Day Fourteen of My 500 Words

My 500 Words - Day 14: Tell us About Food

Image of food for My500Words Challenge, day 14

A bit of a strange one today. #My500Words challenge is to talk about food. I like eating it, but I'm not all that fussed about waffling on about it.

My Paleo Way

It's something I try to avoid discussing nowadays really since I began a new lifestyle. But I usually end up having to when people don't understand why I won't eat cake or walk passed almost the entire free buffet lunch to get pick up an apple and a banana. I won't say "diet" because I have no interest in faddy diets. I've just always wanted to eat healthily. So I have, for the most part, avoided too much sugar and fat and tried to exercise whenever I can. But like most people, it has still not been easy to keep weight off because most jobs that I have done involve sitting.

The worst was working in an office and being stuck on my butt, staring at a PC monitor for eight hours a day, which I have to say, I hate with a passion. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. I end up jiggling from butt cheek to butt cheek, taking recreational pee breaks just to take a stroll and jump up at any excuse to leave the office, so as not to be sedentary all day.

Anyway, I'm not stuck in open-plan hell any more, so I move about to my heart's content, however, I think it is my change in eating habits that has had the most impact. OK, not strictly true. The most sudden impact was caused by a horrific relationship break up, that ripped my heart out and stomped on it, throwing me me into despair and saw me lose 2 stone in just a couple of months... but that's a whole different story that I'd rather not go into.

But as I slowly began to recover through the grieving process, the weight started creeping back up again. Losing the pounds felt as if it was the only positive thing I had gained as I  emerged from the trauma I had endured, and I didn't want to lose it...or rather, gain it back again. 

Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm not sure how I came across it now, I'm a terrible web hopper and lose track where I find things, but I came across a lecture given by Dr Robert Lustvig on the dangers of sugar on the metabolic pathways. Which led me to look in to this more and before I knew it I was down an internet rabbit hole of documentaries about food. 

Trying to avoid sugar in processed foods has always been a chore, so I thought I would give the clean way of eating a try and see if I could cut out most processed foods. I knew that it had been bread that was always my downfall and a major factor in putting weight back on, so I aimed to cut out all processed carbs. At least for a while. This was around May 2018 when I was at uni studying for my Master's. I had very little money so I was having to live on cheap frozen bags of vegetables to make soups and stews, so I felt like I was eating prettily healthily anyway.

I began shopping only in the fresh food area, for vegetables and fruit, meat and fish. I came to see the majority of the supermarket as off-limits and it soon became very easy to perceive the majority of the shelves as not containing "real" food.

I still had some processed food left in the cupboard and I was so short of money I had no choice but to finish off the food I had left. It was this which really helped me decide that I had made the right decision. I opened a tin of baked beans to use it up and it was horrible. It was like eating a dessert, it tasted so overly sweet, I found it repugnant. I haven't bought any since.

I was worried that it was going to become expensive, but eating healthily I find that I very rarely have food cravings any more and when I do, it is for nuts or fruit, not processed carbohydrates. I say that I am "Paleo", but that's not strictly true because I break too many of the rules. I have never been much of a follower of rules. A Paleo lifestyle does not allow dairy, but I drink coffee with milk. I tried various replacements and found them all to be unpleasant in the way they changed the taste of the coffee, or the replacements were in themselves processed and contained chemicals and/or sugar.

I also don't eat as much as I used to. I don't find myself generally getting as hungry because I eat fats instead of carbs and find myself feeling satiated for longer. For example, I ate fried butternut squash, kale, onion with a couple of fried eggs on top for breakfast this morning. I was writing this at almost 6pm in the evening and I was only just starting to feel the pangs of hunger.

l don't have to think about my weight at all anymore. It stopped going up, reversed for a bit, which almost had me worried but then it levelled off and now hovers nicely well within the expected healthy weight for my height.

I can't remember all of the videos I watched and articles I read but these were a few of my favourites...

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Dr Robert Lustvig's video which set me off down my food related internet rabbit hole and changed the way I eat...

That Sugar Film

Image and Amazon link to That Sugar Film
That Sugar Film 
by Damon Gameau
Dr Lustvig's lecture led me on to actively look for more. I discovered 'That Sugar Film' which provided a more entertaining step along my journey.

The Magic Pill

This documentary started by explaining about how the aboriginal tribes in Australia were incredibly fit and healthy until relatively recently in history (1970s). But now a high proportion are suffering and dying from chronic Western diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, whereas prior to that they had died from infectious diseases, fighting, accidents, animal attacks and old age. The difference, sadly, was that where the aboriginal diet had previously been composed of fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, these people had now become exposed to a western diet of processed food, packed full of carbohydrates and sugar.
Image and Amazon link to The Magic Pill documentary
The Magic Pill documentary

The documentary advocated a return to a more natural way of eating. It seemed a terrifying challenge at first. We are surrounded by processed "food" in the west. But after I had made the decision to give it a try, it actually became a relief when I was shopping. I found myself feeling a sense of release, no longer having to spend half of my time in the supermarket reading labels trying to figure out, from the long list of ingredients on the sides of the boxes, packets and jars, what on earth was in them. No more trying to decipher what chemical names for all of the sugars the food manufacturers had used in their products. I could never get my head around why they needed to put so much sugar into savoury foods.

Sugar Coated movie

Word count: 1262 words


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