Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Feeling judged for eating grapefruit

Today it became apparent that my truly, very lovely new cube neighbour and I share a different set of boundaries.

She moved in to the cube beside mine the week of Valentine's Day. Her husband sent a massive basket of chocolate and she continually attempted to offer me chocolate with an imaginative sales pitch including referring to said chocolate as "healthy." 

After a day of continually saying "no thanks" she accepted that I won't eat her chocolate. However, today she went to the other end of the spectrum and questioned my decision to eat a late afternoon snack - a grapefruit.

"I'll be back, I'm just going to cut up my grapefruit." I said.

"I can't eat a big fruit like that," she replied.

I nod and offer an uncomfortable smile. I'm unsure what to say to this. Naturally, I can't help but to think that she is inferring that I'm eating too much; but perhaps I'm just too sensitive. I head to the kitchen to cut up my grapefruit.

Ten minutes later, I return to my desk. Before I'm finished eating my grapefruit she casually asks if I'm leaving soon. It's 4:55. My workday ends at 5 pm:

"Yes I am leaving soon."

"Then why are you eating when you will be home for dinner soon?" she replies.

Slightly miffed I say, "So I don't bonk on the commute home."

I must admit that I deleted a big long paragraph explaining why I had a snack before heading out on my hour-long commute home. But, it doesn't matter. It is none of her business why I eat food (or not). I can eat grapefruit an hour before dinner (or any food, in any amount, for any amount of time, before or after a meal because it is my decision).

Isn't it funny how some people aggressively push food one day and then pass judgement the next? How those people expect us to eat the food they offer to be polite yet be a target for judgement anytime we decide to eat food, especially if said food or timing appears inappropriate?

Yes, I'm feeling a bit cynical (and sensitive) today. Hope you had a good one!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

No need to admit that you are serving a WW recipe

I have a couple of social occasions coming up (one that I'm going to host) and plan on doing WW friendly recipes. We'll see how it goes, I feel a little anxious about it, I don't know why... why wouldn't anyone want to be served something healthier I think I'll hold off on tell them until after the meal.

Hi Cheryl!

You are anxious about serving WW friendly meals at dinner parties; I can completely understand those feelings. I've only recently started to rethink the type of food I serve to friends and family.

I think you are anxious because there is a perception out there that healthy food is not tasty food and our society on the whole is obsessed with taste. No one wants to serve food that doesn't taste great to their guests. But, healthy food does taste good, perhaps in a different way from a full fat recipe.

In any case, for your upcoming social events, serve food that works for you. You don't need to consult your guests before the meal and you don't need to admit (or apologize) for anything after the meal. After all, your guests are important so wouldn't you rather contribute to their good health instead of detract from it?

You may actually find that some (or perhaps all) of your guests may be thankful and relieved to be eating lighter and healthier food.


Cheryl is a newbie blogger, and we have been friends for almost 20 years now (where did the time go??). We were on the same rowing crew gliding up and down the credit river. Check out her blog Chering Change.

If you have any suggestions for Cheryl, please add a comment below.

Also, check out this interview with journalist Micheal Moss about his new book Salt, Sugar, Fat about how the food industry got us hooked on processed food. Fascinating!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why I don't want to serve cheese as an appetizer

I opened the compartment of the refrigerator that holds the deli meat, cheese and other bits of food. There, I saw it. I groaned and rolled my eyes. I spied a large brie. Hubby must have bought it as an appetizer for our friends that were coming for dinner that night.

Had I not told him that I no longer want to serve cheese as an appetizer?

I've been tackling the issue of social eating for the last six months or so; coming up with various tactics. I've come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to combat social eating is to serve food that works for me. While serving (or bringing food) that works for me is not always possible, I am in complete control of the menu when we're hosting the dinner party.

While I love cheese, ultimately cheese is not a good choice; it's too easy to overeat and if I do serve cheese, there is a chance that I'll be too full to eat dinner.

So, I decided to no longer serve cheese (or bring cheese) as a dinner party appetizer. What is the point of serving food that will increase the possibility for overeating? There is a wide variety of food choices out there that I can serve and I can easily choose food that is tasty and a healthy choice that works for me.

I know this seems like a very simple solution. But until recently, I either didn't think of it or I didn't want to impose my healthy choices on guests or on some level I wanted a break from the healthy food that I eat day in and day out. My guess is that the answer is some sort of combination of the three that changed depending on the occasion.

In any case, a week after the dinner party, the brie is still in the fridge. We're saving it for a larger dinner party when there are more than four adults to enjoy it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Eat food not products

I had an a-ha moment last year as I walked around the concourse of my office building. I realized that the bulk of the food sold in restaurants, fast food shops and grocery stores is junk food. More importantly, I stopped thinking of prepared meals, fast food or restaurant food as a valid eating option. Some sort of switch flipped; I lost interest in buying food and preferred to eat food prepared at home.

I realized that it is too easy to overeat food that is prepared by food manufacturers and restaurants.

(In general, I'm referring to manufactured meals - meals made by someone else and/or somewhere else. Of course this includes snack foods and "healthy" fast food places that serve enormous salads.)

If you think about it, food manufacturers have teams dedicated to creating convenient meals that are so tasty that you will like it enough to buy again and again. They test, use focus groups as guidance to perfect a product that will appeal to the the most consumers. This team also works to overcome obstacles such as an ingredient list constrained by a budget and projected pricing and a manufacturing date that is weeks/months prior to the consumption date.

Plus, let's not forget that the food business is a competitive market. Luckily, the food marketers work on a plan to develop product awareness so you will remember to buy their frozen lazagna at the grocery store and again the following week. If the product happens to be low-fat and doesn't taste all that great - the food marketers will market the health benefits and let the health halo do the rest.

In the case of fast food and restaurants, it's a bit of a double whammy - there is the taste thing and the huge serving size thing. Servings are massive, even the children's  meals are too big and in the wrong proportions for healthy eating (ie. vegetables rarely take up half the plate). I'm even wary of the healthy fast food places that sell big salads heaping with various prepared toppings with mayonnaise and cheese.

Of course, some prepared meals are healthier choices than others. On the rare occasion that I buy my lunch  (once every couple of months), my first choice is a place where I can get a gourmet salad and a sandwich.
And while I realize that it is one of the healthier choices, the sandwich is big, and I'm certain the salad dressing in full fat.

In my eyes, food made in factories, fast food/restaurants meals are treated like chocolate bars and should only be eaten occasionally.

If you are interested in controlling your eating, control what you eat by making the food you eat.

Eat food and be wary of eating products.