Saturday, December 26, 2009

on healthy eating.

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The holidays are just about over, and I'm happily done with indulging in my mom's food, sugary treats, and booze. Okay, maybe I'll stick with some booze. I HAVE JUBELALES IN MY FRIDGE, GUYS. They aren't going to drink themselves.

Recently I went bonkers and decided that I was going to count my calories- for a few reasons. First, I was just curious. I wondered how many calories I was eating in an average day, and it turns out that I was eating a LOT MORE than I thought I was, even though I was eating pretty reasonably healthy. Secondly, I want to lose some weight. I guess I don't really have to start my sentences with "let me be frank" anymore because most people who know me, or who read this, know that I'm a pretty straightforward person. After I got pregnant, I got pretty fat. I mean, a lot of other shit happened to me when I got pregnant- preeclampsia, bed rest, undiagnosed thyroid issues that have caused problems for years, postpartum depression, pulmonary edema, a leaky valve in my heart caused by excess water retention, MAN THIS SOUNDS PRETTY CRAPPY IF YOU LIST THEM ALL TOGETHER LIKE THAT, HUH? Having a kid nearly killed me, but as much as I'd love to blame my spawn for all my problems in life, having DAILY MILKSHAKES for 9 months probably didn't help my situation much, either. Nor did my daily shuffle to the bodega 2 blocks from my apartment for a fix of Sprite & Twix. Having abandoned my primary vices, booze & cigarettes, I became an eating machine, with a sweet tooth like I'd never had in my pregravid state.

I started my pregnancy at a decidedly non-scrawny 155 pounds (I'm about 5'5") - the results of college binge drinking and lousy eating habits. (Hey! Vegetarians! Bread on top of bread is a bad idea. Put DOWN the wheat gluten.) The day I gave birth I think I tipped the scales at about 245 pounds. HEY GUYS, GUESS WHAT? GAINING NEARLY 100 POUNDS IN 9 MONTHS IS EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE. A good 40 or 50 pounds of that was water weight from the preeclampsia, which was taken care of with medication after I nearly suffocated on my own body fluids (awesome!). The rest was all milkshake. After teaching myself to exercise and forcing myself to stop eating so many goddamn cookies, I've managed to lose all but 5 pounds of that, but my body still feels all out of whack.

The last 3 years have been a huge exercise in trial and error in trying to figure out what was wrong with my body and then trying to fix it. I've learned to treat food like medicine, and so when I occasionally indulge in something I know I shouldn't be eating, it does feel a little like a crack binge, to be perfectly honest. Which is to say, TOTALLY AWESOME FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES, and then totally shitty for the next few days. I mean, that's what I assume a crack binge is like. I swear I don't smoke crack, don't listen to what my sister says- she has no idea what she's talking about.

Anyway, I guess what I wanted to say was, here's to a new year- a new decade. I've made huge lifestyle changes over the last 3 years, and this next year won't be any different. I have PLANS, guys. I just want to take care of myself.

AND HEY WAIT- before you get all butthurt and start asking yourself shit like, "Oh crap, if *I* want to be healthy, does that mean I don't get to eat fried sausage on toast for dinner? Because that looks pretty good!" Consider the following: This awesome pork sausage fried in bacon fat tops the scales at about 310 calories- that's adding in the minute amount of bacon fat that probably got absorbed by the sausage. The bread, a piece of dry whole wheat toast, was like 90 calories. The beans were drizzled lightly with olive oil and roasted in the oven for a little while, probably a total of 30 calories, tops. So this dinner was a pretty respectable 430 calories, dudes. Don't get all weird about the fat, either- bacon fat, while being made up of about 40% eeeee-vil saturated fat (which, according to some sources, isn't all that evil after all) is also about 60% monounsaturated fat. THAT IS THE HEALTHY STUFF IN OLIVE OIL, GUYS. That means that more than half the fat in bacon grease is "healthy" fat. So get over it. Drop a teaspoon of bacon fat into your pan and fry some sausage. Just don't eat like 5 of them and you'll be all set. BUT WHAT THE HELL DO I KNOW? I'm just some jerkoff who writes a food blog. If you're really interested in what you're eating, start doing some reading. Read labels on your food, read books about good health. Learn to view dietary fat as an ally and not an enemy. Cut your portion sizes. Get up off your ass and move around. Don't use synthetic oils or fake butter or any kind of "replacement." Lay off the damn sugar.

Have a good night.

(And hey, dudes roasted green beans are awesome. Next time I'm gonna leave them under the broiler until they start to crisp a little more.)

23 comments:

The Puritan Impulse said...

That looks delish!
I really have to stop eating so much sugar too. It's just not healthy. I've pretty recently found out I have hyperthyroid. It's making my eyes bulgy!

Good luck with the healthy eating this year! : )

littlebluehen.com said...

Portion size is so much more important than "reduced fat" this and "diet" that. I was eating too much bread and sugar, so now I let myself eat pretty much all the fruits and veggies I want, but pay attention to getting enough vegetarian protein (stupid anemia) and limiting bread-wrapped bread on bread. I'm much less prone to rabidly cranky sugar crashes now.

So hooray for you!

wghook said...

It is all about portion size; then you don't feel like you missed out on something. Also more calories out than in. Move, even if it is to park farther away.

Well Seasoned said...

You are so awesome. Even more awesome now that I know you are the same fat as me - same start, same pregancy gain, same inability to get back to start, and same conclusion that sugar=drugs. Seriously, thank you. {Happy New Year!}

amy said...

sounds like a plan! Great post...enjoyed reading it. and kuddos to you girl for spilling all that and making a plan. amy :)

Ali said...

Great post. I agree 100%! Good luck on the plans for 2010.

L'ours Chaka said...

Taking care of one's body after filling it with booze and crap for years has been totally empowering for me.
Loving good food doesn't have to lead to overeating. Settling into healthy routines that keep you satisfied and active have been the most effective way to maintain good health and body I feel good about.

you go girl.

tea said...

here's to your health!

so... there's a lot of diet books out there. a lot of them are pretty crappy, and a lot of them assume "health" can only be attached to losing weight. I don't think weight is the magic way to know if someone is healthy (i.e, if you are 120 & 5'4 theoretically you're "healthy" but if you eat crap and don't exercise your weight won't tell me that...and "watching my wieght" is not the best motivator for me anyway. i'd rather go with energy levels or resisting sickness)
basically this is a roundabout way of asking if you could suggest a couple of books to start readin' up on health and food?

Sarah said...

Green beans = awesome, under pretty much any circumstance.
I've been eating GF and noticed that gluten makes me crave any type of food like crazy. Not really sure where I'm going with that.

Lindsay said...

Holy Crap you make me want to never have a baby! I'll be cheering you on, I'm constantly striving for that balance between awesome food and healthiness. (Dinner looks awesome, what kind/flavor of sausage did you use?)

Jenn Sutherland said...

Yep, Alicia - you're right - portion size and moving your bod are the key. I made the resolution to get back to peak shape last new years, and am now sittin' 50lbs lighter, and biking 25mi/day to work and back when it's not shittastic Chicago winter. AND, I eat homeade coconut milk ice cream nearly every night. It's about prioritizing those calories, yo. I use dailyburn.com (which has a free membership, but the $5/yr is totally worth it) to track all my food, and it's pretty good - the food database is user generated, so you can add all your local stuff to it, and create your own recipes, and I find perhaps a little too much pleasure in getting the nutritional info on all the recipes for my blog and putting them in the system with the picture of my food. I love a good organizational system. :)

Jessy said...

i like reading your blog, it does humour me

Jen said...

I love your blog and your honesty. Have you read In Defense of Food? I like the three basic rules - Eat real food, not too much, mostly vegetables. I'm learning to eat that way more often, and I can feel a difference. Also, learning to get creative with veggies is a fun challenge to someone like me who has always viewed them as an afterthought.

sublime girl said...

it is that simple. it really is. less refined crap, more real food. smaller (but still satisfying!) portions. I gained about 50 lbs with my first and when he was 1 I decided to lose it and I loved the book Real Food by Nina Planck. I liked it much more than any Pollan book, she keeps it realistic and it's easy to read.

I am very anti low fat and pro REAL fat- bacon grease, butter, coconut and olive oil. I use them for just about everything (minus some baking) and swear that since I started this and switched to local, unhomgeonized whole milk and full fat everything (probably smaller portions of it, but not much!) I have lost weight by that alone. Those synthetic fillers they add to food that is processed and low fat make us fat!

after I finish these dark chocolate covered cherries from trader joes i vow to get on the low sugar bandwagon too. and gain no more than 40 lbs this pregnancy :) i hope.

hey, hows the coconut oil thing going?

BFW said...

Good luck on the change. For me (and for successful lifestyle changers I know) it boiled down to tracking what you eat. Becoming aware of portion sizes, tracking calories(/points), etc.

I too found that I was able to eat dessert nearly every night when I was losing 35 pounds. It's is all about choices and making eating a conscious activity (and not the unconscious shovelling I have done in the past).

beekeats said...

Can I just say that you are one of my favorite food blogs to read, and actually READ. I never scroll/skim through, because I love your no nonsense attitude.

LOVE this recipe, and the calorie info along with it. Totally agree.

beastmomma said...

The last paragraph of the post reminded me of a pep talk that Wanda Stikes (sp?) would give. I love your sassy, honest voice. I hope that you like Wanda because I meant my comparision and a HUGE compliment.

Hillary said...

I made two of those milkshake babies! I about died when I read that.. as I had a daily intake of milkshakes as well...and pretty much traded my smokes and booze for food too! Good god! I also count calories, do boot camp, and eat REAL food. The real food revival is a super sweet book! and good fats are gooood!

Rachel said...

hell yeah! great post! it's hard to say "eat more good fat, damnit!" without sounding like an asshole, so it's nice to see it tactfully done. word up!

Lo said...

Roasted green beans are one of my absolute favorites. Even better on the charcoal grill with a pinch of rosemary salt!

Julie said...

I seriously love your blog. Thanks for being real!

MF said...

so talented, I am soooo not! thanks for sharing!

MF said...

love your art work and photos, you're so talented, I am SO NOT! LOL ;)