You might be thinking to yourself, “So, here is this fat chick who wants to lose weight…what is she going to do?” Well, I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do…I am not going to diet. I’ve been there and done that too many times to think that this is going to be an easy and quick fix. Diet for me is another four letter word that makes me gasp whenever someone uses it to talk about themselves…why? It shouldn’t be a bad word. The definition of diet is the sum of food consumed by a person orother organism…sounds pretty harmless! But all you have to do is type “diet” into any search engine and you are immediately flooded by the newest and craziest cures to obesity, most of them being, in my humble opinion, complete crap. From diet pills, (because we all need more chemicals in our body) to Atkins (all meat, all the time) to my favorite… the Cabbage Soup diet. This diet is boasted as being a “healthy” way to lose up to 10 pounds in 7 days…if healthy is surviving for a week on about 400 calories of bland, fiber rich pureed cabbage soup and water. My mom and I tried this once in our ever long search for an easy way to lose weight. I have never been so miserable in my life then the 4 days on this diet…I don’t think I have ever passed as much gas either! All I really remember about that diet was sitting on the toilet, halfway through day 4 and thinking to myself, ‘I think I’m okay with being big…I can deal with the ridicule and stares for the rest of my life, but I can’t eat another bowl of this crap! I’m done…fat Andrea wins!’
There is another reason why I can’t waste any more time trying to diet my way skinny…I have a love affair with food. My picture should be in the dictionary, under “foodie”… a picture of me lying in a smorgasbord of oranges, bananas, cream of wheat, butter, crabcakes, pasta, salmon, lasagna and other wonderful things. In this picture I am swinging my arms and legs to make a food angel with a look of utter contentment on my crumb coated face. Okay, slight exaggeration, but I would be lying to say that I haven’t dreamed about it. I love food so much that I decided I needed to surround myself with it. When the time came in high school to choose to go into college prep classes (boring) or to technical school (what…they have a Culinary Arts program!?!) the choice was the easiest in my life. Just the title of the course told me I had made the right decision…Culinary Arts. The art of working with food, cooking food, identifying new food…the love affair began. It has continued to this day…I enjoy grocery shopping, am rendered almost speechless in farmers markets, and go into a trance when I am kneading any type of dough. The reason diets have failed for me and will always fail is that they force me to completely cut out foods that I love. You tell me that I can’t eat any carbohydrates and I start dreaming about potatoes and risotto, baguettes and danishes. Tell me I have to cut out my fat and all I can think about is butter and rib eye steaks with bleu cheese. I feel like I am in pain when I try to limit my food choices, so I rebel and gorge on all the bad stuff I’m told not to have because of the diet. I have given up fighting, but have found a new way of eating that makes me love food even more, food prepared just the way it is supposed to be. I am eating clean food.
What is clean food? My definition is food that is as close to nature as possible. Food that is minimally processed, if not at all, and prepared in a loving and respectable way. Food that actually looks like…food! So much of the stuff that is available to eat nowadays may be called food, but really it is highly processed, stuffed with fillers and preservatives, highly salted and packed with sugar (aka high frutose corn syrup). Just look at the ingredient list on the back of your favorite frozen pizza, or chicken nuggets, or heaven forbid, hotdogs. Chances are pretty high that if there are more than two or three ingredients, it is not clean. Speaking of hotdogs, I used to love them. The only craving I had when I was pregnant was for a greasy hot dog from the local gas station. MMMM… topped with sauerkraut or smothered with ketchup, yellow mustard, relish and onions…I enjoyed the taste of a good, pan fried hot dog. About two weeks ago, I started to eat only clean foods which was hard at first, but within two days of strict observance, I started to feel amazing! I took Logan grocery shopping with me last week, and he started asking for hot dogs. (By the way, I’m not particularly proud of the fact that my two year old knows to ask for hot dogs by name.) I picked up a package of generic chicken hot dogs and started to read the ingredient list on the back and stumbled over the first one: mechanically seperated chicken. What the crap was that? I thought that maybe because they were a cheap and generic brand, maybe the Ball Park brand would have higher quality ingredients. So I picked them up and read the list, and there it was again… mechanically seperated chicken. I then proceded to look at the back of every kind of hotdog and it was on every package…mechanically seperated chicken, or turkey, or pork. Decided to play it safe and forgo the hotdogs till I knew better. Came home and googled it, and proceded to read the results with a hand over my mouth and a look of horror on my face. Try it one time when you get an extra second or two…just make sure that you haven’t eaten recently! Needless to say, no more hotdogs!
I’m feeling really good so far eating food the way it was meant to be eaten. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, clean and organic meats if possible. That is my diet that I can live with…eating food that is actually food! Ahh…the affair continues!