Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dooce and UNC and food philosophies

So, I realized that I haven't yet mentioned that I'll be leading a book discussion on Very Bookish in April. The little profile about me is already up, as is the preview of the book I'll be discussing. The book, by the way, is Dooce's new book, It Sucked and then I Cried. I have been dying to read this book since she first announced that she was writing it, and now I have it right here on my Kindle! So you should all order or check out a copy and read along with me over there.

Also, Dooce is coming to Denver to do a reading, and I've been planning to go for quite some time (before we even knew when we were moving here), but I've just realized that her reading is literally at the exact same time as the NCAA basketball tournament championship game. Now, if UNC (my team since age six) loses before then, maybe I can TiVo the game and watch it later. But if UNC is playing for the championship? I HAVE to watch it live. HAVE TO. Come on, Dooce. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO PICK THAT EXACT DAY AND TIME? Do you really think your readers don't care about basketball? Or is it because there are no real contenders in Colorado?

I have more to say about weight-loss surgery, and specifically about all the issues of judgment and blame and stereotyping that it raises, but I think I need to save that for another day. There's been a lot of serious weight-related talk around here recently, and I need a break.

But I do have it on the brain, still, and maybe that's why I have a question about eating. Not necessarily weight-related, but just habit related. Are there foods you restrict for yourself? No red meat, no dairy, no sweets, etc.? If so, why? Do you have a general philosophy about food and diet?


  1. I discovered awhile ago that wheat was throwing me off balance. I had really bad allergies/headaches/cramps, etc. I did some reading and started thinking wheat could be the problem. I felt so much better when I gave it up, that I can't even think about going back. It's a pain in the butt, because wheat is in everything. But it does also keep me from eating a lot of empty calorie foods.

  2. I'm interested to hear what you think of her new book. I've contemplated reading it but still haven't gotten around to purchasing it.

    In response to your question:

    I guess my general philosophy about food is pretty simple and straightforward: I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and do my best to choose healthy foods.

    I don't eat any red meat simply b/c I don't care for it. I also try to limit my intake of foods made with artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives. Eeek! Saying that makes me sound much more health conscious than I really am :) I shop at Whole Foods, which doesn't carry anything made with artificial additives, flavors, etc. so they're easy to avoid. But when I eat out, have dinner at someone else's house, etc. I just don't worry about it.

    That particular eating habit I inherited from my parents. As I child we didn't eat those types of things, so I guess it naturally carried over into adulthood.

    My downfall, however, is dessert. I can't say no to chocolate :)

  3. Vegetarian.* I was a vegan for about six months but then I got really sick and my gastroenterologist all but force fed me yogurt. I rarely eat condiments, and I can't remember the last time I voluntarily added salt or butter to something.

    *I watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" last weekend and now all I can think of is, "You don't eat meat? What do you mean, he don't eat no meat? That's okay, that's okay, I make lamb."

  4. I don't restrict anything, but I should probably go off sugar for a while. It's very addicting to me - if I have a bowl of ice cream one night, I am craving it every night at the same time for at least a week. It's so weird, and a little disturbing. It happens even if I'm full.

    I can't wait to hear what you think about that book - I'm mildly interested in reading it. As a mom, though, I have to wonder what her daughter will think of the title. I've written a bit about my PPD too, and I always worry what Madeline will think of it before she's old enough to *really* understand and/or go through the changes of motherhood herself.

    Hope your team makes it - my bracket is already SO.SCREWED.

  5. I only restrict food based on A) my allergies -pork, alcohol and green beans or B) Dislike like anything with bananas or banana flavoring.
    Otherwise I just try to eat mostly healthy and not too much candy and cakes :p

  6. I avoid meat and poultry, only because I don't digest it well. I'm not too fanatic about it; if there's a little bit of chicken on a pizza it doesn't bother me.

    I avoid trans fats, which means I don't eat most storebought cookies, snacks, etc.

    Everything else in moderation.

  7. I only eat two desserts a week, because otherwise it's so easy to have accidentally eaten ten desserts and you didn't even notice. It still lets me eat a dessert when there is something really good available but means I don't have to think every time about whether or not the stale cookies at work are worth eating or not.

    I also don't eat fast food anymore. Too greasy and gross.

  8. My philosophy on food: everything in moderation. Having said that, I'm going to be testing myself in the months to come. More on that soon enough.

    Let's just say I told my boss at the gym (where I work on Monday nights) that he'll be hard-pressed to see me at the gym next Monday. GO HEELS!

  9. I very rarely eat red meat.I am more of a chicken girl. I don't use sugar anymore. I use sweet n low. My son has allergies so we don't have nuts in the house or peanut butter. So we generally have no sweets in the house.
    We also don't drink soda, just crystal light. The kids drink juice and milk.

  10. I also don't restrict myself from anything. If I try to cut something out of my diet -- like sugar or fat -- it only leads to cravings and then binging. Instead, I let myself eat whatever I want to, but only a little bit at a time. I have a calorie goal for the day and I stay within that, no matter what I eat, so it does push me towards more filling foods like proteins and whole grains, but a little treat each day is okay.

    Nothing is off limits, really!

  11. Honestly- over the years while trying to lose weight, I've learned that trying to eliminate entire foods just lead to wanting them even more. If I want some chips, I have some, but only a few. However I try to think about it first or wait awhile before giving in. If I still really want the chips after a half hour, then I'll have some.

  12. Dude! Go see Dooce! I saw her last night at Powell's and she was awesome. The book is pretty good. I won't go on and on about it because it'll be more fun for you to read for yourself but I will say to remember that she is writing about a very serious topic, so don't expect to laugh your ass off with every page. :)

  13. I don't eat red meat because it made me sick once and it's not appealing. Other than that I don't have any restrictions. I eat whatever I want but in moderation. I'm pretty good at limiting myself on things I shouldn't have. I can buy a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine and they'll last me a few days.

  14. I don't have restrictions per se but lately I have been trying to limit my alcohol and sugar intake as well as how much white flour I eat. It's hard because those things are good (!) but I would like to drop weight more than eat ice cream.

    Did I really just say that!? ;-)

    Dooce is coming here tonight to read but I have my water aerobics class. The fact that I like exercising so much that I'd miss seeing her speak is a testament to how much I like the class.

  15. I try to avoid white flours, high fructose corn syrup and things with high amounts of sugar or preservatives. I DO still eat those things, but TRY to save it for holidays and special occasions or eating out, etc.

  16. Oh, and we try not to eat much red meat. We use ground turkey instead of beef and eat turkey or chicken or no meat 90% of the time.

  17. I occasionally try to restrict sweets, specifically chocolate (because other sweets don't have quite the allure for me that chocolate does), but I have never been consistently successful. I can only go a day or two before I'm licking the wall that my child touched when she had chocolate on her fingers. :) I don't eat a lot of red meat, but that is not because I am specifically restricting it, I just don't eat much of it. I do enjoy a nice steak now and then, though.

  18. Oh MAN. I love, like everything when it comes to food. Well, except for the stuff they try to pass off as food on that show on the Travel channel? Yeesh, I *want* to be culturally sensitive, but some of that stuff gives me the heebs.

    I usually don't restrict myself unless I am dieting. Which is a problem. I want to try to adopt an eating philosophy that encompases more than just pleasure, but also nutrition and keeping my body healthy.

  19. I have that Dooce reading on my calender as well. I can't decide whether I want to drive all the way down there on a Monday night though.

    I think I actually restrict a lot of foods, but I've been doing it for so long they're just sort of not on my radar anymore and I forget about them. I don't eat: artificial sugar or fat, beef, soda/juice/lattes/other drinks with sugar in them, and generally avoid anything with corn syrup or that is highly processed, from potato chips and graham crackers to chicken that looks oddly spongy and those boxes of instant rice sides and things. I don't eat fried things unless I happen to be served them at a restaurant. Oh and no broccoli, because I'm allergic.

    I also used to not eat cheese or peanut butter or anything with any trace of fat in it, but the no fat thing lead to some serious blood sugar issues and I thankfully stopped that.

    I don't have a philosophy, I think. I eat what is generally regarded as healthy. I try not to eat unless I'm genuinely hungry. I try to get a lot of protein in my diet because it prevents me from being hungry too quickly and having my blood sugar crash. I get into bad habits like eating fatty meats and too many carbs and sugar sometimes. I find that if I stop eating these things for about 3-4 days, my craving for them really diminishes, thankfully. Same with eating snacks after dinner. In the summer, I live on fruit and bread because it's too hot to want to eat heavy things. My weight fluctuates seasonally, and I'm okay with that.

  20. Hi! Bummer about Dooce! I probably won't get it together to read her book by then anyway. :) But maybe still?

    I haven't commented on the WLS this yet because I really haven't known what to say. I think if you're serious about it though, do what feels right and don't take too much stock in other people's opinions. Because I'm sure there are some a-holes out there.

    I don't eat red meat or pork at all. Used to be a vegetarian but I added in poultry and fish because I wasn't getting enough protein (was a total 7-11 vegetarian in college). Honestly though, there are plenty of days when I go totally meatless. I think it's better for me and I KNOW it's way better for the world.

  21. I'm seeing D tonight. JELLUS?

    And I was just telling someone that I don't think the internet can continue until I post my Diet Philosophy to Hot By Thirty. So you'll just have to wait to hear my contribution to the science. HEH.

  22. I'll probably be one of the only people telling you to watch the game, but uhh... from one southern to another: watch the game!

    Go Heels :)

  23. Stuff I don't eat because I don't like it:

    red meat, organ meats, brussels sprouts, bananas

    Stuff I don't or rarely eat because it doesn't like me:

    deep fried stuff (I eat it rarely), stuff made with high amounts of dairy fat (ice cream, alfredo sauce, bisque and cream soups) (I eat ice cream sometimes, and usually a small amount, but alfredo sauce or bisque will have me doubled over groaning for hours)

    Stuff I don't or rarely eat because it makes my blood sugar all wonky:

    stuff made with processed white flour/sugar, most fruit juices (I tend to cut them with sparkling water if I drink them), sugary soda

    I also try to avoid artificial colorings and flavorings, trans fats, and HFCS. Basically, I don't eat a lot of premade food from the grocery store and when I do it's usually something like pretzels or tortilla chips. We get whole wheat pasta, bread, and tortillas. Once in a while I'll be in a situation where there are potato chips and cookies and stuff and if I eat a little I'm ok, but if I eat too much I feel sick.

    I was a vegetarian for a while in college, but that ended when I was on my big trip around Europe and wasn't getting enough potassium so I got awful leg cramps. As soon as I started eating meat again that went away. Since then I've learned that I can regulate my hypoglycemia with what I eat and when (I gave up on trying to avoid animal protein, since I've found I just can't get enough from vegetable sources). So I eat a lot of protein, veggies, lowfat dairy, fruits, whole grains, and when I eat less-than-healthy stuff it's usually homemade baked goods (I can control what kind of fats and sugars are going in) or dark chocolate.

    I think most of my eating habits stem from childhood. My parents were poor hippies. We grew a lot of our own food, belonged to food co-ops, and made all our own baked goods at home. We didn't eat sugary cereals, got candy a few times a year, and I didn't have mac and cheese from a box until I was 10 years old! So I guess I never developed a taste for a lot of stuff.

    All that said, there are still times I'll eat something just because I want to eat it. I have a weakness for chocolate croissants from French bakeries. I love the occasional everything bagel. And I can't resist Chinese egg tarts (the kind you can get at dim sum). I just have to be careful to balance out the sugar and simple carbs with protein.

  24. Someday I'll read her book, can't wait!

    I'm a vegan for many reasons. It started as health reasons and then morphed to environmental and animal rights reasons. Some say it's drastic but I tell you it's the best thing I've ever done for myself. I don't miss meat or eggs or dairy or cheese. My eating habits are better and I feel so much lighter and healthier. I eat a broader range of foods than most non-vegans do.

    I could go on and on, I love talking about it. :)

  25. jess, most of the time i can relate to you but choosing SPORTS over DOOCE? you lost me there :)

  26. Dooce is coming to LA the same day I leave for vegas... unfortunately I can't postpone a day. :( Enjoy it for me if you do decide to go.

  27. I don't really restrict myself often...anymore...in the past I was somewhat restrictive and some of the habits stuck. Right now, I normally just try to have things in moderation.

    Some habits that stuck: I don't add mayo to anything (or most other creamy condiments) and I try to avoid "drinking my calories" by generally having tea (with no sugar) instead of foamy concoctions and ordering water at restaurants when out for a meal. Also at restaurants, I often order something that will be suitable for leftovers, and I only eay half.

  28. I am vegetarian - so no meat, very little dairy and very few eggs. I recently gave up sweets as well :)

    I've been enjoying the weight-loss discussion, even though I haven't been participating.

  29. I'm very much in the "everything in moderation" crowd, though I do try to limit my soda intake. Once in a while I get a craving and have a can, but I pay in the form of breakouts for the next week. Besides that, it's just empty calories and I definitely don't need that.

  30. All my teams are out already, so I no longer care about the final game. My bracket has ZERO POINTS POSSIBLE remaining. Ugh.

    I try to limit caffeine, especially after noon, but I sometimes let myself have some in the AM. I do think I feel better without it, but now it's kind of a forbidden fruit and I like to get it sometimes.

    I also try to really limit drinks besides water with meals, because that's the easiest way I've found to save 150 calories per meal.

    Otherwise I'm fairly laid back and try to be moderate about most things.

  31. I would watch the game! Especially if your team is playing. Com'n, it's the finals and it almost doesn't matter who is playing, it's going to be good (and this is coming from someone whose team was out in the first round.)

    I've tried given up all sorts of things. I was a vegetarian for years, but gave that up after I was told I had a gluten allergy (after all, I had to eat something.) Right now, I don't eat beef. And I try to eat ice cream only twice a month.

  32. I've read her blog for a long time and was disappointed. I found a lot of it to be regurtitated posts.

  33. I intentionally don'trestrict myself because I find that I have better portion control when I indulge. I generally prefer healthier food (I don't like fried stuff, or mayo, or white bread, or regular soda) and find that if I keep myself from having the chocolate cupcake I'm really craving, I'll eat twice as much low-fat frozen yogurt and still be craving the cupcake.

  34. i've been trying to limit my processed food intake, and eat generally healthier (eg, no fast food) but other than that, i have virtually NO self control. i have to exercise more to make up for it because i do not have the willpower to not eat things.

  35. I go through spurts of trying to limit one thing or another (most recently cereal, of all things), but my basic philosophy is to try to shop healthily, so that my only options are fruity or whole-grainy, at least. I do try to eat fruits or vegetables at every meal (orange juice = a fruit. Do not deny me this.) I'm lucky in that my body doesn't tend to cling to cholesterol or calories, and also that many things that are in the unhealthy camp (steaks, cheetos, potato chips, soda) are not so appealing to me.

    I'm hoping to go see Dooce when she's here, although holy cow, that's next WEEK.

  36. I live in North Carolina and people are seriously going crazy over this basketball thing (which I'm clearly not into). It's mania... Is it bad I'm looking forward to the end?

  37. I follow Dr. Joel Fuhrman [http://www.drfuhrman.com]'s Eat to Live plan [http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Live-Revolutionary-Formula-Sustained/dp/0316735507]. Why because it's healthy, nummy, makes sense, and is sustainable. Also, the weight loss is phenomenal.

    & btw I'm so glad you're into Dooce, I love her! She's one of the blogs I check daily, you're the first one on the list though :)

  38. I try to maintain a "no raw cookie dough in the house" rule, but that's probably not what you're looking for, huh? I wish I had rules. I need some rules, man. "Have a piece of fruit in the house at all times" would be a good one, for instance.

  39. Funny you should ask that because I just had my prenatal glucose-tolerance test yesterday and I have a bad feeling about the results.....we try to limit sweets but we suck at it. We try to include lots of fibre and stick to whole wheat-whatever as much as possible and lately, we've been on a fresh fruit kick.
    Our two main rules are:
    1) Fibre, fibre, fibre!
    2) Absolutely no fake sugar. It is the devil.

  40. I'm not huge on restrictions, but at my house my mom only buys foods that say "0 Trans Fats", so that's definitely one thing we do.

    I also feel guilty/yucky when I eat fast food nowadays, so I try to limit that (also for the money reason too, better to bring a lunch than buy it all the time).

    I try to limit my pop intake, but every now and then I like a cold coke for a treat.

    Generally, I'm trying to be a healthy eater... and I think when my boyfriend and I move out together (whenever that might be, LOL), we'll be able to start a fairly healthy food routine because he's fairly health-conscious himself so he'll be on board for keeping us healthy in our food choices for sure. I think that partnership can make the difference -- it's all about what you don't bring into the house in the first place! :-)

  41. I don't really restrict my diet in any way.....

    However, my stomach problems have been getting better because I haven't been eating fried foods, overeating in general, raw onions, tomatoes, etc.

  42. I cannot live without my beef! Hah, I won't repeat that in India, in front of my Hindu relatives. But, I have to have my beef and my chicken and it helps that I need high intake of protein after surgery.

    I don't restrict anything completely but I do try limiting the amount. Specially of sugars and deep fried stuff. I won't eat fries unless I amr eally craving them and even then a couple of fries and I am good to go. Becuas eI found out the nutritional value of a small order of fries (YIKES). And, I keep a stack of frozen ones at home so I can bake them, they're a little healthier that way.

  43. I had meant to ask you if you were going to hear Dooce read! But, like you, NCAA tournament takes precedence (even though Louisville is out, I'm still pulling for Carolina!) - plus, a friend's surprise b-day party is at a sports bar to watch the tournament that night...

    Lots of thoughts about food! Weight/food issues don't go away just because you're thin...speaking from experience here :) I think about what I'm eating non-stop. I have to. I gain weight really easily and have to work hard at keeping it off. It's a constant battle.

    That said, I try not to be too neurotic and inflexible with what I eat. I hate going out with people who, when you're trying to enjoy a lovely meal, pick it apart. I try to eat fresh, healthy foods but if I indulge in a plate of nachos (yum!) then I don't beat myself up over it...I just eat better the next day.

    If I am trying to lose weight (like I am now!) then I really just cut back on overall calories rather than certain foods. I don't eat sweets ever (because I don't like them) and I don't eat fast food (same reason). I do like to do pretty serious detoxes from time to time, but that's mainly for overall vitality, if anything.

    Regarding surgery...if it feels right, I say do it! I don't so much think it's the surgery that's the issue, but the lifelong commitment you have to make to changing your lifestyle after having it. If you are ready for that, then go for it. But it sounds like you are already well aware that it's not just a quick fix.

    I'm adamantly pro-choice, even on this issue :)