For one month, I’ve been doing something rather drastic for me, but also really fun. This is my first public discussion of it.
Over the course of this past month, I’ve thought long and hard about my love-hate, up-and- down, on-again-off-again, relationship with food. It’s a long relationship that I’ll unpack over the course of the next five or so posts. It’s not always pretty, but sometimes it’s funny. I hope to achieve a balance of provoking solemn thought, side-splitting humor and eye-rolling judgment. I am sure to achieve at least the latter.
Part 1: What the heck is she doing?
What I’m doing is approaching food differently than ever before. For the first time in my many, many times of declaring loudly in my mind, “Let’s do this thing food differently,” I have no intention of losing weight. All the other times, I had intentions of losing weight. Of course, it didn’t happen, but that was my intention.
This time, I have only three rules, and even those are breakable if necessary. These rules come from the compelling (to me, at least) writing of Michael Pollan:
- Eat food
- Not too much
- Mostly plants
So what this entails is the following:
- I plan all my meals, with an eat out option once a week or so.
- I developed a shared database of recipes using Evernote, to which my family members all have access.
- I write out a menu each week along with a shopping list.
- I shop almost exclusively at a trusted store that has all-organic produce, animal products that have no growth hormones or antibiotics, and unprocessed pantry products. In other words, real food.
- I have meat or fish only a few times a week, and strive for a 51% or more intake of plants vs. animal products (based on rough calorie estimates, but I’m not insane about the percentage. Most days I know in my mind if I hit the “more plants than animals by calorie” ratio intuitively).
- Dinners are at the dinner table (most of the time).
- Perhaps most importantly, I actively commit to not feeling guilty for buying “expensive” food. In the past, it was nothing to buy a $30 steak at dinner (which I still might do sometime) but I’d feel guilty about buying $7 worth of organic lettuce. No more.
What I’ve learned so far:
- My food bill is lower. Why? I’m eating in more, I’m not subject to supermarket sales that cause impulse buying for me (“Dang, potato chips are 4 bags for $5. THAT’S A DEAL!!”), and I buy only what I need for that week.
- I really like how quickly I shop at my main store. It’s small, it’s easy to find what I need, and it’s very convenient to my home.
- Food tastes better and I’m more willing to try “crazy stuff.” Tonight we are having oven-baked turnip fries. Will I like them? Who knows. But trying new food awakens the taste buds.
I’ll share some recipes along the way, tell my food story and hopefully make you laugh with some of my legendary food fails. There are many…
Food is relational: relational with you and as a tool to be relational with others. It’s not just fuel. And it’s not something to love (worship) or hate (demonize). It’s something to enjoy.