Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Peer Pressure

One of the biggest things for me when it comes food is peer pressure. My current circle of friends--as in, the people I see every single day--are all either doing the Paleo thing or are just health nuts in general. And they are all vocal about what they are cooking and eating on a day to day basis. In a crowd of "grilled chicken spinach salad" and "seared ahi tuna with spinach and quinoa" and "pho with zucchini, carrot and daikon radish noodles" and Paleo this or Paleo that...I'm sure as hell not gonna be the one saying "ah, I made lasagna with canned sauce and plain white boxed pasta and served it with white french bread slathered in butter and an iceberg side salad that I bought pre-made in a sack that my husband drowned in bottled ranch dressing." haha! Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for meals like that....but every day or even once a month, not so much. haha!

I have simply found that I need to be able to hold myself accountable for what I eat on some level, and I think this goes hand in hand with peer pressure. For me? That means blogging a recipe or snapping a photo of a plate of food and posting it to Facebook for all of my health nut foodie friends to see--yes, I am one of *THOSE* people. Another way of holding myself accountable in the kitchen? We have friends or family over for dinner 4-5 nights a week, and while none of them would have the gall to comment about me serving something less-than-healthy, I'd feel seriously awful serving them crap. All together, it gives me the incentive I need to not slack off when it comes to cooking.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well...Hello, there!

Where to begin? I'm fat, I'm aware of it, and believe it or not, I'm also the first to admit it. I also make no apologies for it. If you don't like me as my fat girl self, you can find your way right back out the way you came in.

While I've been fat for the majority of my life, I can't say I've struggled with my weight my whole life, because honestly, I haven't given it much thought beyond how my jeans fit. haha! And really, nothing has changed. I haven't set out on this journey to change the way my family eats with weight loss in mind. Sure, it's bound to be a natural side effect to eating better, I suppose, but quite frankly, I am more concerned about the other benefits that proper nutrition will provide--more energy, better health, etc.

I suppose my Paleo story truly began last year when I met a couple of women who had, at that time, been doing the Paleo thing for about a year. One of these women had lost over 100 pounds, and has managed to keep it off even now, a year later. The other has also lost weight, but even more amazingly has also managed to bring some of her health issues under control without medication because of the Paleo lifestyle. Every week, we'd meet up to do PTO stuff and I'd listen to them talk about this or that ingredient that they found or this replacement for that food or how they'd make this recipe "Paleo." Even now, having known them a year, and with both of them having been doing the Paleo thing for a couple years now, they are just as excited about ways they can make a recipe healthy as they were when I first met them. As much as I love to cook, this seriously intrigues and excites me.

I've been quietly tossing this idea around for about a year now. There's just so much mainstream junk that you have to give up to eat Paleo. Dairy? Gone. Refined sugar? Ouch. BREAD? **WEEP** Slowly but surely, though, I've been making some changes in this direction. Honestly, I don't see me ever reaching full on Paleo status, because I really do like things like plain greek yogurt, and the jury is undecided as to whether dairy is "allowed" with Paleo...some, including my friends, say it is....others call Paleo + Dairy "Primal"....and others still say absolutely positively NO dairy. Quite frankly, it probably doesn't matter, really. Point is, I have no real intention of giving up dairy completely, so if I post a recipe here that features half a cup of greek yogurt or a tablespoon of *real* butter, you know why. ;) That's my preface. haha!

Cut to about 2 months ago. I started participating in a produce co-op called Bountiful Baskets (http://www.bountifulbaskets.org). For $15 a week, they give you a TON of produce (think like a large laundry basket full!). Now, it's not necessarily stuff we would've normally chosen to purchase, but since we did pay for it, and since I absolutely *HATE* to see food go to waste, we've forced ourselves to use it. This has had a natural consequence--there's no room in our diet to eat much else because we're constantly trying to use up all this produce!

Just this last week, I realized that this produce co-op has not only changed how we eat, but it has changed how I *SHOP* as well! I found myself in a grocery store produce section, piling my cart with new things: things I never would've been brave enough to try before, much less spent my money to purchase! Add this produce to the ever-growing pile of Bountiful Basket produce we're trying to use up, and quite frankly, anything that was pre-packaged or at all "filler" (read: rice, pasta, etc.) has worked its way out of our diet entirely by default.

Now, all that said, I am a rational human being. I know that my kids are still going to want their cereal, and their Ritz crackers and their milk, etc. Plus, months and months ago when I first brought up the idea of a Paleo lifestyle to my husband, I made it clear that he was welcome to eat or drink whatever he wanted OUTSIDE of the house, and now that we're practically doing it, I have kept my word. Outside of the house--be it at work or when we're out to eat or just out and about running errands--I don't care. Hell, I cheat outside of the house from time to time as well. Actually, for the sake of keeping it real, I would absolutely curl up and die without my morning coffee--but that is another exception I make. Why? Because as far as coffee shop coffee goes, what I drink isn't that bad. About a quarter shot of syrup, 4 shots of espresso, and 1% milk in a 16 oz cup? Sue me, but I will never give it up.

Ultimately, if I'm craving it, I eat it. I don't even care. I crave junk so rarely anymore that it doesn't matter in my mind if I "slip up" and decide I want to eat a piece of chocolate before bedtime one night. Yesterday, I ate a quarter of a chocolate bar and I was done. Last week, we were craving pizza, so we grilled individual pizzas. There are exceptions to every rule. I saw this thing on Dr. Oz today (he totally yapped about the Paleo diet for 40 minutes--LOL!)...and one of his guests said that she tells her clients that they are allowed 3 cheat meals a week. Seriously? 3 a week? LOL! I eat maybe one a week, if that, and maybe a not-so-great snack just about as often. In comparison, I feel like I'm doing pretty dang well! haha!

Basically what I am saying is that I am not a dictator, however, I *AM* the grocery shopper and the only person in this family that plans meals and cooks. Therefore, the things that I select to bring into our home and cook will be healthy.