Sunday, January 30, 2011

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

This past year I've become more aware of what I'm putting in my body. It started when we got a few chickens and I realized that the eggs in the store are nothing like fresh eggs that chickens lay. Then we started growing our own garden, and I realized how flavorful tomatoes are, and how good corn on the cob tastes when it's fresh off the stalk. When we went to Hawaii we ate a lot of fresh fish and fruits. The difference was surprising. We didn't eat any fast food while we were there, and I felt so much better. Right after that I saw the movie Food Inc.. (Several years ago, my college professor showed us the documentary The Future of Food*. I was younger at the time, and my eyes were not yet opened to the difference of fresh vs. store bought food.) It's been a gradual process, but over the past year or so I've really paid attention to the food my family and I are eating.

Let me start off by saying, I like to eat. I'm not a picky eater, and I enjoy food. Which, combined with some rampant PCOS has lead to some pretty significant weight gain. (I've talked about it before.) This past month I haven't eaten much fast food. It hasn't been a conscious decision, it's just that I haven't been working, therefore I'm home more and can make my own meals rather than grab something from a drive through. I really didn't notice a difference in how I felt, until I drove though and grabbed a burger with a friend. I couldn't even finish it. It was so disgusting. There wasn't anything wrong with it- it just didn't taste good anymore. We have been eating fresh grass fed beef from a local farmer, and the hamburger I just bought didn't even taste like hamburger. It tasted... fake? That's the only way I can describe it. The same thing happened the next week when I bought lunch from another fast food place. I couldn't even finish my meal. It didn't taste good at all. In fact, what used to be my favorite meal now tastes inedible to me.

We've been making changes to the way we eat. The biggest is the meat we eat. Like I said, we buy grass fed beef from a local farmer. It ends up costing us less then $2 a pound, including everything from ground beef to porterhouse steaks. We had to buy a freezer to keep the meat in, but it's an investment that is well worth it. (We picked ours up at an estate sale for $75!) The flavor and quality of the meat really is better. We also raised our own chickens for meat. I didn't buy the "meat birds" that are marketed to farmers. They are genetically altered birds that grow rapidly, and are made to have large breasts. It is not uncommon for them to grow so large their legs break because they can't hold up their weight. (It's a sad sight to see.) Instead, we use regular chickens. The flavor of a fresh chicken is nothing like what you buy at the store. Nothing. Most of us don't really know what chicken is supposed to taste like.

In the past few months I've noticed that my asthma, which used to be constant, has now lessened. I just feel better in general.

My husband has lost more than 20 pounds. I've lost 12.

My son's class had to keep track of their diet for a week. Their teacher had them use MyPyramid.gov. I started using it last week. It's a great tool for someone who wants to keep track of their food intake and make sure they are eating a balanced diet. There are many tools to use, including a menu planner so you can plan your menu for the whole week. You'd be surprised at how much less you eat when you know you have to account for it.

We are going to plant a garden again this year. We're also going to raise our own chickens for meat again, and possibly even a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'd like to hear your tips for eating better.


*You can watch the full length documentary for free on the website.

2 comments:

Delaney Kay said...

Hi there.

so this comment has...practically nothing to do with this post (even though I read it and I congratulate you on losing 12 pounds. I seriously need to get on losing 10, myself).

Anyway. I just wanted to say that I really respect you and thank you for writing this blog.

I've been dealing with a loss of my own. Not a child (as I'm only 15and a child is not in the cards AT ALL). But my boyfriend passed away 7 months ago.

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I offer my sincerest condolences and all of my love.

Keep writing and I'll keep reading.

Delaney

Jamie said...

Several years ago, I read a book called the raw food detox diet. It's basically vegan, but it said that eating 100% raw may not be for everyone, but instead focused on putting things into your body that are natural, and that your body is meant to digest. Primarily, we should be eating raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains, not processed foods and refined flour and sugar, according to the book. Also, it suggested if you are going to eat meat, that it should be natual, grain fed, etc. much like you are doing! It also talked about food combinations, which basically means that our body produces different enzymes to break down different types of food, so it's important to not "mix" certain types of food for proper digestion. I couldn't do it 100%, but I did raw till dinner for a couple of months. I've always been thin, so I wasn't trying to lose weight, but I wanted to be more healthy. I have always felt nauseated after eating, that completely stopped once I started the diet. Also, I had much more energy. I even started getting muscle tone (I had none before)even though I wasn't really exercising a lot. I haven't been able to follow the diet as closely since, but I do try to implement as many of the ideas as I can. I strongly recommend reading the book. Also, I put on weight after I got married. For the first time in my life I started actually counting calories. I use my fitness pal. It has a website and phone apps. It makes it so easy to figure out how many calories I'm eating. It also calculates how many calories you burn exercising. I've found that keeping track of calories is very eye-opening. I never realized how many calories I was actually eating before. It has been very helpful for me. I love to snack! So I also find it helpful to keep lower calorie snacks in the house for when I'm having that urge. I love 100 calorie right bites snack mix, and kellogs special k bars (only 90 calories), and my favorite are the yoplait light which come in delicious flavors (key lime pie is heavenly).
P.S.- LOVE your blog! :)