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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

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Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve.  For many it is a night filled with dancing, partying, eating and drinking…all to some level of excess.  Typically this is followed up the next day with some sort of self-flagellation, a swearing off of certain foods and drinks, and a trip to the gym that is more an act of repentance than of self-improvement.

STOP!

Yeah, I know we all set goals on January 1st.  Yes, many of us may indulge in a bit of debauchery the night before.

It’s.  All.  Good!

Getting fit, eating better and becoming better human beings does NOT mean that you can’t have a little fun during the holidays.  No, you shouldn’t live a healthy lifestyle so you can occasionally partake in unhealthy behavior.

That’s silly.

BUT, it is one of the nice side benefits.  Too many people measure every calorie, every gram of fat/carbohydrate/protein, every ounce of water they put into their bodies and when they fall off of that wagon, they plead for forgiveness and become even stricter with their self-control.

What kind of life is that?

Eat a healthful, colorful diet and participate in vigorous physical activity because you want to…because it feels good…because ultimately, it’s fun.

If you choose not to dance or eat or drink, that’s okay too.  I’m sure your body will thank you for it on the 1st…but will your heart?  Obviously I am not advocating abusing the various foods or substances people may use on New Year’s Eve (or any other celebratory occasion I suppose).  What I am saying is that you should be able to have a little fun, eat a bunch of fatty food and imbibe in some champagne tomorrow night…without feeling bad about it the next day.

Just make sure you call a cab if you decide to drink.

Happy New Year everyone!  Be safe, have fun.

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America is in trouble because its [sic] perpetuated this idea of “enjoying food” and food that make(s) you “feel good”. People need to understand that food is fuel. Its not there to entertain you.
-a commenter on Go Kaleo’s Facebook Page

To which I say, well then what is the friggin’ point, man?  If you take that approach to life, you are really going to to lead a dull, boring life, aren’t you?

Is food fuel?  Yes, of course it is.  Should we eating whatever we want, whenever we want?  Absolutely not.  But why the heck would you NOT want to enjoy your food when you do have it?  For Lord’s sake, taste is one of our five major senses, and arguably the most intimate.  I wonder if the people who preach the “Food is only fuel” mantra feel the same way about sex?  It’s only for procreation!  or music? sound is only for communication! or the smell of a rose? smell is only for warning us of danger!

As a person of Japanese decent, I have been exposed to food in a very different way – a meal is not just fuel;  a meal is something that pleases as many senses as possible – from the subtle flavors (emphasis on subtle), to the simple visual presentation, to the smells and sounds (say from a sizzling dish) and of course texture of the dish.  A meal is to be enjoyed by all five senses, not just downed in an attempt to fuel the body.

But most importantly, a meal is something you take time to enjoy.  Eat it slowly, take your time, let your senses revel in the process of consuming.

Whether you are a believer in God or a higher power or, like me, the Universe, we were given a gift when we emerged from the primordial ooze – the ability to sense and enjoy what we sensed.  Beauty comes in all kinds of forms – there is beauty in touch, in sight, in sound, in scent and in taste.  Why would we obsessively deny ourselves the ability to experience the beauty that is all around us.

Food, or more importantly a meal, invites us to do just that.

Does our American society have a problem with food?  There’s no arguing that.  Everything is super-sized, extemely salted, heavily sugared and overly processed; the foods that much of the Nation consumes are addictive, calorically dense and nutritionally empty.  But Americans aren’t addicted to the enjoyment of food…they are addicted to the food choices they have made – there is a difference.

Does that mean we need to stop enjoying our food?  I don’t think so.  Maybe we need to take a clue from my ancestors and take a moment to slow down, observe, inhale, listen, touch and taste.

m&t_zilia_0003_4and remember the Okinawan phrase: Hara hachi bu.

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cant_say_that

There are some words that, in my humble opinion, should rarely, if ever, be used – the list is relatively short.  You can probably come up with them all on your own – the “n” word, the “r” word, the “c” word…I’m sure there are a few others, but suffice it to say, that these words are frowned upon because as a society we have realized that they are hurtful in more ways than just hurt feelings.

It seems that there are some in the health industry who would like to take a few more words away from your vocabulary – the most prevalent one being “moderation”.  Why do they want to take this word away from you?  Simply put, because it’s a crutch; an excuse for poor choices; it means different things to different people; and my personal favorite people are too dumb to know what moderation really means.

Andy Bellatti, a register dietician, recently wrote on the Huffington Post that “Everything in moderation,” is another way of unnecessarily and inaccurately equalizing all foods. It operates on the inane and utterly insane notion that peaches, Pop-Tarts, muffins, soda, lentils and tomatoes should all be approached the same way.

Um…really?

He goes on to imply that you, the public, are not intelligent enough to understand that three cups of mixed greens as part of a salad are not the same thing as three cups of chocolate pudding.

And that you are too clueless to realize a large Dunkin’ Donuts Mountain Dew Coolatta should not be consumed with the same frequency as unsweetened green tea.

And that you have no idea that eating a pint of blueberries in one sitting is very different from eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs.

Hmmm…is that you?

Personally, I think most people actually do understand that.

Do you really think that three cups of mixed greens is the same as three cups of chocolate pudding?  If I were to say to you that you’re okay to eat chocolate pudding occasionally, as long as it’s in moderation, would you interpret that as “I can eat 3 cups of chocolate pudding every single day!”?

Do you, as many of these health experts believe you do, believe that drinking a 32 oz soda slushy is the same as drinking unsweetened green tea?

In your mind is eating a pint of blueberries the same as eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Now, Bellatti does have a point.  Ask 20 people what moderation means and you will probably get 20 different answers, but you can bet next week’s paycheck that the majority (and to be specific I’ll say 80%) of the answers will be lumped together like a giant bell curve, varying only minutely.

Perhaps Bellatti and those of his ilk are former food addicts in a past life and feel they must go to extreme measures to keep their past behaviors under control.  You know what?  That’s not fair, I don’t know him at all, but perhaps Bellatti and his followers simply need to do a better job of reminding themselves what “moderation” actually means and relearn that a moderate amount of food A is not is not going to be the same as a moderate amount of food B…

Here’s a little help:

mod·er·a·tion
ˌmädəˈrāSHən/
noun
noun: moderation
1.  the avoidance of excess or extremes, esp. in one’s behavior or political opinions.

synonyms: self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-command, self-discipline, temperance

Notice the synonyms?

I’m not a dietician.  I don’t even play one on TV, in part, well, because I’m not on TV, but I’m pretty sure that someone who has worked hard for their RD status can work with individual clients and help those who want to know what a moderate amount of chocolate pudding would be…it’s certainly going to be a significantly less amount, in both volume and frequency, than a moderate amount of salad greens.

…but of course, most of us already knew that.

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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen a few of my latest posts that take jabs at those who excoriate those who don’t eat “real food”.  Whenever and wherever I see these “experts” and “gurus” inadvertently shaming others, the inevitable question of those on a tight budget comes up –

“How does someone on food stamps or someone who is struggling financially manage to eat only “real food”?

This is a fair and appropriate question – as many of you have pointed out, access to these “real foods” can be 2 or 3 bus rides away, and that’s after at 12 hour work day.  There is not only the immediate higher monetary cost because most of this “real food” is more expensive per volume, there is also the time cost, which unless you are a mother or father you may not know is simply priceless.

Whenever I see this question posed, the answer is almost always,

“well, it’s cheaper that getting sick.”

What kind of answer is that?

It isn’t.

It provides nothing other than letting the speaker feel they have conveyed some sort of positive message, while leaving those financially struggling, time strapped families with no real solution and a feeling of shame and embarrassment for not having the resources to provide their children “real food”.

This is what I posted on Facebook recently after seeing yet another “it’s cheaper than getting sick” response:

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While I laud efforts that encourage people to move their bodies and eat a more nutrient rich diet, I can’t help getting a little irritated at, as one running Instagram friend put it, those who “look down on someone from the high pedestal of privilege.”  Let’s be clear, if you have easy access and the financial means to shop at specialty markets then you are privileged, there is simply no arguing that.  I was happy to hear from another friend that in her area there is an affordable indoor/outdoor farmer’s market located in the heart of her city that accepts EBT cards and food stamps and is open year round.  The key words?  Affordable and In the Heart of the City.  That is a tremendous start, but we still have a  long way to go before we reach food equality for all in this country.

So with that being said, I am seeking your help.  I would like to post YOUR favorite, relatively healthful recipes for four that you can make for around $10 (US) or even less.  I am hoping to collect around thirty recipes that I will price out, document my attempt to make and then post here on the blog.  Quick recipes will obviously help the time strapped families, but I will gladly take all kinds, especially those that can be stretched – the key is that they need to be relatively healthy.

Relatively healthy…what does that mean?  To be honest, I’m not exactly sure.  I suppose it means that it’s not made up entirely of processed foods and has elements that call for veggies or fruits (fresh, frozen or canned).  If you are in doubt, send it to me anyway.  I will happily credit all contributors (if wanted) providing links to blogs or websites as well.

If you have an inexpensive healthful recipe you love and are willing to share, please email it to me at runluaurun at gmail dot com or message me on Facebook.

The bottom line is that I would like to see more people NOT eating out of a box for every meal and my hope is that WE can help provide the means for more people to both think and eat “outside the box”.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Luau

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*Inspired in part by some of the unpublished comments I received on my Get Out Of My Village post and tangentially by the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen.  If you can help me come up with an appropriate hashtag, I would be grateful.

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I am so ashamed…

***

I sometimes eat candy…

I sometimes eat fast food…

I sometimes eat inorganic fruits and veggies…

I sometimes eat meat…

I sometimes eat processed meats & cheeses…

I sometimes drink soda…

I sometimes drink juice from a large company…

I sometimes drink juice that was freshly squeezed from freshly picked fruits that were delivered by a diesel truck…

I sometimes consume HFCS…

I sometimes consume sugar…

I sometimes consume grain…

I sometimes eat organic foods that have been delivered by a truck that consumes gasoline…

I sometimes drive a car that leaves a carbon footprint…

I sometimes travel in a non-solar-powered vehicle…

I sometimes travel in a solar powered vehicle that was manufactured using oil and other non-natural materials…

I sometimes dress in clothes that were made in China…

I sometimes wear clothes that were made in the USA but had to be delivered by truck to the store…

I sometimes have to dispose of garbage…

I sometimes eat at a restaurant that uses electricity that it gets from non-clean sources…

I sometimes turn on a light at home that is connected to the powergrid…

I sometimes read by candlelight from a natural wax candle that was delivered by a vehicle using fossil fuels…

I sometime heat or cool my home because the outside temperature is below 40 degrees or above 90 degrees…

I sometimes go places that are owned by major companies…

I sometimes use the internet with my computer/iPhone that were made in China or Japan…

I sometimes live in the real world…

***

I am so ashamed that I don’t live a vegan life, living on a farm where I eat only food that either I have grown without the use of fertilizers or traded with a neighbor who also didn’t use any fertilizer, wearing only clothes that have been made from materials I can collect within walking distance from my front door, woven together with a loom I made from fallen branches, never traveling by any other method other than my own two feet that are shod in shoes I or my neighbor made from only local products fashioned with tools that I made with rocks, communicating solely through face to face communication or written letters written with a stick and ink I made grinding beets and delivered by foot…

***

There’s nothing wrong with choosing to live a cleaner, healthier life.  There’s nothing wrong with encouraging others to do the same.  One should, for their own sake…for the sake of their children, strive to live healthier, cleaner, less environmentally impactful lives…

But…

But the glass house is big…I mean, it’s really, really big.

Before letting someone shame you for not living cleanly enough because you have crossed some arbitrary line he or she has chosen, ask yourself if that person has truly given up every, single possible connection to “the dirt”…here’s a hint: if they can read this, they haven’t.

You do what you can with the budget and resources you have available.

Have you ever had someone try to shame or scare you for what you were eating or doing?

#ISometimesLiveInTheRealWorld

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To get from here:

To here:

You must start by changing what goes here:

It may not be easy.  In fact, it may take a lot of work, but in the end, it will be well worth it.   Exercise is key, but what you fuel up with is a good 80% of the equation!  Don’t let the limitations that others would put on you stop you from becoming the Superwoman (or Superman) you know you can be.

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…because I run marathons.

30 – 50 miles of running a week means I can eat fried chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, beer, wine, bourbon, tequila, soda, pumpkin pie, candy, pastries, pasta, white bread, ho-ho’s, twinkies, sticks of butter, and a tub of crisco and it won’t add a single inch to my waistline – all because I run.  I run and run and run and that’s why I’m thin/slender/lean – that’s why no matter what I eat, I still look good!

that’s right…anything I want…

Okay, well, no…not really.

But a lot of people assume that.  They’ll look at me and say, “boy, you must be able to eat whatever you want!”  If I choose to indulge in something decadent while out with non-runners, the response around the table is, “he can do that because he runs so much.”

Those statements are only half true.

The truth is that I can run the way I do because I eat healthfully; I don’t regularly eat the fried chicken, cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, beer, wine, bourbon, tequila, soda, pumpkin pie, candy, pastries, pasta, white bread, ho-ho’s, twinkies, sticks of butter, and a tub of crisco – and BECAUSE I generally eat healthfully, I can occasionally indulge in a ridiculous meal without having to pay the price for it on my waist.

***

Physical activity is a huge part of being in good cardiovascular shape.  However, I could run a marathon a day for a year, but if I ate like crap, I would continue to look like I ate like crap.

eat like crap…feel like crap.

Eating healthfully doesn’t need to mean eating grass, nuts and berries.  There are plenty of websites out there with tasty recipes.  Personally, my taste buds can be satisfied as long as whatever I’m making involves olive oil, lemon juice, some chili powder and a dash of kosher salt.  The point is, you can still eat “well” while eating healthfully.

It all starts with what you fuel your body with.  If you normally feed your body junk, it’s gonna look, and way more importantly FEEL, like junk.  Feed it right, and the junk will eventually peel away, leaving you looking better because you’re FEELING better!  Your energy level will rise, your ability to be active will soar, and running (or whatever physical activity you choose) will become easier – you may lose a lot of weight OR you may remain the same weight and simply redistribute it into leaner, denser, sexier muscle.

***

Yes, I CAN eat anything…every once in a while.

But it’s not because I run marathons; it’s because most of the time, what I choose to eat is tasty, satifying and good for me.

What will you put in your body today?

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