Foodie Confessions

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ever since a few years ago when I developed food allergies, I became more conscious about the foods Balazs and I eat. We started a routine of buying fresh products which meant minimalizing canned foods or any type of products that have an incredibly long date of expiry.

A few months ago I read an article about hidden sugars, salt and all the unpronounceable ingredients that hide in many healthy-labelled products and my head started to spin, especially when I noticed how much sugar a little box of (healthy) juice has. To add to it all, after reading a few different books about eating habits and recently watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, I’m confused! For example the documentary talks about how all animal-based products are not good for us and we should go with only a plant-based plan, while many people believe that we need meat (animal-proteins) to maintain healthy living. Also, some say that by cutting dairy out of our diet, we will feel better, more balanced and healthier.

So in a pursuit of the right path, I’d like to start a little series on exPress-o called Foodie Confessions. Let’s talk honestly about what we eat and what we believe in when it comes to food. Should we go organic, eat everything we want just balance it out, let our cravings determine our eating habits, eat raw or should we try making changes? Drastic or not – it’s always good to have someone to talk about things like that, right?

So let’s start with the simplest questions: who are you? Are you a vegetarian, vegan, do you eat meat regularly or just whenever you crave it? How about dairy, sugar and processed foods? (I am a meat eater who eats meat or fish once or twice a week but not always. I eat yogurts but only drink homemade almond milk). You? xo

(Photos via Organized Clutter, The Daily Muse and by Karen Wise. Thanks for the documentary recommendation, Rebecca)

29 comments:

erin said...

I know what you mean. I find all the 'what to eat, what not to eat, what's healthy, what to avoid' debates all too confusing.
When I was younger I used to suffer from constant headaches, I notice as I got older and started cooking fresh foods for myself that the headaches lessened. Could be a coincidence, something I just grew out of, but I feel like there is a connection only because I never grew out of teenage acne.
I've also recently developed an intolerance to lactose. Cutting dairy out of my life has proved to be a challenge for me. (I love cheese and yogurt!)

Rebecca said...

There is so much debate about what is healthy for us. I have read about and tried the Paleo diet (cuts out a lot of stuff, like grains, dairy, high-sodium, processed food...leaves you with meat, veggies, and fruits). I felt that it worked well in that I lost some weight quickly, but I HATED eating (so maybe that's why I lost weight). Meals were bland and predictable. That could be mostly my fault, but I don't think I'll ever completely cut out dairy again.

As of now, I am a firm believer in 'everything in moderation'. Since the nutritionists seem to change thier minds every few years about whats healthy and whats not (for instance, whole grain...is it REALLY the cure all for your heart???), I'm just gonna eat the things I like, and make sure I'm not overloading on any one thing.

Renee, voice of The Blonde Muse said...

I eat one time a week meat and one time a week fish, the rest of the week I am a vegan. No diary, no bread because my stomach hurts after eating these products. The same with meat, but I really like to eat it so I'm doing it anyway.

katie said...

I know what you mean! It seems like there is always something we're doing "wrong" and it can be really frustrating to know where to draw the line. I've been a vegetarian for 16 years. I eat most dairy (I don't drink milk) and eggs and I try to buy organic when I can, but financially it can be tough. I try to buy organic when it comes to the dirty dozen or whatever number we're up to now. This year I've really tried to cut out/down on carbs, sugar and alcohol. It can be hard when you have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I do feel a lot better for it and I also noticed as a benefit my skin looks a lot better and clearer.

It can be a lot of work to eat healthy.

One fad that bugs me is fasting/detox juice diets. I think people are missing out on all the good things by juicing, such as fiber. Plus our liver is a super efficient, smart and sophisticated organ and works better than any juice detox. I'll stop ranting now! :)

LyddieGal said...

I have to say I pretty much eat what I want and try not to get too caught up in any specific diet. All things in moderation are fine. I love dairy, I don't want to cut it out of my life. Yes, there is a ton of sugar in fruit, but it's natural sugar, not like eating candy!

Merry Meri said...

I too am an "everything in moderation" girl. I enjoy carbs, veggies, meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol and even processed foods on a regular basis, but I keep a very careful eye on how much and how often. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I don't think balanced, fresh meals got as much focus as whatever was quick, convenient and tasty. Now as an adult I try to avoid too much pre-packaged food and I keep full with fruits and veggies. Fast food and diet soda have become "treats". My bigger issue is portion control, it's not what I'm eating but how much (too much!)

Laura Bear said...

SUCh a great post. I am with you on this. I am like Merry Meri in the "everything in moderation" camp. I eat meat but we also have vegetarian at least 3 nights a week. I love milk and cheese, so that is just not going anywhere. I try to eat less sugar and only indulge on candy once in a while.... I also think that some fruits and veggies are very important to have organic, while others do not make a huge difference. I thought this was somewhat interesting in regards to organic...
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/13-things-you-didnt-know-about-organic-food/

:) Fun series... looking forward to it!

tiffany said...

so glad to see you opening up a conversation on this! i have been vegan for almost 11 years and a very conscious purchaser of food based on it's ingredients for even longer. i buy organic for two reasons: 1. it's better for the planet, less chemicals in the ground is better for all of us and 2. for healthier eating, less chemicals in the body = healthier body, a win win. (; although i love that eating vegan has been proven over and over to be a superior diet for health and longevity, i am vegan 100% for animal rights. i cannot justify animal cruelty so that i might eat a pork chop or steak or whatever. i DO understand that a person can go to a local, humanely raised (and slaughter) farm and acquire meat that is not tainted by factory farming and all of the inhumane treatment that goes along with it but for myself, i find more peace knowing that i can eat and do no harm. i do not judge others decisions however, we all have our own path to follow and we each must have the freedom to make those choices. i feel lucky that i came across several good books so long ago that steered me in the vegan direction, i've never looked back or felt like i was missing out! some more good reads are The Pig Who Sang to the Moon (so good!), Dominion (very enlightening on the pork industry), and Diet for a New America (when the heir to Baskin Robbins declines and goes vegan, it's noteworthy in and of itself to read why). regardless, great post and questions! good luck with your journey (;

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

I'm literally watching Forks Over Knives as I read this post!

Bryony said...

Funnily enough, food is one of those things I've never obsessed much over, except in that I'm really picky. For instance, much as I'm a huge salad fan, there are tonnes of veg that I just can't stand, and it's taken me years to come to love things like guacamole and potato salad. So, while I'm not incredibly health-conscious, I do try to do right by my body and keep things balanced. My homemade chili and cornbread definitely isn't going anywhere any time soon!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

We have become much more conscious about what we eat now. I started minimizing (not eliminating altogether) carbs and sugar and barely cook it during the week. We usually have a ton of vegetables with dinner and may have one vegetarian night. I find it hard to give up milk, but am thinking about making rice milk (husband is allergic to almonds!) Other than that, I think a diet full of vegetables and some protein is a great thing. You and I both love to bake so I'll still indulge in that occasionally!

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

Diana Mieczan said...

Erin, how interesting about your headaches. I bet there is a connection and I totally feel your pain about dairy. I stopped drinking milk a while back and I only drink homemade almond milk now but I can't stop eating cheese...I love it too much. Btw: my friend is lactose intolerant too but she eats yogurts daily since they don't really have lactose in them. Here is what she sent me this morning: "yogurts don't really have lactose (or at least not a considerable amount). This is because it is made with bacteria cultures, which feed on the lactose to make acids which turn milk into yogurt and that is why lactose intolerant people can eat yogurt with no problems". Have you heard about that?

Diana Mieczan said...

Rebecca, good point! It's so hard to keep up with all the news and developments about the ever-changing food-talk. Btw: I find the concept of Paleo diet fascinating yet so radical. It was so interesting to read about your experience with it.

Diana Mieczan said...

That is so interesting, Renee. When did your stomach pain started and how did you come to the conclusion that the problem is meat, dairy and bread?

Diana Mieczan said...

Katie, I am super afraid of juicing. My friend had a very bad experience with it so I can't imagine trying it myself. Also, I totally agree that eating healthy is pretty tricky and takes lots of work. Btw: about the sugar..I have a HUGE sweet tooth but I started to cut back a few months ago and as you, I see changes with my skin. It looks healthier and clearer. I love that! Psst: 16 years? If you don't mind me asking, how did you decide to become vegetarian?

Diana Mieczan said...

Lyddie, good point!

Diana Mieczan said...

Oh yes, you totally nailed it, Merry Meri! Portion control is a very good subject to talk about. A few months ago I read an article stating how drastically potion size grew over the last few decades. It's crazy!!!

Diana Mieczan said...

Laura, thank you for that link. I'll check it out today. It's very interesting what you said about organic veggies and fruits. I will read more about it...What's on your organic veggies and fruits must list?

Diana Mieczan said...

Tiffany, I loved reading your comment and I am bookmarking all your book recommendations. Please keep them coming as I will be checking them out...We have a few vegan friends who, as you, recommend the swap. Also, animal cruelty is not ok at all. I very much agree with your point on it.

Diana Mieczan said...

Ha! Michelle, how cool is that? What did you think about the documentary?

Diana Mieczan said...

Bryony, I'd love the recipe for your homemade chili and cornbread:) YUM!

Diana Mieczan said...

Chic 'n Cheap Living, yes, indeed! Baking rocks:)

fructopia said...

Thank you for this post! Three years ago I was diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption or Fructose Intolerance as it is sometimes called. For three or more years before the diagnose I suffered from headaches, moodiness, overweight, fatigue, bad breath, constipation, bloating, unnatural sugar cravings and stomach pain after meals, but usually throughout the whole day. My doctor didnt even come up with the idea that this might me a food intolerance but sad it was normal. But it only got worse with time. Until I finally found out what triggers those symptoms.

What is fructose? Fructose is one part of two in normal sugar, which contains in equal parts of glucose and fructose. I'm happy that I know now what troubled me for so long but when you start looking into the sugar thing, you are shocked. Sugar is in everything. Every processed food contains sugar and of course, as the name of the stuff implies, every sort of fruit and vegetable contains fructose. All the nutrition recommendations like "eat fruits and veggies at least five times a day" would send me straight into the bathroom or bed with headaches and stomach pains. Following a strict diet I feel so much better, lighter, positve. Of course I miss my fruit salads from time to time, but now I enjoy little portions of "allowed" foods even more, and I'm so happy that I cancelled all the artificial food from diet and dont eat sugar anymore. If you ask me sugar will be the biggest nutritional problem we will face in the future. It makes you addictive. I experienced it myself when I had to go cold turkey after the diagnose. I was thinking about sugar all the time and had extreme sugar cravings. Its crazy what this stuff does to your body.

The worst thing is, the research you find online states that approximately 30% of the population is affected somehow by fructose malabsorption, most of them without knowing because people dont know about it and eat what the food industry calls "healthy" like fruit juices with added sugars or fat free fruit yoghurts with added sugars...and so on.

If I would go vegetarian or vegan I wouldn't know what to eat anymore, but I still try to eat dairy and meat in moderation. But following a fructose low diet this is my maxim anyway. :)

Karen Toms said...

Looking forward to this new series. I find myself constantly reading food and heathy eating books and it does get bewildering at times. x

erin said...

I have not heard about that, but it makes sense. I know that some dairy products do have less lactose in them because of how they are made or the type of milk they use so I'd believe it. Thanks for sharing!

KK said...

I also view the advice about what to eat and what to avoid with a healthy dose of skepticism because of the contradictory and constant information about what is 'best.' I try to keep mental notes of what I eat and balance out my intake of everything - lots of vegetables, not too much pasta, etc. I also don't drink soda (but I want to!). But I'll definitely be following along with this series to hear what other people are doing.

Diana Mieczan said...

fructopia, your story is so incredibly mind-blowing and so interesting!!! Oh my goodness, I am so happy that you managed to find the cause of the problem as your symptoms sound so severe. Fructose is so tricky and sadly as you said sugar is everywhere. I read an article about it recently and I was shocked! I can't wait to hear more about your story.

Diana Mieczan said...

Karen:)

Diana Mieczan said...

Erin and KK :)

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