How did I forget to talk about food?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I am filled with ideas today, so another blog post was called for. I might even get to three in 24 hours at this rate. Can you tell the work I have to do tonight is not all that exciting…? emoticon

I've just realized that I don't really mention food on SP at all. Looking back over my goals and blog entries, at no point do I talk about how I eat. Considering how much I love food, and how much time I spend thinking about food, it's surprising it hasn't come up before…

I’ve been fan of eating clean, whole, minimally processed foods for a few years, and I’ve become more stringent as time has gone on. I think we all know deep down that eating foods as close to their natural state as possible has to be a good thing, and that anything that has a list of ingredients that barely fits on the packet and that sounds like a chemistry experiment is probably not such a good thing. But it’s surprisingly easy to mess up.

Take bread as an example. Bread makes me angry. In the US (I’m originally from England and we don’t have the same problem) it is incredibly difficult to find bread that doesn’t have sugar in it. I’m not talking about the carbs, which bread is obviously almost entirely made up of. I mean real sugar, and occasionally honey of HF corn syrup. In my local supermarket, there is half an aisle of bread. From sliced loaves to bagels to hamburger buns. I’ve spent a lot of time in that aisle. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I do eat a lot of eggs, and sometimes I just have to opt for soft boiled eggs with soldiers to dunk (that might be a Britishism – toast, cut into egg sized strips for dunking in runny yolks, yummers). Now this half an aisle of bread products comprises over a hundred different items. Do you know how many I have found that do not include sugar? Two. TWO. This outrages me. Even the organic whole grain stuff with pictures of farmland on the front has sugar in it, usually in the form of honey or molasses, but it's still sugar.

Why does bread need to have sugar in it, I hear you ask? Well, it doesn’t. It’s often a question of taste; and if you ask any British people, or Australians, or most Europeans, what they think about American bread, you will most likely hear that they think it tastes really sweet. Sugar also helps with the browning of the loaf, so if you care how tan your bread is, I suppose that’s a plus…

Something else that bugs me? “Fat free”, “Low fat”, “Sugar free”, and the like. One of my favorite quotes is ‘when you see “fat free” think “chemical sh*t storm”’. A bag of sugar is fat free. Lard is sugar free. They are meaningless terms, and dangerous when applied to processed foods like yogurt, sodas, etc.

So I could rant for a long time on this, but I’ll stop myself getting too militant.

I follow a pretty simple eating plan, based on clean eating principles. And I am mostly pretty good at it. I don’t eat any processed foods. I cook a lot. I occasionally give in to a craving for something less clean, but it’s rare, and I usually get halfway through and then remember that I don’t really want it. I drink plenty of water. I eat a significant amount of protein. I eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. I eat every few hours so that I don’t crash. What I am less good at is portioning. I’m getting better, and have made some real progress on that aspect of my diet over the last few months, but I have to be very conscious of what a portion of chicken or quinoa or mango looks like.

So that’s my approach to food. And it’s working. I’m not talking weight loss here, which is proving irritatingly elusive at the moment, but I look and feel different from the way I felt a couple of years ago, even this time last year. I look fresher, my eyes are brighter, my efforts in the gym are really paying off in terms of muscular development, and I put all of that down to being as clean as possible in the kitchen.

My plan for now? Keep it clean, keep it simple, try to eat a bit less of that delicious, clean, simple stuff.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.