What do you eat?

 

A question that I sometimes am asked when talking about food with people, and all the terrible things our current food system claims as “food” and poisons us with, the multitude of processed, chemical-filled, animal products, and sugary junk that I will not eat, and how I am “flexitarian*”, is what do you eat?

Good question.  Lots of things!

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I could give you the whole litany of healthy food choices, like raw vegetables, green juices, fruits, nuts, soy products, lean meat, fish and seafood, whole grains, etc.  But instead I challenged myself to record every single thing that I ate for one week.  Every.  Thing.

This is a great exercise for yourself too.

If you are struggling with symptoms of fatigue, digestive upset, migraines, depression, etc, tracking your food may allow you to see patterns.  Especially if you track for a long period of time as you withhold food types, and then reintroduce them, you may see that red wine, or chocolate, or fatty foods make your symptoms worse.

If you are struggling with weight gain or inability to lose weight, tracking your food intake may open your eyes to problem patterns you hadn’t seen before, or were in denial about.  Nothing quite so sobering as seeing a list of every single bit and bite to make it real.

And if you are just curious about your actual habits and want to live a more mindful way of nutritious eating, then this will force you to think about each thing you eat, whether before or after it goes into your mouth.  This exercise may shock you, because we all tend to under-estimate how many calories are in food and how much food we think we eat.

If at all possible, actually use things to measure amounts, like measuring cups and spoons or a food scale.  But be sure to measure it after you take your usual portion, no cheating just because you know this is being counted.  You are the only one who will know, and you need an accurate baseline measurement to know where you can and should improve. Find a method of tracking that works for you, whether it be an actual notebook you write in, an online program, or like me, just a list in your cell phone.

Here’s one typical week of food for me:

Monday

12 oz water, 40 min walk
12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp creamer
Vitamins: 3 cranberry, 2 g fish oil, women’s multi, Vitamin D, Vitamin C
Breakfast: 1 wheat tortilla + 1 turkey sausage + 1/2 egg scrambled + 1/4 c peppers & onions + 1/4 c beans + 1/2 potato diced
Lunch: 1/2 c rice + 1/2 c beans + 1/4 c peppers & onions + 5 black olives + 2 roma tomatoes + 2 tbsp salsa + 3 oz chicken breast
12 oz puh-er tea + 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 Andes mint
1/2 dark chocolate coconut truffle
2 snack sized Twix
6 cups popcorn

Water intake: 6 12-oz glasses

Tuesday

12 oz water, 15 min yoga
12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp creamer
Vitamins: 3 cranberry, 2 g fish oil, women’s multi, Vitamin D, Vitamin C
Breakfast: 1 wheat tortilla + 1 turkey sausage + 1/2 egg scrambled + 1/4 c peppers & onions + 1/4 c beans + 1/2 potato diced
Lunch: 1/2 c rice + 1/2 c beans + 1/4 c peppers & onions + 5 black olives + 2 roma tomatoes + 2 tbsp salsa + 3 oz chicken breast
2 snack size Twix
12 oz BB Detox tea
Dinner: 1 1/2 c rice + 1 tbsp vinegar + 2 cups stir fry (cabbage, yellow squash, asparagus, fish sauce, soy sauce, pork)
6 oz red wine

Water intake: 10 12-oz glasses

Wednesday

12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp creamer
Vitamins: 3 cranberry, 2 g fish oil, women’s multi, Vitamin D, Vitamin C
1 slice pumpkin spice cake
1 medium apple
1 cup miso soup + 2 sheets of seaweed
Lunch: 1/2 c rice + 1/2 c beans + 1/4 c peppers & onions + 3 oz chicken breast
Pumpkin sugar cookie
6 oz Black cherry Greek yogurt
8 oz detox tea
8 oz “remember when” tea
Dinner: 3 slices whole wheat bread + 6 oz pork + 1/2 c BBQ sauce + 2 oz Colby cheese
1 1/2 c corn & potato soup
6 oz red wine
1×2 inch homemade Snickers bar

Water intake: 8 12-oz glasses

Thursday

12 oz warm water + juice of 1/2 a lemon + 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
12 oz cool water, 15 push ups
12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp. hazelnut creamer
Breakfast: 1 tbsp. coconut oil + 1 large tomato + 1/2 c mixed veggies + 1/4 c mixed beans + 1 egg + 1 egg white
Vitamins: 3 cranberry + fish oil + women’s multi + Vitamin D + Vitamin C
Snack: 1/4 chocolate plain glaze donut + 12 oz pu-ehr tea + 1 tsp lemon juice
Lunch: 2 small green bell peppers + 2 oz ground turkey + 6 tbsp. couscous + 1 large tomato + 2 oz eggplant + 2 cloves garlic + s/p
Dinner: 1 1/2 c pasta + 1 cup sauce + 2 oz turkey
2 cups mixed greens + 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar + 2 tbsp. olive oil + s/p
6 oz red wine
1 oz tequila + 1 slice lemon + sea salt
5 cups oil popped popcorn
2 oz chocolate cake
Snack sized snickers

Water intake: 10 12-oz glasses

Friday – dinner party

Upon waking: 12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp. hazelnut creamer
12 oz cool water + juice of 1/2 lemon
Vitamins: 3 cranberry + women’s multi + Vitamin D
Breakfast: Croissant egg & cheese sandwich
10 oz coffee + 8 oz pumpkin spice cappuccino mixed, + 2 tbsp. amaretto creamer (free coffee Friday!)
Lunch: open-faced turkey BLT sandwich + 1/2 cup broccoli
Snack: 1 medium apple
Dinner: 1 wheat tortilla + 4 tbsp. guacamole + 1 cup beans + 1 roma tomato + 1/2 cup basmati rice + 3 oz ground turkey + 6 black olives + 2 tbsp. shredded cheese + 1 tbsp. red salsa + 1 tbsp. green tomato salsa + 2 tbsp. peppers/mushrooms/onions
1 slice spice cake
4 oz fireball whiskey + 4 oz horchata
1 snack sized snickers

Water intake: 9 12-oz glasses

Saturday

12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp. hazelnut creamer
Breakfast: 1 cup diced potato + 2 eggs scrambled + 1 tbsp. sour cream + 2 turkey sausage links + 1 slice spice cake
12 oz chai tea + 1 tsp local honey
Vitamins: 3 cranberry + fish oil + women’s multi + Vitamin D + Vitamin C
Snack: 1 piece wheat toast + 1 tbsp. country crock
Lunch: 1 slice pepperoni pizza + 1 slice cheese pizza w/peppers and mushrooms
Dinner: 2 squares homemade spinach lasagna
2 margaritas
5 cups popcorn

Water intake: 9 12-oz glasses

Sunday – Halloween

12 oz coffee + 2 tbsp. hazelnut creamer
Breakfast: 2 pancakes + 4 tbsp maple syrup + 2 clementines
Lunch: 3 corn hard taco shells + 3 tbsp. ground turkey + 3 tbsp. black beans + 3 tbsp. guacamole + 3 tbsp. salsa + 2 tbsp. shredded cheese + 2 tbsp. lettuce
12 oz ginger tea + 1 tsp honey
Vitamins: 3 cranberry + fish oil + women’s multi + Vitamin D + Vitamin C
Dinner: 2 squares veggie pizza + 1 cup romaine + 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar + 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes + 1/2 c edamame
2 snack sized Twix
5 cups popcorn

Water intake: 8 12-oz glasses

 

This exercise was interesting for me, and I learned several things about myself.  First of all, I already know that I am a certified popcorn addict.  I am queen of the popcorn lovers, and everyone who knows me knows it.  And normally, popcorn is a healthy and wholesome snack choice.  However, I learned that the stove-top popcorn I make contains a lot of oil (1/2 – 1 cup per batch!) and I inhale an awful lot of it!  Regularly!

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Not to mention that corn is one of the most contaminated crops with GMOs and roundup ready genes…  So I need to re-think my snack of choice and come up with a better, organic, healthier option.**  That may mean buying bags of organic seeds online in bulk and using an air-popper…  Cause there is no way I’m going cold turkey!  If anyone knows of a place to get a good deal on 50 pounds of organic popcorn, please share. Not kidding.

Lesson number two: I snack at night way more than I thought I did.  I am not often a snacker during the day, I plan them in on purpose as part of my diet, to keep protein and carbohydrate levels constant during the day and prevent extreme hunger.  However, once I had to list out each and every thing, I noticed that I have more sugary cravings after dinner than at any other time during the day.  And I give in to them far too often. This means I need to start planning a sweet treat after dinner for myself to calm the sugar craving, and monitor more closely so that I don’t indulge afterwards too.

This is also linked to my desire to rid myself of excess processed sugar in my diet.  Halloween is a dodgy time because I want to have candy for the neighborhood, yet I know when it is in the house I will probably eat some of it… (I’m sure I’m not the only one!) Perhaps next year I will be brave enough to cut the cord to Big Candy (looking at you, Mars and Hershey) and go with non-food treats.

Lesson number three: I need to be better about drinking water at home.  The vast majority of my water intake is during work, when I have two reusable bottles at my desk at all times.  If I don’t get my eight glasses during the day, I very rarely drink more water once I’m at home.  Even if I have a cup next to me, I don’t know why…

So there you have it, one week of actual food I ate. I do find that I don’t mind eating the same thing 2 or 3 times in a row, but then I start to get bored.  Making ahead a batch of breakfast burritos, for example, is a great time saver for hectic mornings.  But after 2-3 days, I want something different. It helps to have several different quick options, such as burritos and/or English muffins.

Same thing for dinners, it is great to cook up a big batch of rice and beans. Then use them in several different ways so that you don’t get bored.  You can make burritos or quesadillas, stir fry, put it into soups or chilies, or scrambled with eggs. Being able to re-purpose leftovers makes sure you aren’t wasting food, which is good for the Earth and good for your pocketbook.

Give this exercise a try yourself, just for a week, and see what you can learn!

 

*Note: For those who are curious and continued reading this far, flexitarian is a term I heard somewhere once and I’m pretty sure it means that you will eat just about anything, but try to go meatless often.  I do usually have at least one meatless dinner per week if not more, and I try to have more than 50% of the time my breakfast and lunch meatless as well. But I do eat pretty much all foods when given them or craving them.

**Popcorn and sweet corn are two totally different crops.  About 90% of the sweet corn crops in the US are now GMO.  Sad face.  Luckily for me, there are as yet no GMO popcorn crops! Hooray! However, the oils it is cooked in, and the flavorings we usually top it with, are very likely genetically modified. So I need to pay attention to what oils I buy it seems. And organic is still always a good idea.

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