“Everything in Moderation” A Myth-based Ideology at the Root of America’s Obesity Epidemic

America is famous world-wide for its obesity epidemic. Over the last 30 years, the obesity rate in the United States has risen at an alarming rate. Billions of dollars have been spent on research and marketing campaigns based on the hegemonic rhetoric of fat makes you fat and the fear-mongering discourse that cholesterol causes heart disease.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given the American public the former “Food Pyramid,” and the new “My Plate,” which are both based on the ideology of a well-balanced, low-fat diet. Dedicated non-profit organizations and government agencies assure Americans that they are united with them in the war against obesity. Based on this, Americans should feel that their health is in trustworthy hands, but unfortunately this is not necessarily the truth. The corporate super-powers of the world are feeding billions of dollars to these governing organizations to assure the hegemonic discourse that is distributed supports the agenda, and the finances, of the corporate and political elite. This alliance has left American’s believing the myth that, despite extensive contrary evidence, choosing low-fat, whole-grain versions of their favourite snack food and eating everything in moderation is the key to good health.  

In the Marxist tradition, the term ideology describes how “cultures are structured in ways that enable the group holding power to have the maximum control with the minimum of conflict” (Lye, 1997, website). Karl Marx argues that the corporate and political elite, who he refers to as the “bourgeoisie,” use ideologies to promote their agendas and cover the truth (McKendry, week 4 slides). This is not to say that the authorities intentionally oppress people, but rather, demonstrates how the powers of societies operate through their values and symbol use, in order to legitimatize the current order (Lye, 1997). Cultural hegemony is Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s theory that an elite ruling class can dominate the perceptions, beliefs, and values of a society by manipulating the group in to accepting the elitist viewpoint as universally valid and beneficial to everyone in society, but actually only benefits the ruling class (Stillo, 1998-99). Myth, in relation to Marxist ideology, is a story by which the elite can distribute their message to society in a way that transcends time and is accepted in to a group’s consciousness as logical, natural, and true phenomena. It is a vehicle by which ideology becomes discourse. Barthes’ describes myth as “depoliticized speech.” These terms as used from a perspective of the Marxist tradition have a socialist bias and are emotionally-loaded. Despite, the inflated use of the term aimed at the elite, it brings to consciousness a platform for post-modernistic questioning of dominant ideologies.

For the last 30 years, the public has adopted the ideologies of the USDA, American Heart Association, and the Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). They have consciously tried to lower their fat and cholesterol levels by choosing reduced-fat versions of their favourite foods. They have switched from white breads and pastas to whole wheat, whole milk to skim milk, butter to corn or soybean oil products, and red meat to chicken. Collectively, they have shown to be following the recommendations of the USDA closely. But yet, the obesity epidemic continues to gain momentum. The prevalence of obesity in the United States increased from 13 percent to 32 percent between the 1960s and 2004. If the obesity and overweight rate continues to grow at its current pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of American children and adolescents will be overweight or obese (Beydoun and Wang, 2007).

The public trusts that the dedicated government and non-profit agencies are advised by and run by people of high education, like doctors, nurses, and nutritionists, and therefore believe that the dietary advice and recommendations are based on extensive and thorough research that demonstrates undisputable evidence as a basis for the discourse they promote. People generally believe that what is recommended is the ideal and if they comply the will have optimal health. However, the ideology that is used as the basis for the Food Pyramid and My Plate recommendations are myths that have been disputed by academics in the medical community. High cholesterol is not linked to heart disease (Berkman et al, 1994) and it is processed carbohydrates, not fat, that makes people fat (Krones, 2010).

 To understand the motives for the My Plate dietary recommendations promoted by the USDA and Eat Right, one only has to look no further than the organization’s lists of corporate sponsors – a stark conflict of interest. Both are heavily funded by processed food companies such as Pepsico, Coca-cola, Mars, and Frito-Lay, and pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, to name a few. These corporations are more powerful than countries. Pepsico is the world’s biggest food & drink (snack food) company and has contributed $44.3 billion to Eat Right (the others have contributed similarly). If Pepsico were listed amongst countries worldwide by GDP it would be in the fourth position (Harcombe, 2011). Large corporations like these are the bourgeoisie of our times. The Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals and is a dominant force in the American nutrition scene. It has succeeded in making it illegal to give out nutrition advice in many states, unless you are certified by the Academy. This further strengthens the hegemonic agenda of the organization and its partners, assuring that the dogma of the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet reigns strong.

My Plate key consumer messages are: enjoy your food, but eat less; avoid oversized portions; and drink water instead of sugary drinks – promoting diet soda as a good alternative, thus keeping in good favour with its alliances, Splenda and Coca-Cola. The dietary guidelines assure the public that low-calorie and low-fat versions of their favourite processed foods, are healthful choices – failing to address the added salt and sugar that coincides with it. Further, there is no mention of potential need for concern regarding preservatives, additives, or stabilizers, which are foreign in the evolution of humans until the last few decades (http://www.choosemyplate.gov).  

It is typical for ideologies to be carried out by the state ideological apparatuses, such as the Church, schools, and the Army. The USDA has created the Nutrition Communicators Network, which offers opportunities for different communities, schools, and organizations to help promote the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, allowing it to gain higher participation from the subordinate society. First Lady, Michelle Obama headed the launch of the new My Plate initiative and actively promotes adoption of the dietary guidelines to help combat obesity.

Lye (1997) notes that “any ideology will contain contradictions, will repress aspects of experience, will ‘disappear’ that which tends to contradict it or expose its repressions.” Ideology’s cultural activity will include the construction of pseudo-problems which are given pseudo-solutions.” A related example is the USDA’s advisement not to eat butter, a natural food product, due to the high level of naturally occurring saturated fat and promotes alternatives such as corn and soybean oils. Both industries are heavily subsidized by the Unites States government and up to 90 percent of American crops are grown from Monsanto genetically-modified kernels, another example of conflict of interest (http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/).

Monsanto is also member of the corporate bourgeoisie. Monsanto spends millions of dollars annually lobbying the government. The United States government and Monsanto have become famous for their revolving-door hiring practices, with at least 27 incidences of high-level executives holding positions for both industry and government (Nestle, 2007). The line between the two has blurred to the point it’s difficult to see separation. The most notable example is the case of Michael Taylor who has been the senior advisor of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Commission in 2009. This is the commission that oversees the genetically modified foods that Monsanto engineers. Prior to this appointment Taylor was Vice President of Public Policy at Monsanto, and prior to that he worked for the USDA from 1994 to 1996, where he was Administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service — another government agency meant to regulate the activities of corporations such as Monsanto. In 1991 Taylor again worked for the FDA as the Deputy Commissioner. This was his position after King and Spalding, a law firm that represented Monsanto. Prior to this private firm position, he was a staff attorney at the FDA (Moore, 2011).

The power of the bourgeoisie to affect the health of Americans is overwhelming, scary, and sad, when you consider how many lives have been negatively impacted. However, there is hope. With the advent of social media and the possibility of global connections across space and time, an opportunity now exists for common people to access alternate sources of information, even from academic articles by doctors and researchers who have their own opinions and produce data that is not skewed to fit the ideological framework of the bourgeoisie. It is possible for the subordinate class to develop a broad movement, capable of challenging the existing order and achieving hegemony itself. Yet, even if there are enough people that rise-up and change the ideologies about proper nutrition and make changes in their own food choices, if the governing bodies are held accountable for the effects of their wide-spread myth, the balance of power will remain with the dominant class, and they will re-establish their hegemony on the basis of a new pattern of alliances.

References

Berkman, L.F, Krumholz, H.M., Merrill, S.S., Mendes de Leon, C.F., Ostfeld, A.M., Seeman, T.E., Silverman, D.I., Tsukahara, R., Vaccarino, V.,. (1994). Lack of association between cholesterol and coronary heart disease mortality and morbidity and all-cause mortality in persons older than 70 years. Journal of American Medical Association [website]. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/272/17/1335.abstract

Beydoun, M.A. and Wang, Y. (2007) Obesity Rates Continue to Climb in the United States. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Public Health News Center. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/press_releases/2007/wang_adult_obesity.html

Harcombes, Z. (2011). The obesity epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? Obesity Reviews.

12(9), 756. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00858.x

Kones, R. (2010). Low-fat versus low-carbohydrate diets, weight loss, vascular health, and prevention of coronary artery disease: the evidence, the reality, the challenge, and the hope. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 25(5), 528-541. doi: 10.1177/0884533610380614

Lye, J. (1997). Ideology: A Brief Guide. In John Lye’s Course and Source Page, Department of English Language and Literature [website]. Retrieved February 4, 2012 from http://www.brocku.ca/english/jlye/ideology.php

Moore, R. (2011). Michael Taylor, Monsanto, and the Revolving Door. Franklin County Democrats The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri [website]. Retrieved from http://www.franklinmodems.org/2011/02/14/michael-taylor-monsanto-and-the-revolving-door/

Nestle, M. (2007). Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Los Angeles, CA. University of California Press.

Sillo, M. (!998-1999). Antonio Gramsci. In Media / Gender / Identity Resources [website]. Retrieved February 4, 2012 from http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-gram.htm#hege

Misleading Food Labels Pose Health Risks

Unless you’re like me – a supermarket floosy, it’s probable that you don’t like to spend excessive time grocery shopping, especially given the busy schedules of today. Unfortunately, it’s become downright frightening to unconsciously grab-and-go, with all the Franken-food on the shelves today, resulting in over-reliance on exaggerated front-of-package health claims.

I have been reading a lot about food safety, food ethics, and food labels, and I am downright mad! While sugar-laden cereal’s “Kid Approved” and “Whole Grains” claims are dismissible, not all labels are such obvious gimmicks. Labels such as “Natural” and “Organic,” can cause confusion; and for some, lead to grave consequences.

Labeling loopholes caused Karen Pendergrass, who suffers from Parkinsonism and Celiac-Sprue, to experience neuro-ataxia episodes, where she lost balance and blacked out for up to 10 minutes. Several times she came to with bruised ribs, black eyes, and bloody noses – all from consuming phosphates in “organic” produce.

Natural Does Not Mean Nutritious

“Natural” or “All-natural” can be the most deceptive health claims on packaging. Some consumers interpret it as indicating a more nutritious or wholesome product than is actually the case. However, the “Natural” claim is completely meaningless and unregulated.

Natural doesn’t mean there are no artificial or unhealthy ingredients. Various types of sugar, salt and oils are natural, but not necessarily healthy, says Lori Zanteson, nutrition blogger for Whole9 Life, a closer inspection of the ingredient label will reveal the truth.

Zanteson points out the similar term “Natural Flavors,” is regulated however and that flavours must come from “natural” sources – plant or animal – such as a spice, fruit, vegetable, bark, or leaf. Zanteson advises consumers to still exercise caution. “Although products may be derived from natural sources, the end result may vaguely resemble its origins.”

Schneiders Food’s “Country Naturals” and Maple Leaf “Natural Selections” bacon are perfect examples. Their label claims to have “natural” ingredients with “no added preservatives or nitrites,” yet the cultured celery extract included in its ingredient list is actually a nitrite — a preservative which has been linked to cancer by agencies, such as the Cancer Prevention Coalition. Nutrition expert, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff says, “for all intents and purposes [cultured celery extract] is bio-chemically identical.” Cook’s Illustrated tested different types of bacon and found that two brands of “nitrate-free” bacon had significantly more nitrites than their conventional counterpart

What About Organic?

Natural is often confused with organic; however, they validity of the terms are different. Use of the term “organic” is strictly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). To bear the green USDA Certified Organic label, ingredients must meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standards, ensuring they are produced without chemical pesticides and fertilizers, developed without genetic engineering, and the meat is not given growth hormones or antibiotics.

“Organic refers to the way food is grown, handled, and processed, but has nothing to do with a food’s nutritional makeup,” says Zanteson, “single ingredient foods, like fruits and vegetables, can be labeled 100 per cent organic and carry the USDA Organic seal.” However, as Pendergrass learned the hard way, certified organic does not ensure a product is pesticide-free at the point-of-purchase. The USDA Organic label only ensures that the farm that produces the product farms organically, says Pendergrass. If crops are shipped from an organic farm in Virginia to California, it may be sprayed with pesticides in transport. As Pendergrass discovered through investigation after one of her ataxic episodes from eating a USDA labeled organic apple.

Products with more than one ingredient must contain at least 95 per cent organic ingredients to bear the seal, says Zanteson. “This seems straightforward, but the seal is voluntary, which means not all products claiming to be organic truly are.”

Products that contains at least 70 per cent, but less than 95 per cent organic ingredients, can make claims like, “made with organic ingredients” and list the word organic beside the ingredient on the label, but can’t use the seal. The lesson? Read the labels! The undesirable ingredients may devalue those that are organic, and make the cost associated with organics un-worthwhile.

Time for Change

Concerning? Yes. Disappointing? Definitely. But a closer look will expose deception almost every time.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA are working on reducing false health claims, which will hopefully eliminate confusing food labels eventually. However, Pendergrass isn’t getting her hopes up.

Pendergrass has taken action. In 2009 she started Paleo Approved, a certification company that provides “a safe and reliable food-labeling system for all consumers.” Paleo Approved helps people easily identify foods that are 100 per cent organic, from seed to plate, and meat that is pasture-raised and grass-fed meat to help protect people like her who have autoimmune conditions and the general public who want a label they can count on that is not connected with big agriculture or government agencies.

Paleo Approved is in its early years, so for now consumers will have to continue reading labels and educating themselves, particularly those with autoimmune conditions. But Pendergrass and the Paleo community are spreading the word about “Paleo Approved” products online and increasing awareness about the potential dangers of food unknowns and false food health claims. Pendergrass has grown the online Paleo community to more than 10 thousand members.

Despite Pendergrass’ efforts, there is no quick fix to the current labeling disaster. But if consumers educate themselves on the foods they typically eat, making health-conscious decisions will become easier and quicker.
In the meantime, try to focus on eating real food. Choose organic produce that is in season and shop at local farmer’s markets or from farms directly, where you can meet the farmers in person.

For packaged products, Zanteson says, “if a product is shouting it’s health claims, it’s probably not that healthy. After all, when was the last time you saw a “Smart Choice” check or a free movie ticket giveaway on a bag of spinach?”

YouTube video about MapleLeaf Foods Natural Selection

Sources:

Zaneston, L. February 6, 2012. We’re really really healthy! (The truth about food and health claims.). Retrieved February 7, 2012 from Whole9 Life [website]
Goldenberg, E. February 2, 2012. Maple Leaf Foods changes misleading product labelss. Retrieved February 3, 2012 from CBC News [website]

Paleo Progress: 2 weeks post Whole30

It’s been six weeks now since I went Paleo, and two since I ended the Whole30 Challenge. I had been staying Paleo, with the addition of more nuts, dried fruit, red wine and some dark chocolate in to my diet…. Unfortunately more than I should be. I weighted myself at one point last week and I had lost 3 pounds, but I feel like I am starting to creep back up a bit. Definitely need to lay off the trail mix and chocolate!

This weekend I went away on a trip with my university and I tried a few non-paleo foods. Big mistake! I had 3 beers and a strong vodka spritzer on Friday night and I was SICK all day Saturday. I haven’t been sick from alcohol like that in years! I was shocked. I believe it must be from the grains and preservatives in the beer, because that definitely wasn’t too much to drink for me. Granted I didn’t drink for a month, but I have had wine a few times since Feb 1. Scared the heck out of me! It definitely scared me off of grains for the foreseeable future.

For the rest of the weekend I was pretty good. I brought a lot of my own food and convinced the omelette guy to use butter instead of canola oil (after a failed attempt to give him my own stash of coconut oil). I had a bit of brown basmati rice and some asiago and parmesan shredded on my Caesar salad, but I think for my first weekend away, I did pretty well with sticking to the plan.

I also have been so busy with school that the gym has fallen to the wayside in the last few weeks. I have kind of accepted at this point, I will not get in there too much in the next two weeks before school ends, but I intend to dial the diet back in as soon as I get some food in the house today after my weekend away.

I haven’t re-taken my measurements since I started the challenge but I feel like there won’t be too much of a change given my lack of time in the gym. **Sigh.** Oh well, I won’t make excuses, just being frank. I believe in being accountable for your failures as well as your successes. So here it is, a report on my progress. I give my post-Whole30 progress a B -. 

30 days sober!

Well it is after midnight. I have official completed 30 days with grains, legumes, soy, corn, potato, dairy or alcohol. My meals have been focused on high quality, pasture raised meat, high quality fat and oils from avocado, coconut, olives and nuts, high amounts of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit per day. No preservatives, no GMOs, no fillers – JUST REAL WHOLE FOOD.

Tonight I went to the store and bought my treats for tomorrow. Some fair-trade Green & Blacks organic 85% dark chocolate and some raisins and dried cranberries to go with my almonds and pecans for a snack. I’m looking forward to savouring those little bites of goodness oh so much!

Tonight I went to Milestones and realized the only thing I might be able to eat was a caesar salad without the cheese or croutons. When I asked for an ingredient list, I was surprised to learn they use CANOLA OIL instead of olive oil!! Glad I asked! Who would have guessed?! I also learned Worcestershire sauce contains soy. Gratefully, the prep cook made a make-shift caesar dressing that accommodated my dietary needs. Its not often a restaurant who cooks in batches will whip up a made-to-order salad dressing from scratch. Big props to the prep cook at Milestones in Langford, BC!

Whole30 Challenge – Home Stretch!

I am on the eve of my last day on the Whole 30 challenge. As I reflect back, I feel proud of my commitment to cooking almost all of my meals (all, but 4) and sticking with a 100% strict paleo diet for, what will be, 30 days tomorrow.
I will weigh myself and do new measurements this week, but regardless of any changes esthetically, I feel better physically and mentally – more clear-headed and energetic. I have only experienced nausea a few times this month (something that is usually quite common in my life). I think I have narrowed it down to caffeine over-consumption as the root cause. My tummy feels happy almost all the time these days. Only a little upset if I eat too many nuts.

The Whole 30 Survival Guide has a next steps section that I will have to read this week, but I feel pretty confident that I have adapted this “diet” as a way of life. I was already probably about 70% paleo, but I imagine I will maintain about a 90% adherence going forward. I will like incorporate the occasional bit of tamari soy sauce if I can find some GMO free stuff (baring I can’t get my hand on some coconut aminos at some point!) and the occasional treats. The two things I miss the most are good wine and dark chocolate. These will be my first off limit foods I introduce for sure!

My biggest learning in this experience is how important food quality is. I have always believed it, but now I have experienced the benefits as well, and there is no unlearning of things. I will never sacrifice what goes in to my body at the sake of cost-savings, even as a student. I have learned a lot about GMOs and food labels, and I will do whatever I can to avoid GMOs in my food, even as a bi-product through animal meat.

As I move forward with this blog, now that the challenge is over, I will start to write about what I learn about on my SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) food diet journey. I have learned so much about the FDA, Monsanto, dietary links to disease, etc. I now know how to follow this diet, but the reasons for it go so far beyond eating a healthy diet. I think it’s important to question the status quo. Question the logic of and motives behind the promoters of the Standard American Diet (SAD). To me it seems logical to eat real, nutrient-dense, unprocessed, unmodified food. The “everything in moderation” expression is a cop-out if optimal nutrition, health, and performance is what we seek. I am sure I will continue to enjoy chocolate and wine, or even pasta and California rolls, now and again, but I won’t try to say that it doesn’t come without its negative effects.

Here is my updated food diary since my last blog post. Just one more day to add in here to complete my Whole 30 challenge tomorrow. Stay tuned for more results information!

Sunday January 29

Breakfast
1/3 pint Blueberries, ¼ pint raspberries, ¼ can coconut milk, large handful sprouted almonds and hazelnuts
Coffee with 1 tsp coconut oil

Snack
2/3 pint blueberries
Americano with 1 tsp coconut oil

Lunch
1/2 servings of: Spaghetti squash coated in 2 tbsp EVOO / Sauce: 3 slices of bacon diced in small jar tomato fresca sauce (local, fresh)

Pasta free spaghetti

Dinner
1 serving of meat from: 450 gram lean ground beef 90% drained, ¾ small zucchini, ½ small onion, 2 cloves garlic simmered in jar of que pasa medium salsa
served on 3c. shredded cabbage, 1/2c. sauerkraut, 2 tbsp EVOO

Taco Salad

Snack
Small bowl frozen peaches with ¼ can coconut milk

Saturday, January 28

Breakfast
1/3 pint Blueberries, ¼ pint raspberries, ¼ can coconut milk, large handful sprouted almonds and hazelnuts
Americano

Lunch
Americano
2c. Homemade chicken and veg soup

Snack
Tetra pack Coconut water (60 cal)

Dinner
Sashimi with fresh wasabi – 9 pc tuna, 11 pc salmon

Friday, January 27 (snowboarding day)

Breakfast
Coffee with 1 tsp coconut oil
2 hard-boiled eggs
½ avocado

Snack
Americano with 3/4 tsp coconut oil
handful of mixed almonds and hazelnuts
3 gravol ginger chewables

Lunch
1 chicken breast in joy of cooking chili-garlic marinade
snack bag of mixed nuts
peppermint herbal tea

Snack
2c. diced jicama in lemon juice
passionfruit herbal tea

Dinner (Hy’s steak house)
10oz filet mignon with salt and pepper
small lobster tail
1c. steamed broccoli
peppermint herbal tea
1 tbsp EVOO

Thursday, January 26
Breakfast
Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil
2 eggs with 2 octoberfest sausages from Red Barn Markets
2 scrambled eggs with green pepper and green onion

Snack
2c. diced jicama w lemon juice

Lunch
Salad with 2-3 chicken thighs in JoC Chili-Garlic Rub Marinade – ½ avocado, 3c spinach, 2 tbsp EVOO, green onions, 8 grape tomatoes

Snack
Snack bag of almonds
pear

Dinner (Shore Club)
12oz filet mignon with olive oil, salt and pepper
3 small steamed beats
3 pieces steamed asparagus

Wednesday, January 25

Breakfast
4-5 slices smoked sockeye salmon, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 cerignolo olives, ½ avocado

Paleo breakfast on the go!

Snack
2c. jicama with lemon juice

Lunch
2c. homemade chicken and veg soup

Snack
Snack size bag of almonds
coffee

Dinner
3 eggs scrambled with 2 slices smoked salmon, green onions and green pepper

Snack
Frozen blueberries with ¼ coconut milk

Tuesday, January 24

Breakfast
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil
Scramble – 2 eggs, 2 local sausage, 2c. sautéed spinach ½ c. mushrooms

Snack
¼ raw jicama, sliced

Lunch
1 pear
2c. Homemade chicken vegetable soup

Homemade Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Snack
¼ raw jicama, sliced
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil

Snack
2 hard-boiled eggs

Dinner
Bowl of homemade chicken and veg soup w 1 tsp olive oil
3 slices raw jicama
handful of almonds

Monday January 23

Breakfast
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil
2 hard-boiled eggs

Snack
snack-size Ziploc full of almonds

Lunch
Salad with 1 HB egg, 1 chicken thigh ½ avocado, 3c. spinach, handful grape tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice

Snack
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil

Dinner
Salad with 3 chicken thighs, ½ avocado, 3c. spinach, handful grape tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice

Snack
2 handfuls almonds

Sunday January 22

Breakfast
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil
Large plate of leftover stirfry of grassfed beef strips and gailan in cayenne, garlic, ginger, and onions

Snack
Pear

Snack
2 hard boiled eggs
3 handfuls of raw sunflower seeds?
1 chicken thigh

Dinner
Salad with 2 chicken thighs, ½ avocado, 3c. spinach, handful grape tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice

Snack
½ bowl of frozen blueberries

Saturday January 21

Late Breakfast
Americano w ¾ tsp coconut oil
4 small local breakfast sausage links with 1.5c fried sweet potato

Plain and Simple paleo breakfast

Snack
Bowl of frozen peaches

Late Lunch / Dinner
Stirfry of grassfed beef strips and gailan in cayenne, garlic, ginger, and onions

Snack
½ bowl of frozen blueberries

Friday January 20

Dinner
Tray of roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower with snack size bag of local bacon

Before roasting


After roasting

(I can’t recall January 19 or 20 day meals and forgot to document them)

Wednesday January 18

Brunch
Americano with 3/4 tsp coconut oil
2 eggs scrambled with two grass-fed breakfast sausages, ¼ green pepper, 1 green onion

Snack
½ can Arroy-D coconut milk
1c frozen fresh peaches, a few cherries, and a few blueberries

Snack 2
Americano with 3/4 tsp coconut oil

Dinner
1c cauliflower “rice”
½ serving Pork Green Curry – 1 ¼ can Arroy-D coconut milk, ½ jar green curry paste, 1 jicama, 1 pork tenderloin

Coconut Curry

January 17, 201…

January 17, 2012 – Whole30 challenge update! 

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted, but I have been 100% on plan. I’ve maybe been a bit more snacky than necessary, but keeping with a 100% clean, strict paleo diet.

It’s been snowing like crazy in the little suburb of Victoria the last few days, so I missed the gym today. But to be honest, I have been since Friday because I am reeee-diculously sore since my bootcamp class last Friday! My abs still hurt 4 days later!! I was supposed to go back yesterday for round 2, but I just couldn’t endure it. It sucks because I haven’t run since last Wednesday now. I am going without fail tomorrow.

I also joined a trail running group to try to push myself outdoors. If there’s no snow on the ground Saturday, it will be my first time hitting the trails in Victoria. I’m looking forward to getting out there and pushing myself a bit, because running outdoors, unless done in conjunction with getting a tan, is not generally my forte… We’ll see how it goes. I may go once and then retire my trail map until spring.

I confirmed a trip to Austin in March today for the Paleo FX Symposium. Pretty excited! Many leading Paleo authors, bloggers, nutritionists, and podcasters will be there spreading their wealth of knowledge with nutrition nerds – like me. I met a fellow nutrition nerd on Twitter and we are going to be roomies for the event. Fun! Someone to geek out with by day and have some fun with by night. You got to love social media.

Here is my food journal for the last few days, plus a cut video called Shit Foodies Say. I think I may have a few things in common with this girl. Thankfully Twitter friends assure me I am not alone.

Tuesday January 17

Breakfast

½ small sweet potato roasted in coconut oil
2 egg + 1 egg white omelette containing smoked salmon, 1c spinach – sautéed, 2 green onions
½ small avocado

Paleo-fied!

Lunch

Green salad with 1 tbsp olive oil and lemon
medium piece of grilled salmon (no oil)
small granny smith apple

Snack

Americano

Snack 2

1 orange (1 hour before dinner)

Dinner

½ pork tenderloin with JOC chili-garlic rub
½ grilled zucchini
½ small avocado
large handful raw sunflower seeds

Care of Joy of Cooking

Snack

2 large handfuls of walnuts

 

Monday January 16

Breakfast

1.5 fast fry grassfed steak
3c sautéed spinach in coconut oil
mushrooms and onions sautéed

Snack

1 c. frozen peaches with half small can of coconut milk

Lunch

Apple with hazelnut almond butter
Large Spinach Salad with 1 ½ 1.5 fast fry grassfed steak, mushrooms and onions sautéed, 8 grape tomatoes, ½ small avocado, green onions

Snack

Handful of walnuts

Dinner

20 large prawns sautéed in coconut oil and olive oil and garlic
Large homemade Caesar salad without Worcestershire, croutons or parmesan

Sunday January 15

Breakfast

½ small sweet potato roasted in coconut oil
3 egg omelette containing smoked salmon, 1c spinach – sautéed, 2 green onions
½ small avocado

Snack

1c. frozen peaches with ½ small can of coconut milk

Snack

1 braeburn apple with almond hazelnut butter

Very Late Lunch

Spinach Salad with 3c spinach, ½ small avocado, 8 grape tomatoes with 2chicken thighs shredded in Joy of Cooking Chili-Garlic marinade.
Americano with 1 tsp coconut oil

Late Dinner or snack

Cant remember…………..

Saturday January 14

Breakfast

2 scrambled eggs
3c. sautéed spinach
½ small avocado

Snack

1c frozen mango in ½ small can coconut milk

Lunch

3 hard-boiled egg
½ small avocado
2c. mixed raw fruit – from fruit platter

Snack

Handful dry roasted almonds (roasted at home)

Snack

Cashew Lara Bar

Dinner

1/5 serving of left over ground beef/cauliflower, cabbage mix tossed with 3c. shredded cabbage, 2 tbsp. ea. olive oil and apple cider vinegar

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Breakfast

Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil

Breakfast

1c. mango with ½ small can of coconut milk
1 hard-boiled egg

NOTE: Experienced nausea between lunch and breakfast, maybe because I ate so late after my coffee, or maybe a reaction to the mango or coconut milk because of last nights reaction.

Lunch

2/5 serving ground beef-veg mix (above) on 3c spinach
1 tbsp coconut oil

Dinner

1/5 serving ground beef-veg mix (above) on 1.5c spinach and 3c. shredded cabbage with 2 tbsp ea. Olive oil and apple cider vinegar

Thursday, January 12, 2011

Breakfast

Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil
1c. mango with ½ small can of coconut milk
1 hard-boiled egg

Snack

Orange

Lunch

Large salad with 2-3c. spinach, 1/3 avocado, cilantro, shredded chicken (2 thighs), 1 tbsp EVOO, lemon juice

Snack

2 hard-boiled eggs
Americano w 1tsp coconut oil

Snack

Small apple

Dinner

1/5 serving of: 500g ground beef, ½ head cabbage, ½ head cauliflower, ½ onion, 1 glove garlic – fried in 1 tbsp coconut oil
1c. mango in ½ small can coconut milk

NOTE: Itchy skin after dinner, particularly chest area. 

Whole30: Day 11 – Feeling Energized and Inspired!

I am very tired tonight. School is catching up with me, as we’re approaching mid term, but overall, I am feel really great on the Whole 30 Challenge. I am feeling more energetic in general, and my energy levels seem to be getting more consistent. I am actually motivated to go to the gym, versus dragging my butt there. A welcome change! Its been a while since I have felt naturally inspired to go. Last week I started training for the Vancouver Sun Run in April, and today, I signed up with a local Paleo trail running group. We are going to be running Saturday mornings. I’m excited to connect with some like mided people and finally get out on some of the local trails.

I also weighted myself today. We are not supposed to during the Whole30 Challenge, as the focus is not meant to be on weight, but I admit, I did. I don’t care if I don’t lose weight, but I definitely care about gaining it. Since I have been eating such high levels of fat, I wanted to make sure that I am not packing it on around my thighs! Some habits die hard.

So, how much? I’ve lost 3 pounds in the last 11 day. :D

I am not announcing this to convince others to try it out. I will use other means for that. I just want to demonstrate that low fat diets are not the best way, and certainly not the healthiest way, to lose weight. I have probably consumed at least 50% of my calories in healthy fats in the last ten days and have been losing weight.

…I will get in to the rationale around that at a later date though. For now, it’s bed time! 

Here is my food diary for the past few days:

Monday January 9, 2012

Breakfast

Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil
2 baby sausage links
2 scrambled eggs
½ avocado

Lunch

Shredded chicken in large spinach salad with 2 tbsp kalamata olives, 6 cherry tomatoes, 2 tbsp cilantro, ½ avocado, 1 tbsp. EVOO, lemon

Dinner

2/3 batch of Cauliflower fried “rice” – Fried up in a tbsp coconut oil: ½ large head cauliflower shredded with cheese grater, ½ onion, ½ green pepper, 4 thick strips bacon (locally made), 3 eggs

This is a photo of a batch I made before the challenge, which had peas in it. As peas are not Paleo I substituted green pepper.

Image

 

Tuesday January 10, 2012

Breakfast

Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil
2/3  of: 3 scrambled eggs with 1c mixed cherry tomatoes, onion, green pepper, 1c spinach, and 2 diced baby sausage links
1/3 avocado

Lunch

2c left over Cauliflower fried “rice” topped with 1/3 breakfast scramble

Snack

Small coffee with 1 1/2 tsp EVCO (extra virgin coconut oil)
1-2 tsp EVCO off a spoon

Dinner

Shredded chicken in large spinach salad with 2 tbsp kalamata olives, 6 cherry tomatoes, 2 tbsp cilantro, 1 ½ tbsp. EVOO, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Snack

Small handful of oven roasted almonds
1 c. toasted coconut flakes tossed in ½ sea salt, ¼ tsp cinnamon
Bowl of frozen blueberries

 

Wednesday January 11, 2012

Breakfast

Americano with ¾ tsp coconut oil
3 scrambled eggs
1/3 avocado

Lunch

Apple
Shredded chicken cabbage wraps

Image

Snack

2 hard boiled eggs (only thing I could buy at the café that was an approved food)
1 c. fresh fruit salad (only thing I could buy at the café that was an approved food)

Workout

Sun Run training week 3: 7x 6 min intervals 5 min run 5.5-6.0 / walk 1 min at 3.7 5 min on both ends for warm up / cool down. Stretching

Dinner

Large piece of salmon seared in 1 tsp coconut oil, then baked
½ small yam, mashed w ½ tbsp. olive oil
2-3c spinach, sautéed in ½ tsp coconut oil

 

 

Day 8: Whole30 Challenge – Weekend Summary

January 8, 2012

I have been going coconut crazy this week! I have replaced my body and facial moisturizers with coconut oil, I have been using it in my hair, I’ve eaten it almost every meal, and last night, I even toasted it for a snack. A-mazing by the way! I got this simple recipe (I upped the cinnamon) from The Clothes Make the Girl blog. It is a great replacement for chips or popcorn, and can be made savoury, salty, or sweet-ish (of course no sugar added).

I have been eating a lot more than I ate before the Whole30 challenge, because my veggie intake is so high and I haven’t been skipping meals. My fat intake is also way higher than usual. I’d guess at least half my calories are coming from good quality fats. Yet, I’ve lost 1 pound in the last 5 days, so I’m a happy girl! I will be keeping a close eye on the scale though…

Yesterday I went to a local farmer’s market store and got some great buys on local, pasture-raised and-fed beef, chicken, and eggs. I couldn’t believe how good the prices were! Cheaper than the big grocery stores in town, and not grain-fed, or CAFO!! Plus they make their own sausage and smoke their bacon on-site. I can’t wait ‘til breakfast tomorrow! I will be promoting Red Barn Market as long as I live on Vancouver Island. I am sure I will mention them a lot in the future.

I made it to the gym both days this weekend, so I got in my 3 minimum workouts this week. Week 1 of 52 – check! In addition to weights, I started the SportsMed BC “In-training Sun Run Training program.” I started on week 2 and am following the program to build up my endurance so I can run for at least an hour. It’s a bit annoying at this stage, because I really don’t need to walk as much as it says, but 2 years ago I injured myself by skipping ahead, and didn’t run much again until a few months ago, so I am sucking it up 2-3 times per week and then doing shorter, faster sessions once per week.

When I got home from the gym today I cooked up a big batch of shredded chicken in the Joy of Cooking chili-garlic marinade, and portioned it out in to 6 servings for the week ahead, plus one for dinner tonight! This cooking protein in batches thing has been great for me – a big time and money saver for this busy student! Money-saver long-term that is… I have spent a ton of money on groceries in the last week, but my fridge and freezer are now full of protein and all the staples. For the rest of the month I should only need to pick up fresh veggies and eggs. We’ll see how it goes. I am tracking my bills and will announce at the end how much this all cost me. (Until then, I will just gather and ignore my receipts.)

This Weekend’s Food Diary:

Saturday January 7, 2012

Breakfast
2 scrambled eggs
2-3c. spinach, sautéed in coconut oil
Americano w/ 1 tsp virgin coconut oil

Lunch
125g baked turkey breast (made in-house from the Market – salt & pepper are only seasoning)
apple

Workout:
Sun Run training #2 – 5 minute warm up, 8x 1 min run 5.5 – 6.0, 0 – 2.0 incline / 4 min walk 3.7 – 3.9, 0 – 2.0 incline, 5 minute cool down
Back and bicep workout

Dinner
Lamb burger patty on Portobello mushroom (mushroom coated in 1/2tsp coconut oil)
Home-made yam fries made from ½ yam coated in herbs, coconut oil, and olive oil

Snack
1c. toasted organic coconut flakes (packaged) tossed in ½ tsp. cinnamon and ¼ tsp sea-salt

Sunday January 8, 2012

Breakfast
Leftover lamb burger patty on Portobello mushroom (mushroom coated in 1/2tsp coconut oil)
Scoop of sauerkraut
2-3c. spinach, sautéed in 1tsp coconut oil
Americano w/ 1 tsp virgin coconut oil

Workout:
Speed intervals on treadmill. I ran for 30 minutes consistently, between 5.0 – 6.5, at 1 – 2 minute intervals, with a 5 min warm-up and 10 min cool down. Then stretching and a bit of abs.

Lunch
Big steak salad – 1 left over quick fry steak, 3c. spinach, 6 cherry tomatoes, 1/4 avocado, cilantro, 1/8c. diced kalamata olives dressed in 2 tbsp EVOO 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Snack
Americano w/ 1 tsp virgin coconut oil

Dinner
Shredded chicken mock tacos – 3 shredded chicken thighs cooked in Joy of Cooking Chili Garlic Rub in 3 cabbage leaves with ½ mashed avocado with lime and 1/4 c. sauerkraut 2c. kale sautéed w/ garlic in olive oil on the side