Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eating Healthy

Yesterday one of my coworkers asked me where to go to get lunch. I bring leftovers almost everyday so I don't know why he asked me (I suppose I was just there). Then he said he'd want something healthy. And said he should go to the sandwich place near by. He looked at me oddly like I had said something crazy. But then I asked what he meant by that because I remember a conversation I overheard a year or two ago in in law school . . .

I was checking my email, waiting for class to begin, and eavesdropping on two men in my class. (I like eavesdropping) One was a tall, incredibly lanky guy who looked like a classic New Englander and the other was a husky frat guy from the upper midwest. And I found this conversation fascinating to over hear because I could not imagine that either of them cared about healthy food but that's what they were talking about.

They were talking about cashews (or maybe pistachios) I think and they said they weren't healthy. In my head I thought they were crazy since nuts are totally healthy, much more so than soda, oreos, or low-fat Doritos. They agreed on nuts cashews (or pistachios) being unhealthy and said it was because they had too many calories. I was thinking "no duh" that's the point of nuts they have all the nutrition needed for a little seed to start growing. But high calorie doesn't mean unhealthy. (While I am not a fan of rampant weight gain in myself.* I do not think high calorie food are unhealthy.)

Bacon is healthy!
By the why, Walker Bros

I guess I would call myself a member of the Michael Pollan school of thought regarding healthy food--traditional foods are healthy (regardless of calorie count) and mass produced industrial foods (like low fat salad dressing) are not. If you're interested in this concept I would read Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto I read it in college and I finished it before returning it to the library.

To illustrate! To me these things are healthy: homemade fruit pies; butter, bread, fruit, vegetables, cheese, olives, avocados, bacon, ham, crispy chicken skin, &c. I think these things are unhealthy: oreos, margarine, sandwich bread from the store (one of my favorite things about college was that I could have white bread and margarine at every meal), Doritos, Diet Coke, low-fat almost anything, &c.

On some of the other blogs I read, the bloggers talk about clean eating and I believe that most of them understand it to mean something very similar to what I've described thought it seems like they always choose lower fat options than I would. I'm at a healthy body weight right now and otherwise living a high stress life so I need to have joy where I can find it--like on the outside of a roasted chicken.

I do avoid certain delicious food that are generally healthy because of my specific health concerns. (I have alluded to this in my recipes where I say butter or olive oil.) I have high cholesterol (just the bad kind) and I do not want to take medication for it since I take so much for my allergies and asthma so I avoid butter and other high cholesterol foods.  But, just because its bad for me, I don't think it's bad for everyone. And, fat itself isn't bad since you need some to insulate your neurons and held absorb vitamins.

I'm interested to hear why you guys think of as being "healthy!" It had never occurred to me that there was such a range of opinion about this before a year or so ago.

*Mr. Handsome must be the skinniest man alive and I try so hard to get him to gain some weight to no avail. I feel like Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat when we're out in public together.


  1. All things in moderation, right? Many of my friends are doing versions of paleo or "clean" eating (Whole30 seems to be the diet of choice right now). I know that I would have difficulty staying on one of these diets long-term, and I would fall off the wagon hard.

    1. The whole 30 seems hard I would not do that. I don't think that avoiding processed foods is too hard too keep up with if you have time to cook.

  2. i agree, you are at a healthy weight - and look great! my sister said this to me when i was about 15 year old (and of course i didn't listen to her): just *maintain* your weight. i've gained and lost the same 10-30 lbs for so many years now :-(

    circling dates on the calender (or putting off holiday card photos like i have this year - because i'm too chubby !!) doesn't work. what does work is a lifestyle that is in day out. what has worked for me - and i stress FOR ME is eating whole foods. the less processed, the better. the fewer ingredients, the better. i also find that when i eat processed sugar, i want more. it's like a gateway drug !! when i don't eat sugar at all, i don't miss it or crave it.

    it's tough though - because eating the way that makes me feel best (whole grains, fruit, veggies, legumes - little/no dairy or meat if left to my own devices) is tough when you are in company or in a family...or going out to eat.

    i'm not where i want to be right now weight (or health) wise, but i'm trying to be nice to myself and coax my body back to where i'd like it to be. my goal is to eat the way that makes me feel best 80% of the time. how's that for a lengthy response?!!

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    2. Thank you for your kind words!

      I worry because I've put on between 5 and 10 pounds since high school (my weight fluctuates seasonly so I'm not sure how much I've actually put on). So I am just worried that I'll keep putting on weight slowly and then I'll have health problems.

      What I try to do is focus on being healthy and not on my weight or how I think I look. If I exercise and eat a healthy amount of healthy whole foods but I weight a lot then that's okay because healthy is what matters. I tell myself that skinny people who sit around all day and only eat junk food are less healthy than fat people who exercise and eat right. (No offense meant to those skinny people who can eat junky food and sit around all day and stay super skinny.) I still eat a lot junk food though. : /

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