"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby Step #6: Read Yourself Healthy

I find that anything I'm interested in gets old. Eventually. Nutrition and cooking not excepted.

So I like to find ways to stay motivated in the areas of my life that I don't want to fizzle.

I've read The Secret of the Rosary about 10 times, because it keeps refreshing me. Same with my old house-keeping standby, Sink Reflections.

In the kitchen, I've found lots of interesting books that I use and pass on to friends. The Wonderful World Within You is one I keep around. I like it because it is full of graphs of the nutritional density of foods. The visual difference between pizza and peanut-butter-and-jelly-on whole-wheat is pretty cool, and looking at the charts is helpful to keep me on track, nutritionally speaking. This book also made me fall in love with mushrooms; they are the most dense food, nutrition-for-calorie. You also get to see which vitamins and minerals are highest in what foods, which I find very helpful.

Recently, I came across a dumb-sounding book and started reading it out of curiosity. The Thin Commandments : The Ten No-Fail Strategies for Permanent Weight Loss. I don't really need to lose weight, but I'm sometimes asked what diet I think is the best, and I never have an answer. "Just eat real food and you'll get full before you get fat," isn't really that helpful, is it now?

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. The 10 Commandments are actually not about what to eat and what not to eat to lose weight. The book is all about strategy, structuring your environment, and re-learning how to think about food. Now, the goal of the book is weightloss, but ANYONE who has food allergies or who wants better nutrition can benefit from this book.

One of his good points: no one gets fat (or ruins their immune system) from Christmas dinner.

No. You get fat (or sick) from the 2 weeks before Christmas and the 3 weeks after Christmas. The junk snacking, the leftovers you can't stop picking at, the endless parties. We stretch out the feast so much that there are no fasts in between!

We KNOW what to do to be thin (or be healthy). But we don't do it. Even when we want to.

One cookie isn't going to make you fat (or ruin your health). But so many of us eat the cookie. Then 5 more. Then tomorrow we eat the rest of the batch. Then we decide to make some more 2 days later.

Cravings. You can't reason with cravings!

But this book is full of strategies to help you deal with foods you are addicted to, are allergic to, foods you love, foods you hate, and emotional eating. I've intuitively developed my own strategies to deal with junk food cravings, and many of them are in this book!

My personal weakness is vacation. It's very hard and very expensive to eat healthy when I'm not in my kitchen. And if I only went on one vacation for a few days every year it wouldn't be a big deal. But my last vacation was 2 weeks, my next one will be 2 weeks. That's a lot of meals and snacks to deal with! So I'm taking notes furiously and trying to make a smart plan for our trip to Kansas for Thanksgiving.

My main beef with this book is that the author makes no distinction between whole foods and chemical food. At the end of the book, he suggests a lot of 'lite' foods riddled with artificial sweeteners and additives. I think some of them might be ok as occasional indulgenges, but I hope no one would eat them regularly! Especially when trying to restrict your food intake, 97% of your food needs to pack a lot of nutritional punch in every bite.

In any case, I'm glas I finally have a book I can refer readers and friends to when they ask about weightloss and dealiong with cravings.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you're the easiest person to fool."
~Richard Feynman

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