Posts Tagged ‘food issues’

I read in Self or Women’s Health (which I am getting only because I agreed to pick 3 magazines for a trial 3 months – I just have to remember to cancel!) that people who photographed every single thing they ate for [some time period] ate less/lost more weight than people who did not.  I thought about it -and my occasional food photos here – and decided even if it was a statistically significant result, it does not sound worth it for me.

Taking pictures of my food was fun, but hot stuff would get cold, or I would feel removed [Foucault’s modern gaze, anyone?].  I don’t want my food to be objectified, I want to enjoy the process of making it and eating it. I feel I am already pretty aware of what I eat and portion sizes, and photos would not be a positive motivation, where positive means enjoyable or worth it.*

I also have decided that loud, fast music may not be the best motivation for me when running. As I mentioned, I got a Nike+ system. I did a few runs where I set the distance I want to run, then chose a playlist, and got to it. Every 0.5 miles a nice voice would report my distance, up to my halfway point, when the voice would count down (0.5 mi to go).  My “running” playlist on my ipod is your typical pop/rock loud fast music.  

One day I decided to mix it up and chose to do a basic workout (not for a set distance or time) and I accidentally selected Cake for my playlist. While Cake has some faster songs, several are slower.  Result: a faster and more enjoyable run.  Now, this was not a controlled experiment and perhaps I was faster because I had been running more consistently in previous few weeks. But, since then, I have selected “basic workout” and a “folksy” list and set out to try to enjoy running. And, it has been working. Am I a speed demon, running at every opportunity? No.  Does it still take determination to get out there and start running? Yes.  But, lesson learned: for any activity or process, you need to find the reason and motivation that works for you in a positive, fulfilling way.  Our bodies know what is good for them, why waste time being miserable. 

Liz, thoughts?  


*This also encourages a tangent on food marketed to women. *I think* from a social science book on food and women by Carol Counihan -she has several-, there is a reflection on the small chocolates marketed to women. The perfect way to control your body wrapped up in capitalism.  While I enjoy my chocolate, almost every time I eat a piece or 4, I think of this:  I am performing the “good woman”.


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when food goes bad

In most parts of my life, I don’t mind dirt or messes – except in the kitchen. In the kitchen, I become a big germaphobe.  I prefer to use a paper towel for washing dishes to a germ-filled sponge. I throw out things the day they expire if not before. I worry about the cleanliness of the sink and especially the disposal area.  And, I prefer to toss out a box of crackers after a couple weeks versus trying one to see if it is stale.  (As children, I would offer my sister a chip first to see if the bag was still good. Sorry, Liz)

So, you can imagine my alarm and disgust when I found this on my pantry shelf:


I was reaching to get something and felt an unexpected squish. Yes, my sweet potato had rotted – to the point of liquification. And I had just gotten them last week. I immediately disposed of the produce and wiped down the shelf area with disinfecting wipes.

These may be some legitimate public health concerns and they have both good and bad effects. I do feel guilty when I throw something out that could be contaminated – so now I really try not to buy more than I can eat in a given time frame. Another “good” effect is my ability to resist food made by someone else or at buffet. For example, one of my roommates made these very delicious looking -and healthy- whole wheat pumkin cinnamon rolls with a honey glaze. 


She left them out for everyone to share (on the counter, uncovered, overnight and the next day!) and I had just a small piece after they came out of the oven. I did appreciate her time and effort and thanked her. But, I couldn’t bring myself to eat one. Why? Because I watched her roll out the dough on the kitchen table that she wiped down with the (dirty) re-used dishtowels. Then she let them rise in a pan covered by the same dish towels. This is not meant to judge her but to judge me and my issues.

I recognize that some of this is unfounded and in many places in the world and throughout most of history, there is not an obsession with hygiene until it is brought in by Western health ideology (see Mary Douglas’s book, Purity and Danger, for theories about pollution). And, I have been trying (not over-buying fruits and veggies) and making some progress (tasting crackers to see if they are stale). But, for now, I still have my limits.

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Growing up, Mayfield’s Peppermint Stick Ice Cream was one of my favorite holiday treats.  Then I discovered Trader Joe’s and their Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s.


They are similar to Oreo’s, but the chocolate Joe-Joe cookie is actually good on its own and the cream doesn’t taste fatty or waxy.  Although it has been a while since I had an oreo, and this could be a false memory, Joe-Joe’s are far superior. The Candy Candy ones have real crushed candy cane (it crunches as you eat them!).


TJ makes a few varieties that are available all year round (vanilla, chocolate, and banana maybe?) but I have not tried those because I know I could polish off a box in a week or less.  The Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s appear in November and are gone shortly after New Years, if they do not run out before. Tonight I bought 2 boxes. One for me to enjoy for the next month and one to take home with me for the holidays. Two Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s have 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. I find 2 to be a reasonable serving, especially for a treat after a meal or with milk (with milk it becomes a delicious breakfast).  Sometimes I will have 3 or 4+ in a day, but because they are so tasty but also have limited availabity, I try to make them last* which helps me resist the temptation in my pantry.  

*This immediately reminded me of our mom’s behavior. She discovered Trader Joe’s chocolate dunkers, which are biscotti-like chocolate chip cookies with the bottom side dipped in fudge. Liz and I agree they are good but not amazing. Perhaps having an exotic item not available where she lives makes them more special. Well, after visiting me, she took home 2 containers of them. She let her self have half of a cookie a day – to make them last, she said – but portion control issues probably were at play, too.

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Or, mental pressure: you must leave something on your plate.

I have had discussions with friends about which camp they fall into: “clean your plate” or “leave something on your plate”. Both perspectives have a variety of reasons behind them: not having food waste, being polite to the person who made the food, gender behavior expectation, etc.

In our family it was: “You don’t have to clean your plate. I don’t want you to overeat.” Usually without thinking about it I will leave something on my plate – unless it is super delicious and I eat every bite and then I feel guilty (and get seconds). On the other hand, I also feel guilty when I leave food behind and always take leftovers home when I can.  Two examples from the weekend:

Example 1: Dinner, half-size pecan-crusted chicken salad, dressing on the side, from Applebee’s.  I left a few pieces of lettuce on the plate and then felt silly because it was just lettuce.


Example 2: Sandwich from Jason’s Deli (turkey, swiss, avocado, bacon, pico, on wheat) and chips. This sandwich was stuffed and super tasty. After eating most the chips and half of the sandwich, I was full-almost to the point of discomfort.  I went to get a box to take home the other half but Chris reminded me that we had more errands and it would not last in the car. So, there was half of a big, tasty sandwich on my plate.  Leaving it seemed so wasteful. I stared at it for a few minutes while Chris finished his food-and then took two big bites to feel less bad about leaving it. This picture is pre-bites. 


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