So last night I finally did something people had been telling me for quite some time that I ought to do, but I just hadn't found a space of time in which to do it. I watched this little documentary on Netflix called "Forks over Knives". For those not familiar with the film, it centers around two doctors (both of whom are now in their 70s) who were basically the pioneers in thinking that eating meat is not actually all that good for you, and that all of the processed foods in the modern American diet are killing us.
I know you've heard that and rolled your eyes at it before, but they've got some pretty surprising research studies to back it up. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I was pretty convinced... convinced enough, at least, to give it a go.
So for at least the next week (and possibly longer, unless I decide there are no measurable differences in how I feel), I'm going to be trying something different with the way we eat and prepare meals around here. Here are the basics:
*My primary objective is to cut out processed foods. By "processed foods" I mean "things with ingredients on the label that I can't readily identify". Example: I know what "milk" is. I know what "chicken" is. I know what "soybeans" look like. I could probably draw you a rough sketch of any of the above. I do not, however, know how to draw a "polysorbate 80". The rule of thumb is basically not to eat anything with ingredients that didn't exist when my grandparents were children.
*I'm not cutting out meat entirely, but I am reducing quantities and sticking to chicken, fish and maybe the occasional pork (we were never really into red meat anyway). After I've exhausted the current stock on hand, I'm going to look into getting organic meat and see how much it will hurt my wallet.
*Another thing I'm cutting way back on is dairy. This saddens me greatly, because cheese is one of my favorite things, but the documentary also made a pretty convincing argument that casein, one of the major proteins in dairy products, makes your risk for certain cancers go through the roof. This gives me pause, because apparently there is more of a history of cancer in my family than anyone ever really acknowledged before my mom was found to have colon cancer in 2006. This, in fact, seems to be moderately common on her side of the family. It's on my list of things to avoid... at least until I'm 50 or so. My mom said chemo apparently works really well for skipping over that whole menopause thing.
*The only thing I've so far decided to eliminate entirely that I would have considered a "staple" item two days ago is Diet Coke. I have, in fact, eliminated any beverages with any sort of chemicals and/or artificial sweeteners in them, particularly aspartame. So I've been drinking lots of water, and trying to relearn the art of making my own flavored water at home, which is something I picked up in Mexico.
*What we are still eating is a lot of fruits and vegetables, along with rice, quinoa, beans, and stuff like this. And I personally have seen some success with this sort of eating before. When I was pregnant I pretty much only wanted to eat fruit (and McDonald's chicken nuggets, for some reason), and I lost 45 pounds while I was pregnant. Yes, that's right. LOST 45 pounds. You read it correctly. My doctor was initially very concerned and did a lot of careful measuring and monitoring of both of us, and finally threw up her hands and said, "You're getting smaller, he's getting bigger... all I can figure is that he's eating you! But you're both healthy so I guess we'll let it slide." So I know it works, my question is if I sustain it without having a growing human inside me. I guess we shall see.
Dinner tonight shall consist of teriyaki chicken (mostly for Damian, because he will have to be eased into this more gradually), couscous, and this amazing fruit salad I have constructed, along with home-made lemon-flavored water (well, I didn't make the water or the lemons, but I did artfully combine the two). I may put up pictures later if it's particularly epic. The caffeine deprivation headache is already beginning though, and based on the events of Friday tomorrow is likely to be a MONDAY. In all capital letters like that. So we'll see if I make it through or if I cave and run across to 7-11 for a caffeine jolt.