A Confluence of Events

When I posted the pictures of myself about two weeks ago, I was asked what I’m doing to lose weight. But I had a bad spell with my blood pressure and medicine and haven’t had the wits about me to post, let alone think about how to put this together. And then, the absolutely fabulous CecilyK aka The Uppercase Woman wrote a post about the show based in part on Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals that was thought-provoking and interesting given how much general praise the show has been getting. Finally, Jillian Michaels opened her mouth and planted her foot quite firmly in it. And it seemed like a perfect storm to finally answer the question of what I’m doing (or not doing) to effect this change that I’m going through.

I commented on Cecily’s post about the fact that I think Oliver’s ideas are much like Pollan’s ideas in In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and Kingsolver’s ideas in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.). I also think that his ideas play well with the school/community gardens being touted by the likes of Alice Waters and Rick Bayless. And I think they’re all good idea. Ideas that I endorse and believe we should be working to implement and they’re the originators of the ideas that influence heavily how I approach food.

I honestly use Pollan’s book as a guide to how I eat. I try to follow his suggestions and really think about what I’m eating. But, to be totally honest, there are other factors driving it, too. I have weird food issues and they dictate a great deal of what I eat. For example, I cannot eat mayonnaise. It makes me so ill that I will honestly wish that I hadn’t been born rather than have to suffer another stomach cramp. I recently suffered two bouts with serious stomach issues that I convinced myself were the result of chocolate. And I would have lived with that and just stopped eating chocolate, except that my husband noted that both times I ate a chocolate/peanut butter combination. So, I tried chocolate by itself. No reaction. Peanuts by themselves. Huge reaction. Great. It’s not really an allergy, more of an intolerance, which sucks enough as it is. But that means that I’m now reading labels and avoiding peanuts to avoid getting sick. And when you add to that I’m allergic to *all* sugar substitutes the reality of the way I eat sets in. So, for eating a few basic rules:

1. I eat breakfast. Usually, hot or cold cereal and coffee with a spoon of sugar and some milk. On days I’m working out, hot cereal and a glass of milk.

2. I drink water. Lots of water. I have these fabulous Tervis Tumblers that hold 16 oz of water. I try to remember to refill a minimum of four times during the day.

3. I eat my idea of lunch. Usually burrito mix on a tortilla (dad’s recipe, about as unMexican as you can get; Rick Bayless would shudder to see how this gets made) or leftovers from dinners.

4. Fruit for snacks and a piece of string cheese in the afternoons to tide me over to dinner.

5. Dinner from a Relish! menu (if I haven’t raved about Relish! lately consider this my rave. Usually, there is a dessert after dinner. This week that dessert is Buttermilk pie. I eat small pieces and enjoy it.

6. I track everything I eat at Sparkpeople. I’m adjunctmom there too if you’re there and want to friend me or if you’re not there and want to join.

7. After the kitchen closes (dinner dishes are finished and the table is wiped off), the only thing that can be obtained from it is water. That goes for everyone but Katie. If she needs more milk, she can have that ;).

My focus is on fresh, healthy foods that are minimally processed and that taste good. I’m working hard to instill that value in both of my kids. My son says his favorite vegetable is broccoli. We buy quick frozen and have to buy in bulk because the boy requests it with every dinner it can possibly make sense to eat it with. My daughter appears, at the moment, to prefer green beans.

And here’s the thing, and how this all ties back to Cecily K’s post and issues with that post. I fully realize that I am in an incredibly privileged spot to be able to choose what we eat and how much and where it comes from. I have not always been that fortunate and I think that’s why the advice of all the wonderful people I listed above tends to fall short. The reality is that it is not easy to eat a whole food diet if you’re on a super-tight food budget. I should know; I’ve been there. I have lived for weeks at a time on grilled cheese and ramen noodles. Where the cheese had to serve as my protein because I couldn’t afford meat or tofu. If I was super lucky, apples would be on sale and I could buy a 3 lb. bag of pesticide laden fruit. So, I totally get people listening to these wealthy folks telling them should plant gardens, eat real food, and scoff at their idiocy, BUT just because I couldn’t do it doesn’t mean I didn’t aspire to do it, even back then. And I think the aspiration and the discussions that come from that aspiration are as important as the action. Because if kids don’t know what a potato looks like, then shame on us. But if a kid can’t keep chickens because the kid doesn’t have a yard, then hey, I feel their pain, deed restrictions (and a general understanding that fowl and my dogs will not get along well) keep me from doing it.

So, that in a very large nutshell is how I’m eating and why. What else am I doing?

Well, I work out. Not so religiously at the moment, but I do something active just about every day. We got a gym membership, which has truly been the best thing ever for us as a family. Ben takes swimming lessons. I’m going to take swimming lessons. I work out in the gym — admittedly, not recently because allergies are ruining my ability to sleep and function, but I have hope that pollen season is almost over. I have a Wii and a group of active games that I use. I also have fitness DVDs and a subscription to Sparkpeople’s You Tube channel. Plus, I have my own personal cheering section. Anytime I work out and Ben can see me, I get the “Go, Mom; Go, Mom; Go, Mom” chant. And then he tries to work out with me.

Where does Jillian fit into all of this? Well, honestly, I own some of her DVDs. Her statements really didn’t bother me because, prior to getting pregnant with Ben, I used to say the same things about pregnancy. Why? Because I was told it was statistically improbable that I could get pregnant, and I had several years of trying at my back to prove the statistics were right. Because of the timing, I didn’t realize I was pregnant with Ben until I was a bit farther along than most people, and because of the, um, inhospitability of my uterus, I was desperately afraid to tell people outside of my family that I was pregnant. As in, some didn’t find out until I was almost 28 weeks. So, from that perspective I totally get where she comes from when she says what she says about pregnancy. If you convince yourself that it’s something you don’t want, it doesn’t hurt as badly that you can’t have it. I have no idea what to make of her adoption comments. Have to wonder about the context given her passion for dogs and wonder if two different subjects were conflated in some way.

So yeah, I think that covers what I’m doing, to a greater or lesser extent, and it also gives you an idea of what my brain is like on an average day. Very convoluted :).

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