It’s been quite a while since I’ve browsed my copy of “You Can Do It” — a book blogging project I’m doing with Aimee. Rather than do the badges in order, I’m skipping ahead to badge #41: Eat It.
Essentially the idea is to take a closer look at what you are eating, see how it makes you feel, eliminate junk and add more healthy stuff. This isn’t that big of a leap; I’m neurotic about what I eat. I grew up in an athletic home. My mom taught aerobics for ten years, my dad and brother were great swimmers, and I’ve recently dug in my heels to become a triathlete. You feed your body crap, you feel like crap, you swim/bike/run like crap. Einstein, I’m not.
So, knowing how to eat healthy is in my DNA. Doing so habitually, and eating an appropriate serving size, is not.
Fruit-free breakfast that screams: time to go to the grocery. 1 cup of fat free cottage cheese, one Western Alternative bagel, 2 tablespoons of fat free cream cheese: 272 calories, 1 gram of fat, 38 grams of protein.
Specifically the badge suggests you:
1. Food journal for a week to take a nutritional inventory. I like Sparkpeople. It’s free and comprehensive. Also, I like having a buddy. Colleen encouraged me to stop drinking soda and I feel worlds better having made this little change.
2. Follow the guidelines. Know how much you should be eating vs. how much you are eating. Here’s a great tool.
3. Learn serving sizes and how to read nutritional labels. (I am also on alert for high-fructose corn syrup in my food. It seems to be in everything these days and there is nothing about “corn” or “syrup” that is going to make me healthier. In simple terms: the feed corn and other grains to animals to fatten them before slaughter. Old McDonald, I’m not.)
4. Make a meal plan and shop with taste in mind. Fresh produce and spices are easy and healthy ways to make your meals much tastier. This is an area where I need to change; I go to the market about once a week and never have enough produce in the fridge. With my new job, I’ll walk past the market each way everyday and I hope this helps nudge me to be different. Also, I’m getting more involved with the Phoenix Farmers’ Market.
I also figure a great way to have ready access to fresh produce is getting off my lazy duff and gardening. I’ve lamented countless times how my patio garden is tiny and gets the wrong sunlight and a dozen other reasons why it won’t work to grow a thing. However, the main reason nothing has grown is because I haven’t been here long enough to keep it watered and pay it enough attention. And frankly, I want a magic garden too! This resource for Phoenix gardeners and my new schedule are giving me hope this will change.
Peter Hoffman was recently interviewed in Bon Appetit. Hoffman is the owner of several restaurants in New York City and is a champion of buying local, supporting farmers’ markets and eating healthy food. A bit I enjoyed, while we’re on the topic:
Bon Appetit: Why should Americans support local farmers’ markets?
PH: Buying from local farmers is about getting off the grid — not the power grid, but the food-system grid. Money stays local, our outlying regions can remain agriculturally productive, and the landscape is preserved. The food tastes better because it hasn’t traveled as far and is fresher.
Bon Appetit: If someone says to you ‘I don’t shop at farmers’ markets because they’re too expensive,’ how do you respond?
PH: Get with it. That is the real cost of food. Vote with your fork and your belly, and support the opportunity to buy directly from farmers — and eat better food by buying from them.
Getting with it, Peter.