Monday, June 25, 2012

a new look on food.

{just as a pre-cursor, i am not at all trying to be preachy or judgy. this is just something that has been on my mind a lot lately and has become very important to me, and so, naturally, i wanted to share a bit about it with all of you :)}

so if you follow me no instagram or twitter, you may have noticed that i've been talking a lot about food the last several weeks. ok, fine, i always talk about food - it's a big passion of mine - but recently, my passion for food has evolved into a passion for nutrition. i have pretty significantly changed the way i view food and, in turn, the way i eat. i have become very conscious of what i put into my body.

i think i have been on a journey toward this point for awhile now, choosing to take more trips to the local farmers market, starting to buy organic here and there, and buying less and less processed foods, primarily shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. but it really took a turn when i read this article about GMOs (genetically modified foods), posted by an amazing/inspiring chiropractic friend. it was unsettling, to say the least. it stirred up a lot of strong emotions in me. i was infuriated that we, the public, are so left in the dark about what we are eating and that the food industry is so heavily controlled by money, when what should be its driving force is providing consumers with fresh, healthy food options. it is all very f'ed up, i tell ya. there aren't even conclusive studies about the long-term effects of GMOs. scary.

here are just a couple of unsettling points from the article, in case you're interested (the article is long & a little bit dense, not the easiest read.. you can find a few more highlights from it in the google doc i created.)

There can be no scientific testing of the physical effects of GM foods on humans. Or animals, for that matter. It is not permitted. And of course there is no GMO limit in US foods, and no testing has ever been done because, remember, NOT ONE LAW has ever been passed regulating GM foods in America.

Best estimate: 80% of processed foods on supermarket shelves contain at least some GMOs, and at least 60% have GM as a primary ingredient.
In addition, virtually all confined animals are fed GM food almost exclusively, most of it GM soy.

In 1991. the policy commissioner of the FDA was Michael Taylor. Under his personal guidance the decision never to label GM foods in the US was ushered into policy and enshrined in an unassailable position. That decision has never been challenged.
from there, i started reading/researching nutrition like crazy, about herbicides and pesticides, how processed foods affect our health, all sorts of things that i was in the dark about. i also watched quite a few food documentaries, thanks to Netflix, such as Fresh, Forks Over Knives, Food Fight, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (just to name a few... i'm kind of addicted). with all of this new, eye-opening information i had gained about food & how closely it is linked with health (the number one killer in the United States, heart disease, is a result of how people eat!), i knew i had to make a change to the way i ate; there was no going back.

for the first week, i followed the Paleo diet (which i now think involves too much meat), cutting out grains & dairy completely (except eggs), as well as any kind of processed food, which includes refined sugar.. (i have discovered, through this process, that sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, is added to just about anything in a box/can/bag of food. argh). i just ate a whole lot of fruits and veggies. and let me tell you, i felt freaking amazing. i had not one stomach issue and i had never felt lighter. it felt so good. once i reintroduced dairy into the picture, i realized that i unfortunately must have some level of lactose intolerance. not enough to where i have to avoid it altogether, but i have started cutting back on it quite a bit (i used to drink milk and eat cheese like it was my job). i have started drinking vanilla coconut milk and it is delicious!

after reading all sorts of articles on the optimum diet//what's good for you/what's bad for you (there are a million different perspectives on nutrition, let me tell you), i decided, for now at least, that i would (mostly!) stick to a whole foods diet with no refined grains (buh-bye white bread, white rice, white pasta, etc.) and minimal amounts of refined sugars (honey and maple syrup are excellent alternatives). oh, and only organic and grass-fed meats (and dairy when possible), and mostly organic fruits and vegetables (i use the dirty dozen food list for reference.. i can't afford to buy everything organic!). i eat way more veggies and fruits than ever before & have only been eating meat once or twice a week (and fish usually once a week). and honestly, it hasn't even been that hard. (except the sugar thing, i have to splurge here and there. i can't live my life entirely without cupcakes, cookies and ice cream. no freaking way.) i feel so.much.better, so much healthier. and - bonus - i've even lost a few pounds. and i swear my skin looks better.

{available here}


i've found the blog 100 Days of Real Food to be an incredible resource. (thanks Beth!) it answered so many of my questions and has a lot of great recipe ideas. i've also been loving Martha Stewart's Whole Living and the blog Deliciously Organic. i've been going to the farmers' market every weekend now, trying to buy as many foods locally as possible, including meats and cheeses. there are so many great reasons why buying local is best! i'm looking into using Door to Door Organics once the farmers' markets close down for the summer.

if you made it to the end of this, i am impressed (and happy!)  there is still so much i've left out... i could go on and on about all this. if you have any questions (or advice!) don't hesitate to email me. i really feel like God has given me a passion for food and nutrition, and i am excited to see where it will lead! i am even considering going back to school to get my Masters in Dietetics once joel becomes a (full-time) professor (i could take courses for free)! expect to see some healthy (but still delicious) recipes from me in the future :)

would love to know your thoughts on nutrition!


blind irish pirate said...

I'm really glad you've posted this information. I've had some thoughts along the same line buit feel overwhelmed by the plethora of information and opinions that circulate... plus the ease of the mainstream food culture in America. So, thank you for the resources.

Dancing Branflake said...

I agree with the comment above- I've always wanted to make a change but everything seems so overwhelming. But this post broke it all down perfectly. Thank you!

Cara said...

I have a bunch of issues so just a few weeks ago I was told by my doctor that I have Candida albicans, and need to change my diet. Now I'm just eating fruits, veggies, meat, and nuts. It's SO awesome but I don't see a HUGE change yet; it'd been two weeks and two days.

This is awesome!

Anna Elder said...

I have strong feelings on the GMO stuff. I don't know if it's the government's job or the companies themselves, but someone should step up and help us get educated in what we're really putting into our bodies. Since I've been diagnosed with lupus I've tried to make a better effort to eat healthier (more fish for the anti-inflammatory properties), etc. and have noticed that I must have a gluten allergy. I've thought about looking into the paleo diet, but I don't want to consume a ton of meat. Especially red. Anyway, glad you posted this. I'm going to check out the other links you've shared. :)

Ester DurĂ£es said...

I just found out your blog but I'm really enjoying reading it, I must keep an eye on it ;)

Krystal said...

i am kind of with you and am going towards this, i think being pregnant makes you think about it a lot too which is good.

Beth @ the city said...

Aw, thanks for the shout out :) I love this post and it's not preachy at all. I've been cheating with my eating habits for a few days since we're on vacation and I feel gross. I need to get back to behaving so I'm not so tired and resist the temptation of processed sugar. Ahh. Thanks for sharing the resources :)

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

You've taken all this fabulous information and put it all into one spot. THANK YOU!

becca said...

yay and yay and yay and yay! I love all this real-food geekery. Let's join forces. Such good writing.

Olivia said...

love this! thanks for the encouragement. I have been gluten intolerant my entire life and it always feels like a burden to me. I've been on a diet the last week of only cooked veggies and protein, for health reasons, and I want to cry everyday. Reading some more of this makes me realize that this is actually really good and healthy for me and should do my best to eat this way all of the time! It's easier when you tell yourself not to eat something as opposed to someone else telling you not to eat something!

Katie @ Chai Thoughts said...

Somehow I missed this post the first go-round. This is awesome. I'm hugely passionate about this issue, and I feel blessed that we live in a region where we have access to amazing local produce farmers, as well as local dairy, meat, and eggs.

Oh, and the GMO thing? I totally agree. Apparently this fall, Californians are voting whether to require GMO labeling on food products. If this passed, it would be a huge step toward real food freedom and some changes at high levels of agriculture. One can hope. :)