getting serious about health and fitness

I think there comes a point in some people’s lives where they have an epiphany about their lifestyle and realize that it would be a really good idea to make some changes.

This happened to me two days ago.

I’ve been power walking quite a bit, not eating junk (much), and trying to lose weight for my engagement photo shoot, which will be some time in the fall. But I wasn’t losing. Not a bit. I felt better, sometimes I even thought I looked better, but my clothes weren’t getting looser and the number on the scale wasn’t dropping. That’s when I realized that I wasn’t committing enough, and that I needed to get drastic.

I love carbs.

I could eat a bagel for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner, and pastry for dessert. I totally have, too, and it only got worse after I became a pescatarian. I realized that all these processed carbohydrates are just dragging me down, I don’t need them, they’re my comfort food, but I won’t feel the need to comfort myself as much if I was an appropriate weight for my height.

I’m always going to be curvy, it’s just how I’m built, but I don’t want to be the fat girl anymore. I don’t want to be embarrassed when I have to lift my shirt in physical therapy, or constantly have to unroll my panties because they roll down under my “booty do” (it means you have a tummy, as in “her stomach sticks out more than her booty do!”). I’ve accepted the fact that unless I want to go back to bootcamp or join VBSS, and stay there forever, I’m not going to be a size 8. But I could be a size 12, and if I can really get into an active lifestyle, like joining an adult sports team, I might hit a 10.

I just know that I don’t want to do that photo shoot a size 18. I don’t want to have to buy a special wedding dress, or not be able to try any of them on because they won’t go over my thighs. I don’t want flabby arms, or more than one chin, or to have to wear Spanx shorts to keep my thighs from chafing. I don’t want any of that.

So the carbs are gone, I took my friend Iris‘ advice and typed a lists of foods I could eat and put it on the fridge so that when I get hungry, I can just choose something on the list instead of rooting around and most likely coming up with something unhealthy and/or starchy. I’ve actually been doing really well, it’s basically a whole foods diet, which I’ve been wanting to try since I read 100 Days of Real Food, and I have to say, it’s working out pretty well. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been so wrapped up in doing homework that half the time I forget to eat, and when I do eat I’m usually starving, so I really don’t care what it is I’m eating. I had a Subway tuna salad plate last night while I was in class, and it was so good I almost cried. Of course, all I had eaten the rest of the day was a hard-boiled egg and a cup of Greek yogurt, but it was still super good.

I know, I know, tuna’s not exactly healthy when it’s all mixed with mayonnaise, but I’m honestly okay with it. If all I’m eating is fruits, vegetables, and (non-meat) protein, I’m going to eat my damn tuna salad if I want.

I want to try to get my body into ketosis, and combine that with circuit training in order to burn fat, but keep my metabolism up. I started circuit training yesterday, I did 5 minutes of moderate pace/moderate intensity on the stationary bike, and then I did 30 seconds each of squats, forward lunges, overhead presses (5 lbs), push-ups, elevated crunches, and calf-raises. Then I get a 30 second rest, and if I can, I start again on the bike.

I only got through one circuit yesterday.

Today, I did one and another 2 1/2 minutes of biking before I quit.

I know, it’s not much, “you quit after 10 minutes of working out??” But you have to remember that I’ve been pretty stationary for a long time. My back and my knees just couldn’t take it. But now, I’m finding I don’t need my cane as much, I’m rebuilding my stamina, and – best of all – I can actually do squats and lunges. I haven’t been able to do those in three or four years, my knees were just too brittle. They’re still not great, but they’re getting better, and a little bit of progress is better than none at all.

I may not look thinner yet, but I feel thinner, and I think that’s still an accomplishment. I’ll let you know how it’s going in a week or so, hopefully I’ll have entered ketosis and started losing weight by then.

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i don’t know if i can do this…

I don’t want to go wedding dress shopping.

Today’s the first day I’ve really thought about what’s coming, I’ve looked at dresses and have my favorites that I want to try, but… I wear a size 16-18 pant right now, I don’t think I’m going to be able to try anything on…

It’s bad enough that my body type prohibits me from being anything smaller than an 8, and that was only after eight weeks of bootcamp when I was PTing all day and eating practically nothing. I was a size 10 when I was on VBSS, but again, I was working out at least twice a day, eating out of the salad bar, and was doing a lot of physical work on the ship. A size 12 is my usual size, and even that is apparently considered “plus size” 😦

So what the hell am I supposed to do?? Everything I’m reading online says to go to Alfred Angelo or David’s Bridal, but the reviews for Alfred Angelo are pretty bad, and David’s Bridal is… not where I want to go. I’m not going to fit into dresses at the other places, but I’m terrified about how I’m going to feel having to try on plus sized gowns, and I’m also worried about what my mom will think. I know she loves me, but I’ve always struggled with my weight and I know it worries her. I know we would both feel better if I could be put in a sample size and look tiny like all the other girls.

I am trying, I haven’t eaten meat in months, I’ve been trying to eat more whole foods, (shopping around the edges of the supermarket, trust me, it works!) and I’ve started a walking program. I’ve got this app called RunKeeper, and it’s really helped me to stay motivated, since it keeps track of my time, distance, pace, and overall distances and times. It also scares the crap out of me, because every five minutes it gives me updates while I’m walking, and I’m still getting used to it. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more fun to gain the weight than lose it, though when I’m actually in shape, I love working out. When I’m trim and fit, I love being able to use my body and see what it can do, how long I can go, how much I can lift… but now, I’ve got knees with no cartilage, and a back with bulging disks, so I’ve got to change my approach, limit the amount of impact I’m putting on my joints, and take it all slow.

Slow is not my forte. Nor is it something that I, well, have time for!

I’ve got six weeks to get myself into a size that I could at least squeeze my butt into a sample size, even if I can’t zip it up. I think the very best I’ll be able to do is lose one size, and that’s not going to be enough. Luckily, I have more time to lose weight until the wedding, since it’s not till next summer, but I can’t wait that long to try on dresses. We were going to do this next April, but that would give us less than four months for the dress to be ready, and that’s impossible, unless I get one off the rack.

I’m thinking that maybe… maybe I just need to wait. Maybe I need to hold off on trying on dresses until this winter, to give myself more time. The only problem is that then I won’t be able to try them on with my mother, and I really wanted that…

Now I’m wondering if maybe I should go up to Rhode Island this winter, there’s a few places that carry the designer I like, my Mum could feasibly drive down for a couple of days, I could stay with my brother and his wife, who is also my Matron of Honor, and I would finally get to see their house! Hmmmmm… Now I’m thinking… I could just go, stay a few nights, and leave on day four. The boy could stay home and take care of the puppies, and I might be able to get a dress…

But then there’s the cost, and the flying, and I’m starting to stress, this sucks :/

summer plan

So, I’m really starting to figure out what I want to do this summer, so far, here’s my list:

1. Read books that aren’t for school.
2. Get canning some delicious food.
3. Implement physical therapy/walking/toning programs.
4. Actually take care of the garden and don’t let it get eaten by weeds.
5. MAYBE get a puppy.

I’m still debating the last one, puppies are hard, and they’re even harder when you have an evil bitch dog who hates everything…

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I do have a reading list though, so in case you’re interested, here they are, in no particular order:

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I’m pretty sure I can get through them all this summer, the only issue is that I also have rediscovered the Harry Potter books and am currently on Book 4, so I need to hurry up and finish so I can get to my real reading list. I haven’t read anything for pleasure in almost a year, and it’s been killing me. I also think it’s affected my comprehension and writing skills, but I don’t want to get into that, because it will most likely make me sad.

What I’m really excited for though, is canning! A few months ago I made some apple butter and canned it, and it was delicious! So I picked up some more canning tools (I totally improvised the first time) and this week I’ll be making my own strawberry preserves (YUM!), and when my mother visits in June, she’s going to teach me how to make homemade tomato sauce – like, from actual tomatoes – and I’ll teach her how to can it when we’re done! (She says she doesn’t need any, but I’m going to send some back with her anyways, if only for the sentimental factor).

My mother has decided that she will venture out here to San Diego from Maine once a year to see her baby girl, and I’m totally not complaining. I’m sick of traveling! I traveled enough in the Navy, and honestly, it just stresses me the hell out, especially now with the dogs. My love and I have decided that its just not worth it, and are boycotting trips that require dog-sitting. So it’s actually a relief to host my mother for a week every summer. Plus, she likes to cook for us and take us out to eat, so that’s awesome. This year she has made specific requests for where/what she wants to eat. She wants to go out for teppanyaki, Mexican, and Thai; we’re going to do the sauce one day; and she wants to do a run-through of her ideas for the rehearsal dinner.

We decided not too long ago that it would be more of my fiancé’s style to do a really casual rehearsal dinner, and since we need to make sure the dogs aren’t left in their crates for hours and hours, we thought it would be cool if everyone came back to our house and had a little pre-wedding party with some of Dave’s favorite foods, since he’s such a huge fan of my mother’s cooking. We also stole his brother’s thunder: he’ll be turning 30 the day we get married, so we thought we’d have a cake and do a little something for him the night before.

So my mom wants to try out some stuff on her future son-in-law and see what he wants her to make, though if truth be told, I’m pretty sure she could make anything and he’d eat it. I can’t get him to eat soup, but he had two bowls of my mom’s French onion at Christmas! I’m really not jealous, I think it’s awesome, it’s wonderful that they get along so well, it makes me really happy 🙂

There are a couple of problems with this visit though. Mother wants to go to the beach, and I have some issues with that; one, I’m totally out of shape (see #3, above); two, I’m totally pale (like, freakishly pale, my classmates in OPS used to make fun of me because my skin is practically see-through); and three, I have this skin thing on my legs that makes them itch, and so I scratch the hell out of them while I’m sleeping, and now my legs are covered in scars and scratches 😦 I would love to go to the beach, but I really just have no business being there, people would laugh and stare. I guess I’ll send my boy with her to keep her company, while I stay home, because there’s just no way in hell. The other problem is that I really wanted to be able to try on wedding dresses with her, but she wouldn’t be able to get back out here until three months before the wedding, so we have to go during this visit. I don’t even think I could try on sample sizes right now, so I have no idea how this is going to go. I just hope I don’t cry. Maybe I can get my bridesmaids to come, they are both amazing girls who I know wouldn’t let me feel ugly or fat, which is one if the reasons I asked them to stand with me on my wedding day. Still, I’m not looking forward to it like I should be…

So in order to prepare as much as possible for this, I’ve started physical therapy to get my back and leg strength up, and I’ve started a walking program to help me start to drop the weight (I want to lose 60 pounds and go down three to four sizes, as well as run a 5k, those are my goals). I’m hoping that I might be able to lose at least 15-20 pounds before she gets here, but we’ll see. I’m also implementing an arm routine, mostly so I look toned in my dress, but also because I dreamed of this tattoo that I simply must get, if you’re interested, read about it here.

I also plan on not letting my garden die this year, but I’ve got a pretty black thumb (except when it comes to basil and impatiens), so we’ll see if they survive.

What about you? Any plans for the summer? I know not everyone can take the summer off, but there’s got to be something fun on everyone’s calendar!

pescatarianism: what the hell am i doing??

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So, I’ve been following a pescatarian diet since my Frankenfoods post back in February, and I have to say, while my conscience is nice and clear, it sucks!

It doesn’t suck all the time, but sometimes it is reallyfrustrating! I was just looking around on Yelp for a decent Chinese food restaurant with a hibachi pu pu platter when I realized: I can’t eat anything in one except the shrimp rings. :/

I really do miss eating meat, and right now, all I can think about is pan-fried dumplings, orange chicken, and even those teriyaki beef skewers, and I quit eating beef way before I dropped everything else!

It’s frustrating! My mother is cooking for our rehearsal dinner next summer, and since my fiancé is from Texas, she was going to do a bunch of barbecue stuff, but I’d only be able to eat the sides, like cole slaw and potato salad :/ not a ton of fun for me… Granted, this whole thing is supposed to be about him, not me; she originally offered to host it – i.e. pay – because we’re paying for our own wedding, but since the rehearsal dinner is typically hosted by the groom’s family, she wanted to make it all about him. After we stayed at my parents’ house for Christmas last year though, he fell in love with her cooking, so she offered to cook for him. I had the suggestion to do like a food showdown: Texas vs. Maine, and have things like baby back ribs, barbecue baked beans, and potato salad representing Texas, and lobster rolls, clams casino, and shrimp cocktail on the Maine side, but I worry that it might be too much work for my mother, and that it will take away from the party being about Dave. Maybe I should just suck it up and eat the damn sides, I’m going to be too excited for the wedding to really care anyways… Oh yeah, and add in the fact that there will be 16 people in our little house, meaning that we have to do everything tapas/finger food style… This is going to be a nightmare, but we wanted to host it at our house because a) we would be sure the food would be delicious, and b) we wouldn’t have to worry about coming home early to take care of the dogs, because we would already be there!

Anyways, back to the issue of being a vegetarian that eats seafood: that’s essentially what a pescatarian is, and while it’s a hell of a lot easier than being a vegetarian, it’s still really hard. I had to go to the ER last week for hives, and I had two hours to sit around until the pharmacy opened, so I left and hit up McDonald’s for some yummy breakfast. An egg McMuffin without sausage is a sin against nature, and I wanted to cry as I ate it. 😦

It hasn’t been completely bad though. I like to think that maybe I’m eating a little healthier, (yeah right, I’m pretty sure I’ve replaced all of the animal protein with goddamn carbs…) I discovered a vegan burger that I really like, (grill them with some steak seasoning and they’re the bomb!) we go out for sushi a lot, (the main reason I decided I couldn’t go full vegetarian) and I do feel better knowing that I’m taking a little bit of responsibility for my diet, and it’s ethics. I also made chili this week with TVP (textured vegetable protein) grounds, and the boy didn’t even realize it wasn’t meat! He asked to try some from my bowl, and when I looked confused and asked him why, he looked at his bowl and said “wait, this… is this not turkey??” Too funny!

But I’m still trying to figure this all out, and it isn’t easy, mainly because I still feel bad for eating fish, the dairy industry supports the veal industry, and as I can no longer afford to spend over $5 a carton on organic, free-range, local eggs, I’m supporting the industrial food chain even more. I realize the “simple” solution is to go full vegan, but I’m not ready for that. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for that. Yes, I’m a hypocrite, yes, I feel guilty, but being a vegan means no cheese, and no bread, and fuck you, that’s not happening. I realize this makes me an asshole, you don’t have to tell me, k?

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Oh well, at least I’m trying, and at least I can have wine. It’s part of our food pyramid, is wine a part of your food pyramid? I didn’t think so…

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why can’t i get motivated??

This sucks.

I’ve got to try on dresses in less than two months, and I cannot seem to be able to eat healthy, even as a pescatarian! I keep wanting bread, bread is like a drug to me, it’s like a warm blanket that I can snuggle into. How the hell do I get rid of this emotional attachment to food??

and don’t get me started on exercise…

My goal was 20 minutes, three times a week on the stationary bike, (which I paid over $250 for, btw…) and I couldn’t stick to it! I just couldn’t get up the motivation to even put on PT gear :/ so then I was like “well, what if I just walked around the neighborhood for a while?” Great, in theory, plenty of hills to switch it up, the weather’s been good, but lets face it, I live in the ghetto. Everyone seems to be on drugs or selling them, and every other house has a frustrated pit bull that lunges at the fence when I walk by. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not the dogs’ fault, but it’s the breed of choice out here and when you treat any dog like a lawn ornament, they’re going to get aggressive.

So I don’t really feel safe walking around my neighborhood, and that’s a shitty feeling, but it’s no excuse not to do something. There’s a YMCA a couple of miles away, but it is also kind of ghetto-looking, and I’m in no shape to be in public in a swimsuit. Which reminds me…

My mum wants to go to the damn beach while she’s here! 8[ 1. I’m way too out of shape for that, 2. I’m way too pale for that, and 3. I still have this stupid itchy-leg-thing going on, so my legs are all scabby and gross. 😥

I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to get my ass in gear. When I joined the Navy, I was overweight, but I lost it quick in bootcamp, and after I was in shape, it was easy to go out and play sports, go swimming, lift at the gym, because I wasn’t embarrassed. I wasn’t working out because I had to get in shape, I was working out because I was in shape and it felt good to use my body. Now I’m just angry that I let myself get this way again, and I don’t have the patience to do this. I wish I was in good enough physical shape to go through bootcamp again, but my back and knees are just atrocious. Basically, any workout that’s easy on my back hurts my knees and vice-versa. Except swimming, but we’ve already covered that…

So what do I do? How do I get motivated? I certainly want to lose the weight, but I feel more of a hopeless despair than any type of constructive emotion. I just want to hide from it. How am I supposed to get around that? Logically, I know I need to just work at it, a little bit every day, and eventually I’ll see results. But I don’t have the patience for that! I don’t do long-term, that’s why I dropped out of college and joined the Navy in the first place, I felt like my goal was too far away. Don’t ask me how I’ve been able to do school this time around, because I’ve no idea, maybe it’s because my classes are only eight weeks long, so by the time I’m starting to get bored, it’s over and I’m taking something new. It’s like college for people with ADD…

I guess I’ll just keep trying, stick to my guns, I’ve been thinking about taping some pictures of myself when I was thin on the fridge, so I’ll see them when I go to get a snack and it’ll make me think twice about whether or not I REALLY need to eat. *sigh* this sucks…

Frankenfoods: The Enigma of the American Eating Dysfunction

Do an image search online of “American food” and a lot of iconic, familiar foods pop up: macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, French fries, and lots of sugary baked goods.  There’s a reason we have sayings and slogans like “as American as apple pie” and “America runs on Dunkin’℠” (Associated Press, 2006), and why most Americans can recognize a McDonald’s sign before they can read.  We love our fast food, that’s for sure; “In 2011, Americans … spent approximately $130 billion on fast food” (Danna & Jordan, 2012).  The problem is that while most people would agree that fast food isn’t the healthiest option, they don’t seem to know just how bad it is.  Convenience and affordability don’t help things; it’s not that difficult to find fast food, what may be difficult is choosing which particular brand to partake in, though they are all essentially serving the same thing.  Taking a look at just how unhealthy processed foods are illuminates what may be the root cause of several Western diseases.

There isn’t much argument that processing food changes the nature of the food itself; what ends up being the source of contestation is whether these changes are helpful or harmful.  For instance,

Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1 … Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects (PubMed.gov, 2009).

This issue is especially relevant to the concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) industry, and the numbers don’t lie: “Range fed eggs have an omega 6:3 ratio of 1.5 to one whereas the ‘supermarket egg’ has a ratio of 20 to one … North Dakota State University conducted a study on the nutritional differences between grass-fed and grain-fed bison.  The results of that study closely followed that of the egg studies.  The grass-fed bison had omega 6 to omega 3 ratios of 4.0 to one, and the grain-fed bison had ratios of 21 to one” (Mercola.com, 2013).

Why do grain-fed animals have higher omega 6 content in their meat?  Because omega 6 comes from grains, just “one tablespoon of safflower oil contains over 10 g of omega-6 fats” (Kock, 2010).  Normally, this information would not bode well for the grain-based oil industry, but here in the United States, rather than remove the problem, we propose to add a solution to balance the scales.  “Clearly, the problem is that we are not getting enough omega 3,” they say, so we take the omega 3-packed fish oil caplets, and then we find out that “excessive fish oil consumption may be toxic to the liver” (Kock, 2010).  Thus, we continue to deep-fat fry our foods, and wonder why we’re getting cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory diseases, not to mention huge.  It brings to mind the famous Henry Louis Mencken quote: “For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.”  How encouraging.

At least omega 6 is a naturally occurring substance, but there are plenty of other ingredients in our food that aren’t quite so basic.  Take high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for example; which was developed to find a use for the massive amount of corn the U.S. has been producing since the 70’s.  It’s so cheap that it’s cheaper than real sugar, and so all of our yummy sweet things are filled with it, but the jury is still out on whether or not it’s okay to eat.  Recently, there have been a slew of HFCS public service announcements stating that there is essentially no difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, and that “it’s fine in moderation.”  But what if it’s not fine?  Studies are beginning to show that it may actually be more harmful than sugar.  “A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same” (Parker, 2010).

It used to mean that “calories were calories” and while it was important to ensure there were some nutrients in those calories, eating either 3,500 calories of donuts or 3,500 calories of fruits and veggies was still going to make you gain a pound.  Not so, according to Princeton, and it may be because the human body actually does not treat HFCS the same in its system.  “HFCS reduces your body’s sensitivity to leptin and insulin, promotes belly fat and increases your blood pressure” (Ogunjimi, 2011).  Leptin comes from fat cells, it is a hormone that controls hunger signals to the brain, and if HFCS causes the body to be desensitized from leptin, the brain won’t know when to tell us to stop eating, which is how we can chow down on a 1,500 calorie cheeseburger and still polish off the strawberry shake.  Insulin is the body’s blood glucose regulator hormone, and having insulin resistance is what causes diabetes.  Mainstream studies haven’t come out and said it yet, but high fructose corn syrup may be one of the leading causes for America’s high rate of Type II.

Next is the subject of the dreaded “trans-fats,” and it’s important to understand exactly what they are and where they come from.  Natural trans-fats occur in ruminants, identified as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and while there are several types of CLA, studies appear to show that natural CLA trans-fat can actually “[reduce] LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and resulted in less atherosclerosis [thickening of the artery walls] in the aortas” (Knowledge for Health, 2011).  The problem with trans-fats occurs when we manufacture them on our own.  Trans-fats are found in partially hydrogenated oils from vegetables and are used extensively in foods that require a longer shelf life.  However, things may be looking up in the trans-fat department: “The FDA once estimated that approximately 95 percent of prepared cookies, 100 percent of crackers, and 80 percent of frozen breakfast products contained trans-fat.  Now that trans-fat must be listed on food labels, many companies have removed them from their products” (Harvard School of Public Health, 2013).  There is even a trend by some city, state, and federal governments, both here and abroad, to work on banning trans-fats (Laurance, 2010).  The bans have some people rejoicing, and others just upset over losing their ability to make their own food choices, even if it causes costly medical bills and even death from diet-related diseases.

There are lots of things that draw Americans to fast food: the taste, the convenience, the price, and even the uniformity.  You can go to a McDonald’s in Kentucky and one in Washington State and you’re going to get the same menu, the same taste, the same experience.  This is because fast food has revolutionized the food industry here in America.  “Fast food chains used to buy their meat from local suppliers in a local region.   So fewer cattle were used to get the meat … Today a typical fast food hamburger has dozens or hundreds of strips of beef from different cattle, in different regions blended together.   So, if you have one sick cow in the batch, then the risk of getting sick is greater” (Schlosser, 2009).  Indeed, this is exactly how mad cow disease got so prevalent, combined with the fact that, until 1997, factory farms that raised cows were feeding them parts of other cows in order to satisfy their protein requirements (Pollan, 2006, p. 76).

Let’s forget the health benefits of eating right for a moment, and let’s think about the ethics of it all.  Is it ethical for our government to keep subsidizing a crop to make it “cheaper” when in reality, that money comes from the taxes of working citizens?  Is it ethical to be messing with Mother Nature to create food-like products with the only purpose of being a delicious source of empty calories?  What happened to Hippocrates’ logic: “let thy food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food”?  Americans need to learn that food is not meant to be a therapist, it’s not meant to get you through a breakup or losing your job; food is nourishment: “nour·ish·ment, noun – food, or the valuable substances in food that a person, animal, or plant requires to live, grow, or remain fit and healthy” (Encarta, 2009).  I don’t think a Whopper falls into that category.

If we were eating the right things, we wouldn’t have to scrutinize an ingredient list or nutrition facts table.  If you have to ask “what’s in this?” it’s probably not that good for you.  “Every day, 7 percent of the U.S. population visits a McDonald’s, and 20-25 percent eat fast food of some kind, says Steven Gortmaker, professor of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health.  As for children, 30 percent between the ages of 4 and 19 eat fast food on any given day” (SixWise.com, 2009).  There are grown adults now that have to “learn” to like “real food” because they simply have never had it before.  American food culture needs a kick in its size 48 pants; Michael Pollan states “it does seem to me a symptom of our present confusion about food that people would feel the need to consult a journalist, or for that matter a nutritionist or a doctor or government food pyramid, on so basic a question about the conduct of our everyday lives as humans” (Pollan, 2008, p. 16).  We shouldn’t have to wonder about what to eat.  There should be food, it should be healthy, natural, and fresh, and we should eat it.  Period.

what to eat when you don’t eat meat

Some of you have probably heard by now that I am having some trouble with what I’m eating. I mean, there’s a ton of information and opinions out there about what’s good and bad for you and at this point, my head is spinning.

I recently finished reading the 100 Days of Real Food blog, and while the woman who wrote it is by no means an expert, just a mom who wanted her family to get healthy after reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense Of Food, she still appeared to have done some research before forming her opinions.

So now I have my own dilemma: I know processed food is bad is bad for you, but I’m also having difficulty eating meat. I never really ate beef before, but I made some chicken the other night and couldn’t eat it. Last night I made taco meat out of ground turkey and couldn’t eat it. In fact, the smell of it is just awful to me! When my fiancé and I went to Bali Hai in Point Loma for a nice post-Valentine’s Day dinner, I couldn’t bring myself to order anything off of the “land” menu, but I had the Mahi Mahi and didn’t have an issue eating it. So now I’m faced with not only trying to find local, organic, non-processed foods, I can’t even eat the local, organic, non-processed animals! At this point, there are definitely certain things I don’t want to eat anymore (French’s fried onions being one of them, I am supremely confident that there isn’t a single bit of real food in those things), but I don’t think I’m going to be able to go 100% “real” in my diet until I get used to not having meat, I don’t want to go all cold turkey.

I did order a microwavable rice cooker and a sushi press today, and I had already bought some sushi rice (at the Commissary, no less!), so all that’s left is to take a ride over to Point Loma Seafoods and see what kind of yummy crab, salmon, and tuna they have. Hey, at least we’ll finally be able to use that big bottle of Sriracha in the fridge! I don’t think I could cut out fish, I only just started really liking sushi a little over a year ago, and I think the boy would kill me if I told him I wasn’t going to eat it anymore. I also could eat Philly rolls until my stomach literally exploded.

I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about food, and I really need to research where I can find fresh, local, organic food in San Diego. I was going to just go to Whole Foods and call it good, but from what I’ve heard, they’re little better than a regular supermarket, and because of that, the extra expense just isn’t worth it. I did find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) here in San Diego, but that involves so many vegetables, most of which I’ve never even heard of before, and while I know eating veggies is healthy, I think I need to branch out and learn how to cook them before I spend $60 a week on just fruits and veggies (though they do have a fruit only bag, and even a juicing bag, which I thought would be amazing for people that want to really do a good juicing cleanse).

The real problem is going to be making sure my food choices don’t affect my fiancé too much, as he has told me he can’t afford to make those kinds of diet changes (he’s in the Navy, and while he’s on shore duty now, when he goes back to sea, he won’t be getting unprocessed anything, let alone organic and local!). So I’ve told him that I’m going to teach him how to cook his own meat, since I can’t stand the smell, but he doesn’t seem very happy about it (honestly, I say “tough noogies,” he needs to learn how to make something besides sandwiches, it’s sad). For example, we have that taco meat ready to go in the fridge, and I was going to use it for enchiladas tonight (which he has seen and helped me make a million times) with a few cheese enchiladas for me, but I was exhausted and fell asleep. When I woke up, it was 6:30p and I came downstairs and asked if he had made the enchiladas or anything, and he looked at me like a helpless two year old! Like I had just asked him to please grow an extra head! I’m sorry, but enchiladas are not complicated! Granted, I had not asked him in advance if he would make dinner, but I’m seriously considering going on a dinner strike so that he can appreciate what I do every night, and what I now have to do so that we can eat healthy food, I get enough to eat, and he can have his meat.

A word of advice guys: learn how to make at least one or two meals, please. You have no idea how far that will go when we can’t make dinner and you take care of it by making us more than a freaking sandwich or macaroni and cheese from a box…