you are what you eat

I got my allergy test results back and discovered that I’m not allergic to most foods that I was heavily allergic to anymore! I’m quite excited, and have been talking to my husband about the foods I can eat now.  I’m still a little paranoid I’ll break out, so I’ve been thinking about what got me into this predicament in the first place.

So here’s what I’ve learned about my past eating habits:

-If I like something, I eat it literally all the time. I find recipes with the same ingredients over and over again. Which makes it easy to develop an allergy to that food.

-I didn’t have enough fiber in my diet, it was mostly refined grains, which doesn’t count.

-I didn’t eat a variety of foods (look above). I was pretty malnourished. I ate a lot to compensate for this I think.

-I ate many processed foods which resulted me in eating a lot of ‘filler’ foods, which were the very things I was allergic to.

-I drank a wackload of alcohol.

Did this result from pure laziness? Sure, it could have been. But maybe also because I didn’t know any better. Even though I am able to eat all the junk I want again, I’m probably not going to. I’ve developed some (I think!) good food habits I’m going to keep:

-eat whole foods.  I rarely buy premade sauces, but if I do, I make sure it has ingredients that I recognize and don’t have to look up in a dictionary.

-Increase intake of fiber. Tried to sneak quinoa, beans, spinach, nuts and seeds in smoothies and that has worked well.

-Eat more raw foods. We’ve made some yummy salads in the last two years!

-Avoid refined sugar. Keeping a food diary of that, so I can be more accountable.

I’m going to have my first sandwich (going to make sure it is whole grain or sourdough) in years soon! Yes, I am excited, don’t laugh.

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Curbing sugar cravings

One of the worst things I ever did to my body (and my health) in the past was eat a whole wackload of sugar. Of course, back then, I was a bit niave and didn’t really realize the consequences it had on me.  Here is what I wouldn’t think twice of eating in the past:

-sugary cakes, such as muffins, cheesecake, breads,etc. for any meal

-soda and sugary fruit juices

-refined pasta and grains

-loads of white sugar in tea and coffee

I’ve drastically reduced this, and feel much better for it. I’ve stopped eating processed sugar altogether, and avoid any sauces that have added, and stopped drinking juice (you wouldn’t believe  how much sugar they add in ALL their drinks in China!).

Of course, I’m not giving up everything with sugar in it, such as wine and natural sugars in fruit, but I know in order for me to keep my health in check like I have been, I have to stop eating sugar that is refined. Though, taking refined flour out of my diet is going to take more than a few weeks, as I really enjoy dumplings at this little cafe I frequent and they use white flour for their dumpling skins. I will admit however, it is really hard sometimes to pass by sweet shops and not get tempted, especially if there is good quality mango sorbet, tee hee.

I’ve found some ways that have helped me give into temptation:

1) Avoid foods that are too salty/spicy –  I always crave sweet drinks if I go for Korean food (for example), so not eating foods like that helps me want less sugar

2) Stop drinking coffee/black tea – I used to have milk and sugar with that, and I find myself still justifying that one pack of sugar is not so bad. I stick with herbal teas or green tea with a bit of honey if I want something sweet.

3) Keep a bag of seeds or unsalted nuts on hand – If I’m hungry, I make silly choices and go for the first thing I see in the convenience store.  That way, if something is around my desk and I can eat it right way, it will stop me from making  a poor choice.

4) Don’t look at food I cannot have – I pass my this sorbet store all the time, but once I figured out that if I look straight ahead and not look at my favourite flavour, I thought less about it, which means I crave it less.

5) Remind myself of why I am doing this in the first place – My eczema symptoms flare up, or my energy levels dip, or I get moody. I don’t want that happening anymore!

6) Don’t see it as giving up something, but as a step to gaining something, like my health – When I had to stop eating certain goods due to allergies, I was quite upset because I kept thinking I was giving something up. If I continue to think this way, of course I’d want to rebel from it and eat what I shouldn’t.

7) Don’t be too hard on myself if I cheat every once in a while – Once a month I do give myself a treat (I had chocolate mousse at a five star hotel and it was glorious!), but of course it should be a treat of quality, so I don’t continue craving something sweet after said cheat item is eaten.

8) Keep track whenever I eat sugar – I surprise myself at how much I cheat if I don’t hold myself accountable. I remember when I started reducing my intake of sugar, I actually ate more! Having a list in front of me every once in a while does put things into perspective.

What are your ways to stop yourself from giving into temptation? Any tips?

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food resolution pt. 2

Ok, I knew it would have come to this. Most people who go on diets often cheat right? We’ll, I’ve had more sugary drinks than I care for (ok, only three, but that is a lot) and semi cheated on my diet (I had a a quesidilla with cheese, and not rotated my foods properly), and I feel uber guilty for it.

Now that I had my one of two wisdom teeth to pull out, I’m going to take the weekend to rest and regroup myself.  I have to focus on why I want to eat better:

-lessen ezcema symptoms

-feel more energized overall

-less stomachaches

-feel better in general

I’ve noticed in the last year since eating more grains/beans/fruit and less meat that it has made a difference in how I feel, mentally and physically. It is hard here because my job has been especially stressful lately, but it just means that I’ll have to find better ways to prepare meals. I’m writing this to remind myself of my food goals again. I know that it is ok to cheat sometimes but I don’t want to get used to eating junk all the time now.

So here they are:

-plan ahead meals so there is no excuse to deviate from diet

-continue with recording food on my food diary (and don’t cheat!)

-rotate all foods as much as I can (maybe start menu planning?)

-No more diary, no matter how delicious that pizza looks/smells

-eliminate highly refined foods eventually from my diet altogether

-baked goods/sugary foods OCCASIONALLY.  Will try to use honey for sweetener if craving a sugary fix.

This sounds easier, but it is definitely not. After years of not knowing why my immune system sucked and why my eczema flared up, I’m really trying to take control of my life with this.

Though, my good friend sent me cake mix I can actually eat, so maybe I’ll wait for another month and that can be my reward :)

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Resolution

I love food. I also never watched what I ate either. So when I developed a number of food allergies, I thought my life was over.

In retrospect, it is a good thing I was forced not to eat certain foods. The more I read food labels, the more I realized how much crap I literally was shoving down my gullet.

I’ve been reading a lot about the politics of food, and it’s a good thing that’s been more in the mainstream through books like Fast Food Nation and movies like Food Inc. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I promise myself that I’ll only do it when I haven’t had or am having or will have a meal. Fast Food Nation is pretty good, though I’m not too sure about this underlying anti Republican stance it’s taking with the book. Will probably blog more about it later.

In light of this, I’ve made a conscious choice to try to change my diet for the better. I’ve been doing fairly well with cooking more and eating whole foods, and am always reading new recipes like mad. Unfortunately I can’t exactly visit the farms that make my food or anything of that sort, but I do try to buy from locals instead of a big supermarket (maybe I can work up enough courage to see where they grow their stuff).  So I’m going to write a food diary. Things I’ve done so far to change my diet is eat brown rice, whole wheat flour, raw unsalted nuts/seeds, and eat less ready made sauces and dressings. Also,  like a lot of people these days, I’m going to take photos of food I make or have at a restaurant. I’ve been meaning to try to work better shots with my point and shoot digital camera so this is the chance.

So to start here’s a photo of one of my favourite drinks in Bali (not the best for you, unless what’s making it sweet is palm sugar), bottled iced tea, yum yum!

yum yum drinks

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