Thursday 26 July 2012

Confessions of a Food Nazi

I think a theme that is already emerging from this blog is the idea of a "continuum." There is no "end point" along this trajectory that is my relationship with food. I'm a food lover, foodie, food snob, epicurean - however you choose to refer to someone who derives the greatest pleasure from a stellar meal shared with family or friends around the table. It never was simply fuel for me, and I can't see ever getting to that point. However, I also try to embody the simple principle of "know better, do better" in all areas of my life, thus it is with the food choices I now make. And yes, although I do "know better," sometimes I choose to indulge in something that I know full and well isn't the healthiest choice - or a healthy choice at all.
The impact those choices have on me - psychologically, physiologically - continue to be learning opportunities for me. Only when I know the effect can I make an informed decision the next time I am faced with that choice, only then can I really know if eating something that doesn't contribute to my physiological well-being is worth it.

Some recent examples of "learning opportunities":

One S'more: made with a graham cracker (totally wheat filled) and grocery store marshmallow that was roasted until golden on the outside, molten in the middle. I sandwiched it with a square of premium Swiss dark chocolate. The context was sitting around the fire in my neighbors' yard during a beautiful summer night, making S'mores for the kids. Was it worth it? Absolutely, but one was enough. I suffered no ill effect of this, aside from sticky fingers. And sharing that memory with my children was worth it.

Dairy Queen ice-cream cake: this was served last week at work to mark the departure of one of our team members. Normally I would not be tempted, but last week I think the anticipation of the approaching Whole30 led me to a "I should have this now because I won't be able to in ten days" mindset. (Note to self: get over this!) I even had a small second piece. Was it worth it? Nope, and I won't do it again. Within an hour I was bloated and felt like someone had put a ball of plastic in my stomach. My dear husband suggested it might be a reaction to dairy, but having read the list of ingredients, I'm thinking it more likely to be the preservatives and chemicals. What the hell are mono and diglycerides, potassium sorbate, dextrin, sodium phosphate and disodium phosphate? Last time I made ice cream, I didn't need any of that stuff. Ugh.

Chorizo and chicken empanada plus a ginger cookie: an empanada is a type of meat pie and I ate it as recently as today at lunch...yup, because I'm not Whole30ing yet, right? The filling was great - spicy, flavorful, moist - and I didn't eat the thicker parts of the pastry around it at all, but even as I was eating it I was thinking, Totally not worth it. I am getting no added enjoyment from the shell the filling is in - zero. And then I ate the cookie. Choosing it was one of those what the hell moments we all have. My colleagues had ordered before me and they ordered desserts, so I wanted one too. Did I enjoy it? The first bite was good. I should have given up then and had a square of dark chocolate when I returned to work. Did I? Nope. So within an hour I was back at my desk feeling five pounds heavier and just kind of greasy. Won't be doing that again!

As Oprah says, some things I know for sure. What I know for sure is that a square of this, on the other hand, would have been totally worth it:

So although Leanne fondly refers to me as the Food Nazi, I am a total chocoholic far from perfect and I don't think my food choices will enable me to ever neatly fit into a box, be it Paleo or Primal. However, I have experienced first hand the well-being that comes from eliminating wheat, grains, added sugars, preservatives etc. (I'll save those details for another post). And I love that feeling. I have easily gone a month+ outside of a Whole30 with none of that stuff and experienced true delight in my food and the way I feel without any sense of sacrifice. How is that for win-win?

I'd be interested in hearing what foods you think are worth it, and why. Leave a comment below.

1 comment:

  1. You're such a rock star, Nicole. :) So excited we're doing this at the same time again - I just can't wait for you to start posting recipes!!