Return to the roots of your food

I was going to write about foodie bashing… something that I’ve noticed happening lately in the blogosphere. So I started researching it and opened about 10k tabs in Chrome. It was going well until the shear number of tabs made my computer so laggy that I had to save what I typed and rebooted the computer. I came back with full intention of continuing my research, but what I was faced with was nastiness, pettiness and lack of concern for the real issue – our food.

People are more concerned with discrediting others and proving them wrong even though those foodies are only trying to make the food industry a better place and maybe earn a living in the process. This constant “she said, he said” attitude is a very lowly and unprofessional way of communicating in the blogosphere. This made me think that I’m not really in the mood to get involved in this bashing, whether it be to put my own opinion out there or to partake in the bashing. That’s not the reason for this blog. The reason for this blog is to put out some information that I know to be valid and show how to put together real, healthy food that anybody with some kitchen skills can do for themselves. I’m not really interested in proving or disproving or arguing about the existence of “toxins” or chemicals in our food, because I’m also not interested in eating out in such establishments as Subway (which might have used a chemical also found in yoga mats in their bread). If I want a sandwich I will go to a local baker to buy my bread – I highly recommend George Town Bakery in downtown St. John’s; if I want some veggies I will go along Route 60 to local farmers to buy them from them. This way I am guaranteed that the product is, if not certified organic, very close to organic and void of any unwanted elements. On that note, let me show you what I’ve put together one day over the weekend to eat.

one day of food

I’ve realized by looking at this picture that I tend to want to eat something sweet in the morning and at night. I guess, I don’t eat desserts as such, so I make a whole meal something of a treat by turning it sweetish.  

Breakfast consisted of a version of my Froyo Ice-Cream, raw oats, semi-sweet Krisda Chocolate Chips and 1/2 serving of almond butter.

Lunch was 2 slices of Ezekiel bread with deli meat, 2 sunny-side ups and coffee.

Supper was 150g coconut oil seared squid rings, baked sweet potato (barely showing in the pic), sliced cucumber, carrots and some raw asparagus.

Night snack was a mug cake, sprinkled with chocolate chips and raw sunflower seeds with a side of rice cakes.

There was also a quest bar pre-workout that day that’s not in the picture. 

This is a far departure from the way I used to eat when I first decided to change my diet and start eating healthfully. In 2005, when I first did a 180 degree switch and ditched all sugar and processed food from my diet, I turned to natural food, mostly veggies and lean meats with minimal carbs. I was somewhat scared of eating carbs. I only allowed them in the morning and on occasion for lunch in the form of whole wheat pasta or brown rice. This allowed me to shed a lot of fat because reducing carbohydrates also lowered my calorie intake significantly. There was not that much fat in my diet so I practically ran on protein and whatever carbs I got in the morning. It was perfectly fine for the activity level I was maintaining at that point. I was a University student and I practiced home Yoga and Pilates. My body did not need more than the minimum. I was consuming according to my activity level.

Today, however, my activity level has increased significantly and even though limiting carbohydrates does allow me to lean out significantly, I find I become very sluggish if carbs are low. Hence, every meal in this picture contains some form of carbs: oats, potatoes, rice cakes. Old habits do die hard and I still have remnants of my carbophobia lingering around. Some days, if I’m not very active, I do tend to eliminate starchy carbs in favour of fat and protein, but most times I’ll try to keep those two stable and only play with the beloved carbs. 

Since reintroducing more carbohydrate choices into my diet, there has been a multitude of positive side effects, for example, I have found an increase in strength at the gym. In particular, my squats, deadlifts and chest presses have progressively increased in weight. I also find that consuming more carbohydrates helps me with my mood, even though if you ask Randy, he might disagree ;).  What I do find a struggle, though, is self control when it comes to consuming carbs, especially when they are of the refined variety. Also, including sweet meals in my days makes me want to eat more. Even when those sweet dishes do not actually contain any refined sugar, they seem to wake up the urge to eat more of the sweet stuff.

So, the next goal for me in terms of food consumption is to move away from artificial food products like protein powders (that are mostly sweetened with Sucralose), pseudo foods such as powdered peanut butter, 0 calorie pancake syrups etc.. I blame social media on introducing me to those “free foods”. I’ve been seeing time and time again pictures and videos of people raving about the latest food craze that is either 0 calories, fat or sugar free and can be consumed with no restraint, that I have fallen into this trap myself. But I’m coming to the realization that I should be promoting whole foods rather than gimmicks that are devoid of nutritional value. I’m not sure how happy my partner in crime is going to be about this since the upcoming hiking season will most likely see a lot of dehydrated foods like butter, eggs, peanut butter etc.. But I guess, I’ll have to bring a lot of oats and dry fruit and canned tuna with me 🙂

Why this sudden decision? Well, to be perfectly honest there are several reasons:

  1. These pseudo foods make me crave sweets more.
  2. They are a poor excuse for food.
  3. They are gimmicks not foods.
  4. There is an array of food that I want to try incorporating in my diet.
  5. I want to taste the actual food not chemically manufactured food items.

Number 5 is probably the main reason why I think it’s important for me to ditch the powders and all things I’ve been adding to my food to make it taste “better”. If you want to include some protein in your diet (which by the way is a key to losing weight) you should be able to get it from things like eggs, geek yogurt, cottage cheese, meat and at the same time taste the food instead of tasting some manufactured artificial flavours. I actually remember eating oats and plain greek yogurt and enjoying it immensely when I first ditched the sugar. These days the social media hype is making us believe that we need to add fake stuff to natural food products to make them palatable. I know that not to be the case. 0 calorie pancake syrup has no consequences – you can supposedly pour a whole bottle over your pancakes. Real maple syrup has consequences – it can pack on the calories and carbs and as a result you need to control and restrain yourself. But really, what’s happening if you opt for the fake 0 calorie syrup is that you will drown your pancake in it and what you are really tasting is an artificial, chemically created goop. With maple syrup you will taste everything on your plate and you will be better off for it.  So back to the roots it is!

UPDATE: my partner in crime was ecstatic when he read (while proofreading the post) about my exiling of protein powders from our diet. So much so that he rushed to give me a hug 🙂