Totally Non-Judgmental Happy Foodie

Last week I added a new category to my blog.  Rants.  I questioned whether to add it, as it draws attention to the fact that my pendulum sometimes swings farther than I would like it to.  My goal here is to seek all things peaceful, balanced, whole and precious.  Then again, my blog is titled WholeyJeans. (Someday I will blog about the misspelling, but I digress).  While ranting may not be considered peaceful or precious, it is a part of me on my road to balance, and as such, a part of the whole me.  And so the category was created.

The comment by insearchofitall, in which she concluded, “My sister has become a food fanatic and we can no longer share a meal. So sad. I’ll take the Buddhist path. All things in moderation. Pass the French rolls please” really got me thinking.  My pendulum began to swing back, and I felt the need to post a response to my own blog.

I am fascinated by diets of all sorts.  Food documentaries captivate me.  Nutrition arguments entice me.  Everyone has the answer, and in my quest for balance, I want to hear it and judge for myself.  Please note that I use the word ‘diet’ in both senses of the word; weight-loss system and way of eating.

Here are are some of my findings:

  • waterEvery diet says that water is good.  It doesn’t matter if you’re detoxing, fasting, gorging on protein, or cutting fat.  Water is good.  Drink it.  It is the stuff of life.  It is the fountain of youth.  It is also the easiest way to fit in a few extra steps daily.  Drinking water = trips to the bathroom.  Nice, right?
  • The other thing that every diet tells you to eat is vegetables.  There are different levels of vegetables depending on sugars, fiber, and nutrient density.  Everyone agrees green leafy veggies are a go.  Add a rainbow of vegetables to that, and you’re going to find a pot of gold at the end.
  • Most diet programs include fruit.  Some encourage it more than others.  Again, there is that sugar/fiber/nutrient thing.  Fruits, like vegetables, are plants, but tend to contain more sugars.  Sugar is a four-letter word.  Okay, it’s five, but you know what I mean.  This is why some opinions begin to part at this juncture.  However, everyone seems to agree berries are the most virtuous of fruits.
  • Let me back up the sugar truck a few meters.  We have a sugar for everyone!  There are slow sugars, fast sugars, artificial sugars, processed sugars, refined sugars, and natural sugars.  There are sugar crashes, sugar rushes, sugar addictions, sugar cravings, and sugar daddies.  Did I say sugar is a four-letter word?  It is also an eleven-letter word.  Unavoidable.  Carbohydrates are sugar, and they are found in vegetables and fruit.  Oh!  So sugar is good?  See what I mean?  How is the average nosher supposed to decipher all this stuff?

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  • The problem with vegetables is that everyone wants to doctor them up with butter, margarine, oils, cheeses, dressings and gravies.  If you can eat your vegetables naked, you will reap their full benefit and flavor.  I mean go ahead and wear clothes if you want, but don’t put anything on your vegetables.
  • Legumes are good, right?  Opinions are mixed.  Legumes are a plant, so vegans love their protein content.  How could you possibly feel guilty eating a bowl of lentil soup?  Well, legumes are full of carbohydrates, and low-carb eaters aren’t a fan.  Please note that cocoa beans are not legumes.  I know.  Bummer.
  • Is dairy the dreaded animal secretion, or a vital food for healthy bones?  It depends on who you’re listening to.  There are different beliefs on this, and many options for those who decide against dairy.
  • But if you can stand the heat, head into the kitchen to talk about meat.  People are passionate about their animal protein.  Arguments range from protecting the planet to regaining your health, restoring the food chain, and compassion for life.  Both sides of any discussion have points for each of these values, and will fight, seemingly to the death, to defend them.

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All of the diet plans I have ever read say that you have finally found the last diet you will ever need.  Search ‘last diet’ and Google will find no less than 233,000,000 results for you.  Using this as a guide, you should have no problem eating healthy until the day you die.  And in the end, you will die, and I guess whatever diet you are eating that day will be your last.

Look, I’m just an average girl trying to eat reasonably well.  I try to know what is behind what I put in my body, and make my choices from there.  Of course I want to do better.  I want to do a lot of things better.  Cheers to that, eh?  Recently our temperatures have dipped, with the windchill bringing dangerously cold weather.  I am craving refined carbs like there is no tomorrow, and since I guess there might not be, I go ahead and indulge a bit without guilt.

Unless you are a food priest of this or that nutritional following, you do not have all the answers.  I like to live my life like that; not having all the answers.  When you live without all the answers, you are always questioning, always learning.  I don’t want to find the last diet I will ever need.  I want to taste new things and try new combinations, dining with family, drinking with friends.  I want to live, love and laugh with all my other *totally non-judgmental happy foodie friends.

Bon Appetit!

*Thanks for the title idea, Mary!

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21 thoughts on “Totally Non-Judgmental Happy Foodie

  1. Jean, if this was a rant, it was a very nice rant 🙂 I agree with you on the issue of food. While I try to eat a certain way at home for my health, I don’t make a big deal out of it when I’m out and eat what I can. What bothers me is that people who know I am a vegetarian most of the time think they get to lecture me on how bad it is for me. I’ve dropped friends because I was tired of the judgmental lectures, that’s not how you treat friends. How about a piece of cheesecake (a pleasure I have less than once a year) and a cup of tea now?

    1. This was less of a rant and more of a peaceful response to my first rant. Food is such a personal thing. I don’t know why it is anyone else’s business what I’m eating, how much weight I’ve lost or how I’ve done it.

      Now, I think I will finish my tea! Hey, where’s my cheesecake? (yum)

  2. Here-here, Jean! As I approached fifty a few years ago, (still carrying around 30 pounds of “baby fat” I’d had with me for 18 years), I put my foot down – NO! Gaining another 10 -30 pounds was NOT inevitable as I aged, not for me! Instead, I went through the long and painful process of re-learning how to eat. I refuse to use the word “diet.” Diets are things you go on and go off. It took about a year, but I did learn eat better and exercise and lost those 30 pounds. I’ve kept them off for years and have become more of a happy foodie than I was before! It’s all about quality, not quantity now. I eat a very health “diet,” lots of veggies, but I also eat meat and carbs and a daily glass of wine too. I don’t deny myself anything, but it’s surprising how little junk food I crave these days. When I have dessert, it’s high quality stuff and worth every calorie! Do I eat less than I used to? Oh yeah. Do I exercise more? Yup. But my life is much more balanced now. Food is in it’s proper place.

    Thanks for the rant!

    1. I lost a lot of weight when I was mid 40s. When I hit 50, something “sprang” and I have a whole new body to deal with. When food is in its proper place I feel balanced. I am sure craving those carbs right now, though. It’s cold and my joints ache and I’m in a slump. It happens. This too shall pass. Self-love, a warm blanket and a good book ought to help 😉

      1. OR . . . I could run a couple errands, get caught in a blizzard and shovel when I get back! LOL Now that that is done, I think I should put on a pot of tea!

  3. I should diet….too much discipline! I eat what I like and I try to not eat processed foods, from scratch doesn’t take that much longer. If you put a nice steak in front of me, I will savor it, but that’s not what I eat every day. Flour that’s not bleached and produce that didn’t come from Mexico, those things I pay extra attention to. I can’t help that I like a good potato chip, and I could never ever give up pasta. Everything in moderation, that still works, right?

  4. Ohh … you have definately stirred some passion here. No quickie comments so far. Soo … I had better not be the first! lol. (By the way, I have always assumed that WholeyJeans was more in the way of…the Whole you…but if you come out with a blog story then that’ll be cool to read/)

    At any rate, parts of this blog post made me laugh (more water = more trips to the bathroom = most steps! The bazillion diet plans is not just true..but funny.), and part made me think of my eating habits too.

    Now, some will tell you I am a vegetarian. Not true. I eat meat…just not a lot of it. Believe it or not, my low meat / high veggie & fruit eating stems not from health reasons … nor political/morality issues … nor the need to feel food snobbish. Basically, as I mentioned before, I think I am one of those rare ones who actually love veggies. Mmmmmm.

    I have had trouble at times getting enough protein intake..esp when I started working out with a personal trainer at the gym…he wanted me to get in 50% of proteins in my meals. Ack…that was hard. I soon learned about calories in = calories out … and that trying to get high value calories is what I wanted.

    Nevertheless … while the things I learnt might be true (or not) … what was true was that it was taking wayyyy too much time counting and logging and planning meals. I know some people have to do that. But I decided that I was not over weight…was not looking to become a super athelete … all I really wanted was to exercise and eat relatively okay … and I think I already had been … so stopped what I was doing.

    I don’t overindulge, but neither do I deny myself things. I figure, if I want a burger … if I want an ice cream … if I want a carrot or piece of chocolate or french fry, then so long as I don’t overdo anything I am ok.

    I think what really drove that home for me is one day I was reading this artical about how some olympic athelete was on a restrictive diet. He went on and on about how healthy it was and how good it was for him…it was VERY restrictive. He said he was going to stay away from the McDonald’s in the Olympic Village as if he ate one of the burgers it upset his system and he didn’t want that to happen. And I was thinking, “REALLY?!?!?!” You are soooooo in shape and soooooo healthy … and can lift or run or swim or whatever to superhuman levels … but a BURGER will take you out?!?!?!?

    So now I eat what I like … just in moderation.

    (Ack…this comment was wayyyyyyyyy too rambly.)

    1. So a burger was Superman’s kryptonite, huh? Who knew? You have a very interesting nutritional history! I think to be in top form it has to either be your only hobby or your profession. Me? I have way too many other things to do. But I do pay attention to portion sizes and have a pretty good idea of the calories I’m eating.

      Because I eat less meat, I take an iron tab. My iron is not low, but it is often too low to give blood. Which means that while I’m not anemic, I would be after giving blood until I built it back up again. So yes, I take iron for the sole purpose of donating my blood.

      I can’t wait for gardening season again. Fresh veggies!! You can’t get any fresher than walking out the back door and practically eating right off the plant!

      1. Nods about iron … and of course, when I am having my period I go low on iron…I can normally tell because those are the times when I crave protein nod nods…but I love love brocolli … which is high in iron…but I take supplements too.

        What kind of veggies do you have in your garden?

      2. Tomatoes are my favorite from the garden. I also like kale, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, radish, leaf lettuces, spinach, green peppers, jalapenos, bunching onions . . . I think that’s about it. It’s difficult with the dogs. I have to find somewhere they won’t play or pee!

      3. Ohh….when I had dogs and was trying to grow cucumbers they would eat them just as they were getting bigger than my finger! I now mostly have herbs…but have done elephant garlic, zuchinni, tomatoes, etc…and oh…bell peppers too. And I tried lettuce one year but that did not work out as it was too much in the sun.

      4. I forgot that we found a big cucumber half eaten in the yard. Took them off to the park, and when the little girl-dog went swimming, she came out and threw it all up. That’s how we figured out who ate it. BUT the big boy-dog dug up all my carrots last year and at them! I’ve heard of gardeners putting up deer fences or rabbit fences. I think I need a dog fence!

  5. That is a subject that rocks more boats than almost any other. I liked what you have to say about it. I would have eaten anything to have my sister sit at a meal with me. I just never get it “right” enough. I honestly don’t eat french rolls right now but that doesn’t mean I won’t if the occasion arises. Rants are good. I’m afraid of them because I’m afraid of confrontation. And I’m trying to heal. Food is a big trigger for most people. There is no right or wrong answer, I think, only different. Please continue to be whole. That’s the most important thing in the universe.

    1. It is pretty awesome to see how much conversation this stimulates. The sister story really tugs at my heartstrings. I read a post once — and I wish I could find it again — it was a recipe called “guilt free eggs benedict.” The first comment attacked her about how could she eat eggs guilt-free when the chickens were being mistreated. Each comment got more confrontational than the one before it. It turned into who was harming the earth more, vegetarians or omnivores. The statements were hateful! In between it all, were a couple of people saying how the recipe looked good. It was complete chaos and loathing. It was the first time I realized how passionate we were all becoming about what we eat and why.

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