Did you hear about the nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds on a diet of twinkies and other hostess cake products? It's true. He ate one cake every 4 hours (and veggies at the dinner table so the kids didn't stage a coup over their own dinners).
He wanted to prove a point, which he did nicely: Diet is about simple math. Calories in vs calories out.
Sure, we can complicate things by talking about cholesterol, fat content, which foods turn to fat faster than which other foods. But at the end of the day, we need to consume less calories than we eat.
A couple years ago, we embarked on a journey that put this concept to the test. We started caring about the quality of food that went into our mouths. And we stopped caring about fat, sugar, etc. We read a couple of excellent books on the subject, the last sharing the title of this blog post. The result? We follow a few very basic "food rules" most of the time. Here are a few:
1. We read labels and steer clear of food with ingredients we cannot pronounce, or ingredients that our grandmothers have never heard of.
2. We eliminate, or try to, foods with hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.
3. We make whole, grown food the core of our diet.
4. We eat meat rarely, if ever, and if we do, we try to eat grass fed meat (this is simple to do in NL, as all meat is grass fed)
What does this mean for our cooking and eating habits?
1. We make most things from scratch. Among the staples: homemade bread (surprisingly easy), sauces, and soups.
2. We don't eat many packaged and processed foods.
3. We rarely eat out.
4. We use real butter, real sugar, lots of carbs, and we don't care.
What has this meant for our waistlines?
1. We have lost weight and are now to the point where our bodies are settled in a healthy weight zone.
2. We hardly ever weigh ourselves. Our bodies tell us if we have eaten something not so great.
3. We run a lot and enjoy it.
4. We are in the best shape of our lives.
We do not always follow these rules. We are not unrealistic in our expectations, nor are we hypocritical in our promotion of these rules. We have kids, and we have weaknesses. We all love cereal, which is probably one of the most processed foods out there. We are not yet at the point to give it up, so we have been slowly decreasing the amount we eat and replacing it with more whole food options. And packaged foods are so easy to bring on road trips. So we make them treats, not the norm, and we read labels. I'm the crazy lady in the cracker aisle who's there for 10 minutes to choose one box. Oh, and we love love sweets. So...we bake a lot. But we're still healthy and happy, and homemade cookies are infinitely better than store bought. Just saying.
Yes, it takes more time to cook. Yes, it takes more planning to make lunches. But if something is important to you, it's always possible to make the time to make it happen.