My Process of Elimination…
n. A sudden, radical, or complete change.
I have started my own personal revolution… a “whole food” revolution.
I have been preaching the merits of a “whole foods” diet for quite some time. Since I moved back from England, in fact. I ate a fairly whole foods diet while living there, and I never felt healthier than I did during that time. (That was also during my five-year stint as a vegetarian, I might add). I shopped at my little corner market nearly every day, and often went to Borough Market on Saturday mornings. Of course, it probably helped having Jamie Oliver as a mate! He was a wonderful influence. (Check out Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.).
A few years later, shortly after Tristan and I moved in together at the end of 2006, I ceased being a vegetarian. This was a huge change, and one that took some getting used to. Not to mention that I was without a job (because of the move) for about 6 months, and we were on a tight budget. Fancy organic and vegetarian products were out, and cheapo convenience food was in. Yuck. After those first few months, my diet improved again – but I never really made it back to where I wanted to be. Until now.
So, back to present day… I am eating REAL FOOD.
To quote Michael Pollan… “Eat food. Not much. Mostly plants”.
This means that I am eating…
- Whole grains only
- NOTHING white (rice, flour, etc).
- Nothing overly processed.
- No sugar or fake sugars, (honey and 100% maple syrup are okay).
- No junk food, fast food, or convenience food.
- Lots of fresh fruit, veggies, legumes and tubers.
If it comes in a box, bag or wrapping – it needs to have minimal ingredients, contain only ingredients found in my kitchen, and follow the “nothing white” and “no sugar” rules as well.
I am not really eating much that comes in a package these days… except for…
- 100% whole wheat dried pasta
- Popcorn (air-popped, o’ course)
- Triscuits (which only contain three ingredients, even in their reduced fat variety! Yay!)
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
- Larabars (the Cashew Cookie flavor, only has TWO ingredients!)
- Organic/all natural dairy products… milk, real butter, eggs, plain greek yogurt, cheese, etc. (2% or full-fat only, as nonfat products have many fillers and additives).
- Beer and wine (mostly wine).
I am aiming to eat vegetarian for all breakfast and lunches during the week… and am only cooking meat (organic, definitely – and local, when possible) about once a week, and seafood maybe twice a month, for dinner.
Needless to say with all of these “rules”, I am cooking A LOT.
I’m now making my own pizza dough (whole wheat/flax), granola, applesauce, hummus, pancakes and waffles (whole wheat), almond butter, peanut butter, salad dressings… and the list goes on. And all of these things are made without refined sugar! I’m even making homemade dog treats for Lilly!
Tristan is a good sport, and is on board for any and all meals I will be making for us. He is enjoying my “whole foods”, but I know he is not following my lead for breakfast and lunch during the week (which we do not eat together). That’s okay. I’m not trying to change him, though I do want to him to eat healthier for his own good and our future – and am just happy that he enjoys all of my cooking. He is helping in the kitchen more and more, and now prides himself on his herb “mincing” skills.
I consider myself a locavore as well as a flexitarian. (All these fancy made-up words, right?!?). I shop my local Farmers Market religiously, and search out the most local/regional options when shopping at a conventional grocery store. I do buy organic, but would rather buy local. I make my own seltzer water, and am happy to have eliminated all the waste that came with buying liter after liter of seltzer.
Update – I do make exceptions to my rules… I am not a saint. This past December was a bit of a bust on the no white flour/sugar front. I made “real food” holiday treats. And they were delicious. But others did not. And that’s okay too. I’ve yet to master a 100% whole wheat dumpling for Chicken & Dumplings. But mostly, yeah, no white flour, white rice, or refined sugar.
* To learn more about this food movement, and the things that inspired me, check out: