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You are what you eat?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

So I just watched a documentary on Netflix. It's called Hungry for Change. Before it got to the end and devolved into a juicing and detox infomercial (seriously, I hate that stuff... if I want to eat more fruits and vegetables, I will eat more fruits and vegetables, nutrients and fiber intact, and you can't detox anyway. Your body doesn't work that way, and there is NO credible science that they work.) it was actually very enlightening and intelligent.

One of the things they talked about constantly was how our bodies get effectively addicted to sugar, because sugar is in EVERYTHING. If you're a big white bread eater, that gets basically metabolized right into sugar, too.

This made a lot of sense to me. I know that when I eat simple carbs, I STAY hungry... I can't get enough. Eat chinese food with lots of pasta or rice, or italian with pasta, or mexican with flour tortillas, and I'll be hungry again in an hour... no matter how much I ate.

I'm not a low-carber. I don't endorse the diets. I'm sure they work for some people, but I'm not interested in eliminating nutrients, nor reducing them. Carbs are not the devil. I like carbs. A LOT! In fact, carbs are actually the body's preferred quick fuel source. There's a reason distance runners carbo-load before marathons! The problem comes when we eat overly refined carbs that metabolize straight into sugar when we eat them, and eat more than our bodies burn, so it gets stored right away as fat. And leaves the body starving for nutrition while it's full from the calorie overload you just gave it. High in calories, low in nutrition.

I recently saw a person on SP who was complaining about gaining weight in spite of eating in her calorie ranges. I peeked at her trackers, and was stunned to find that yes, she's eating between 1200-1550 calories a day, but 30-50% of that was all candy and sweets! Trips to Starbucks, candy for lunch... its no wonder she isn't losing! All calories are not created equal. 100 calories of broccoli is so much you can't finish it, and it's packed with vitamins and minerals that keep you full and healthy. 100 calories of chocolate is gone in a flash, and leaves you hungry and wanting more. If you want your body to be healthy, you have to fuel it properly.

I think what I DO need to do is start focusing on the quality of my foods. I'm already moving in that direction. I eat whole grains instead of refined white stuff. Whole wheat bread, pasta, etc. I'm trying to add more veggies; I'm up to 5-6 servings of vegetables a day... up from 0-2.

I'm going to focus more on eating healthy and clean. Whole foods, made-from-scratch seasonings and such. Part of the reason I have such a sodium problem is because I tend to easy to make kits and prepackaged stuff, frozen prepared foods (like pre-breaded chicken) and stuff to heat and eat.

So I think my project for the next month is to make as much of the food I eat as possible to not have a nutrition label. Fruits, veggies, and meats from the outside perimeter of the store. I'm going to aim to reduce my sugar intake. I'm not going for perfection here, I'm just going to start adding this stuff gradually.

Today I already started down that road; dinner consisted of fajitas with fresh-cut bell peppers and onions, with chicken breasts. The kids both got a helping of raw bell peppers and onions. While at the grocery store, we took a look at some cereal. The two boxes I picked up were strawberry mini wheats, and Special K with strawberries.

On the box of strawberry mini wheats? No mention of strawberries. There's a long laundry list of long, unpronounceable chemical names, but no strawberries in it. Mmmm, it does have sorbitol, though!

The Special K? Rice. Whole grain wheat. sugar, wheat bran, strawberries, brown sugar, wheat fiber, less than 2% salt, and malt flavoring.

This is the natural progression for me. I'm already aiming, instead of "I can't have it but I want it" for "I can have it but I don't want it." I don't deny myself anything, but as I've learned more about
what's in my food, how many calories things "cost", that they just aren't appealing. I am resolving to read those labels, and choose things that have the fewest. While eating some "reduced sugar" instant oatmeal today, I looked at the label in horror to find a list of some 20+ ingredients, including artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

So I threw it away, and bought a container of instant oatmeal. Ingredient list: Oats. I can add my own brown sugar and maple syrup if I want it.

I had chips with dinner for the first time in a month, and it just... wasn't good. I didn't even finish them. I've gotten to where I always have a bag of carrots and broccoli in the fridge for easy snacking. I just need to expand my options. Instead of grabbing an msg-laden fajita seasoning mix, I need to make my own. I have dozens of cookbooks I never use. I just need to stop being lazy, and start doing what is good for my family, and for me.

Besides, it's hella cheaper than going out to eat all the time.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Most all these shows end up with the same bottom line, Eating right and in the right balance. Juicing or cooking to retain the best nutrition is just fine tuning the process. The SP plan works and so many of us here have proven it. When it doesn't work is usually lack of dedication and consistency.
    1902 days ago
    OH! I like that goal, "So I think my project for the next month is to make as much of the food I eat as possible to not have a nutrition label." Way to Go! I think I'll jump on that one too! My family is better at not getting much of the pre-made stuff, just because we don't really care for the tastes of most of it. However, on the other side of that one, I'm a soup junkie in the winter. It's my go to meal when I'm short on time. My DH hates soup in general unless it's Cream of Something or loaded with cheese, bacon bits and such. So I usually grab a can of something to satisfy myself. I just need to get off my rear and use the wonderful crock pot I have to make some good homemade soups.
    emoticon keep us updated on your progress!
    1904 days ago
    This is so exactly where I am too. Somewhere in between knowing exactly what needs to done and doing it consistently. Thanks for the reminder. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
  • CLARK971
    good for you! changing your lifestyle is key to this journey. i found your comment about the reduced sugar oatmeal interesting-people see low sugar or low fat and often think that is the best option. your instant oatmeal option is much better. (check out the sparks recipe for peanut butter oatmeal-it is soooo good.)

    we live in a society that expects immediate results. there are no quick fixes-the small lifestyle changes are what really add up and make a difference over time.

    some cereals i eat have now become a sort of dessert for me-when they used to be part of my "healthy eating." still eating them-but at least i have moved them to the unhealthy category...baby steps...
    1905 days ago
    It really seems like you are changing your whole lifestyle. And this is what this journey is all about: changing habits not for the period of time that you'll need to lose weight, but for the rest of your life.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1906 days ago
    Looks like you have found the direction to go in and are taking those forward steps. The packaged and prepared foods have so much extra junk in it, so while it's easy to prepare, it's hard on your body. I'd be willing to bet there are cookbooks out there that focus on quick and easy recipes that are healthy and delicious. You can also try making your own versions of prepackaged meals like hamburger helper. You could also try batch cooking on weekends, getting your kid and husband involved in the process to help you and make them feel helpful. Planning ahead and doing prep work ahead of time seems tedious sometimes, but on the nights when you don't want to put in the time and effort to cook, having part of the meal done ahead of time is a lifesaver.
    1906 days ago
    you are what you eat - who wants to be fast, easy and cheap?

    DH bought a juicer. He's been reading about some macro nutrient blah, blah, blah. (insert eye roll emote here) Whatever. On the bright side, it's not very loud and it can be used to make nut butter.

    he put a bag of carrots, spinach, and an apple through it. Drank the juice. Threw all the pulp in the compost. What a waste! I would have used the pulp to make vegetable broth.
    1906 days ago
    Great blog post! I look forward to renting that documentary--sounds interesting.
    1906 days ago
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