diet growing like a painting. A tapestry. It is growing steadily. Slowly but surely. It is my project and no-one else's. It is MOD in the making.
I am 62 and I guess for some it takes years to get to know your body, your mind, your likes and dislikes, motivations, inspirations and more. I know what I like - just as in art :) - and I know what now makes sense to me.
Just me, mind you. Just me. Different things appeal to different people.
Someone else has a different life, different culture maybe, different foods growing up, different ways in the kitchen. For some it is easier to adapt to a chosen diet or foods than for others. For instance, I could no more eat light (or any other) margarine than fly. Why? Because I grew up where we were always endeavouring to eat healthy food, and eating a product that is allegedly one molecule away from plastic does not appeal, apart from the fact that I just didn't like the taste after a childhood of eating natural butter.
Of course I was maligned by many who thought I was nuts eating butter, but I was exonerated later when margarine was shown to be carcinogenic and butter was again recognised as natural and became the new good.
After all, my grandmother ate all the forbidden animal fats, butter, cream etc and lived to be 92, as did my grandfather, also 92. Genes do help, I am sure.
Suffice to say that wholesome and (mostly) natural was the norm for them, and family generations of cooks and foodies before and after have enjoyed creating great dishes for sumptuous Sunday lunches, dinners, parties and exquisite afternoon teas. And they thoroughly enjoyed eating them too. Nevertheless, they were all relatively healthy, although the weight problem definitely reared its nasty head in mostly the females of the family.
They also loved sugar, and that is where the wholesome and good seemed to fail. Cakes, tarts, cookies, homemade white breads, buttermilk rusks and such. Excellent bakers they were, my mum included. Her Angel Cake was legendary.
In one respect I have been fortunate in that baking is not my thing. However, savoury and creamy foods! Now that's another story. Cheeses, creams, wines, fats (healthy ones...natural, cold pressed and such) have been part of my cooking style for at least 20 years. I was a vegetarian for 7 years in London during the 70s and then I returned home where I could not resist the biltong (jerky) and the national sausage, boerewors. Not to mention the excellent Karroo lamb whose taste is sublime and is about as free range as you can get. So when the weight started piling on it was to low carb I went looking for answers. To put it briefly, I lost...and put on, as with so many other diets before.
This got me thinking...and thinking. I thought primarily about what foods I actually liked, not just tolerated. Then I started making decisions relevant to my personal tastes and lifestyle, based on sifted and sorted information gathered over time.
Cheese is a favourite of mine, but I will give it a wide berth for the moment and the only dairy I am using for now is my own home made natural live yogurt. I love it and use it instead of cream in some dishes. Even then, not every day. Coconut milk and coconut cream are staples in my pantry and I am grateful that something so nice is healthy.
Fats (yes, even the healthy ones) need to take a bit of a back seat in this too corpulent vehicle. 1 tablespoon a day, three teaspoons. That is my preferred and decided limit. Not always easy, although I will not be fanatical about the fats but definitely diminish them for sure.
On MOD I have presented myself with a challenge (and a choice) to minimise my meat eating and increase my raw food. Particularly raw food in a blender, as in blended salads. The reasons for this are multitudinous. The most important reason right now is that my system feels like it really needs a bit of a break as it has been overloaded for too long and needs a good clean out. Raw veg and a little fruit seems to fit the bill for me. I will happily drink smoothies and raw blended salads.
Let it be said that I am not a die-hard raw foodist. Not at all. There are many foods that I love and do not want to give up. But they are getting a smaller space and can only come out to play when invited.
The bottom line of MOD is to eat natural foods and to eat enough to satisfy. No calorie or carb counting and no measuring, except for my 80/20 goal. Eighty percent vegetables, often raw, and a little fruit. Twenty percent fats and protein - including limited amounts of nuts, quinoa, millet, oats, oat bran and legumes. And as I said, natural, not processed. That in itself is a huge change in many peoples lives, but I am not a fast food junkie (very rarely) and I love all things organic and healthy. It doesn't mean that I don't like a traditional creme brulee or some delicious Belgian chocolate. Those lurk in the 20% on the odd occasion. Frozen bananas turned into ice-cream is a favourite, as are the raw food chocolate brownies I am planning to make this weekend.
The epiphany about MOD came when I realised there was not one diet that appealed to me totally. Oh, I have tried many. I found that I resisted certain elements in almost all diets. Everyone knows how many diets there are in this world, and one author prescribing his personal way to another can be very helpful, but I am sure there are many who feel as I do. Tried 'em all and not one fulfilled everyone of my tastes, preferences, quantities, likes and dislikes. I know I am not unique in this experience.
There is no longer one diet out there for me. No group or team that I can honestly say I follow. All things are in flux, change is constant, as are discoveries. Things will not stay the same and my ideas and decisions may be tested and they may even change over time. I give myself the freedom, for it is my own way.
This is the beginning of MOD. Everyone should have one...it just makes sense.
(Next Blog Entry: My choices and how I came to them)