Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eat to live, don't live to eat....

The more I talk with patients about eating and 'dieting' the more I am finding that most people are living to eat.  That shouldn't be why we eat.  We should be 'eating to live'.  Food is fuel for our bodies just like gas is fuel for our vehicles.  One thing I always talk about is not skipping breakfast.  Why is that?  Breakfast is two words and when you divide it up it's break -  fast.  You wouldn't drive a car on empty and you shouldn't 'drive' your body on an empty stomach either.  I also go over how to 'divide up' their plates.  So, why is this so important?

While you are sleeping, your body is in a state of 'fasting'.  You need to 'rev' it back up for the day!  Without something in your stomach in the morning, it is still in a state of 'fasting' and until you put something with carbohydrates AND protein in it, it will still be in a fasting mode until you do.  You should eat within one hour of waking up.  If you wait until lunch time, your body continues to fast and it knows it is 'starving' all that time and slows the metabolism down and will 'store' the fuel that it takes in to 'conserve' it's fuel that it takes in.  This actually leads to weight GAIN!!  Have you ever seen really thin people eat?  They eat at least every 3-4 hours!!  They eat small, frequent meals that consist of carbohydrates and proteins but HEALTHY carbohydrates and proteins such as fruits and vegetables with lean meats, cheese, or nuts.

How do you divide up your plate though?  The above photo I am always demonstrating to patients in my office.  I think I do this at least 10 times a day!  One half of your plate should be healthy vegetables.  The other half should be divided in half again.  Those two halves should be your carbohydrate serving and your protein serving for that meal (not your snacks).  A simple vegetable portion is typically one cup.  A protein serving is 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards unless it is a fish filet like a whiting filet or similar (salmon is like steak - deck of cards) then it is the size of a checkbook).  A carbohydrate serving is the size of a baseball, cut in half.  A fat is about the size of your the end of your thumb (1 tbsp).  BUT, what your put on your plate is just as important as your serving sizes.

So, how do I eat?  Do I practice what I preach?  Yes, most definitely!!  I have given up most all processed foods several years ago.  I'm allergic to most of what is in them.  Breakfast for me is often grits with cheese or a scrambled egg with vegetables, or even a one minute flax seed/almond flour 'biscuit' with a scrambled egg and maybe a piece of fruit.  I often have a snack that is usually a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts with some fruit or a container of Greek Yogurt (usually Chobani or Oiko's).  Lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before or a roast beef salad that I get special made from Subway and I use my own dressing.  I usually have another snack in the afternoon of either a handful of Glutino's pretzels (gluten and rice free!) and some cheese.  Beverages of the day is either water, Propel water, Crystal Lite Pure (no artificial coloring or flavorings!), or Sobe Life Water or Coconut Water (only if it has Stevia sweetener).  I drink at least 40 ounces of water daily.  I RARELY eat fried foods at all and if I do, it's done at home usually with grapeseed oil or flax seed oil (I'm allergic to olives).  My one vice continues to be coffee.  I'm working on giving that up!!

Dinner is most often cooked at home.  It often gets a bit 'unusual' with us at home due to my allergies.  Many of my friends refuse to eat with us anymore as they often are 'afraid' to try 'new' things (though I wouldn't do that to them!).  We do try new and interesting things all the time but often eat vegetarian dishes!  We do use goat, alligator, frog legs, shark, swordfish, and more.  When you are allergic to the 'typical' dishes like chicken, turkey, and pork, you have to find different things to try.  Goat is a delicacy in Eastern countries, Gator is eaten consistently in Florida as well as Frog legs and the shark and swordfish is served world wide.  I grew up with a father who hunted and fished and was exposed to trying new things all the time.  My eldest daughter makes the best gator bites around!!  You wound never even know it was gator!!  We always have a wonderful 'green' of some type and we often serve 'Sunchokes' for our 'starch' (which isn't a starch at all!).  Our pasta is actually gluten and rice free and we use quinoa in place of rice.  My eldest daughter came up with a version of 'dirty rice' but with quinoa that is absolutely wonderful (and we often leave out any meat all all)!!  I'm still trying to get her to write it down for me so I can post it!!  It's quite healthy with very little 'starch' in it compared to rice and has protein in it!!  Yum!!  If we eat out, it is only at very specific restaurants that I 'know' will 'work' with me on ensuring that my meal is free of any allergens that will make me ill.  That is really tough if we travel.

So, what about dessert?  Do we eat dessert?  Absolutely!  But, I can't eat just anything!  No, that would just make me sick.  We often do fruit salads or we make something that is gluten free from scratch.  My youngest daughter has found a FANTASTIC gluten free chocolate souffle' that is absolutely DIVINE!!  And, it's overall pretty healthy and has NO FLOUR!  I will have to post that when she makes it again!!  She made it for me the first time on mother's day.  I was in heaven!  We do make 'cake' but it is made from gluten free flours that include 'bean' flours!!  These flours are full of protein!  You really can't even eat much as it fills you up!  We often 'fill' these cakes with my homemade jams!  So good!  The other thing is that we have 'converted' many recipes to gluten and rice free.  Over this holiday season, I will begin posting some of them.  One of my favorites is my sweet potato pie ramekins!!  They are absolutely fabulous!!  You would never even know they are gluten free!!  Another is my chocolate raspberry cheesecake!!  Just heavenly!!  Now that I have your mouth watering, you can see that eating healthy doesn't have to be boring!  We eat quite flavorful dishes full of fresh ingredients and a great variety of interesting things.  We eat well, we eat healthy and I'm still mistaken for my age!!  I love it!  So, my point in this post?  You CAN eat healthy, live happy, and be have flavorful foods despite allergies!!  I have some of the worst allergies around and we eat quite well!!  Again, 'Eat to live, don't live to eat'.....

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