Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Diets Don't Work and Balance Does

You all had great comments in my "Baby Steps" thread! Now I'm going to take the risk that you might be completely sick of the food topic, and just share a little bit of my history. Why am I worrying about and studying into this stuff so much?

I've never had problems with being overweight (though my weight fluctuates 5-10 lbs rather easily if I'm not careful). But when I was a teenager (Somewhere around 16), I decided that I didn't like my body the way it was. I joined a gym and started working out a lot. I also decided to try to follow a super-healthy diet. I don't even remember now where I got my information from, but somehow I decided that in order to be healthy I should cut out fat from my diet almost completely.

That was not a good idea! While I still occasionally allowed myself a bit of protein in the form of almond butter, egg whites, or lean chicken, my diet mostly consisted of grains and vegetables. I was essentially a vegetarian, with a few exceptions, and probably not eating enough of the protein substitutes and good fats that even vegetarians recommend.

I believe my misguided attempts at health were even more detrimental because of my age. Teenage girls need (good) fat in their diets! Everybody does, particularly women! I now believe that my diet contributed to messing up my inner balance (hormones, etc.) and made me more tired and less healthy than I had been previously. And while I did gain some nice muscle tone from working out, my diet didn't help me become as skinny as I thought I should be.

It's by God's grace that I didn't carry that nonsense a step further and become anorexic or something like some teenage girls do. Instead, I became somewhat depressed (hormonal imbalance, probably helped along by the diet!) and gave up on the whole thing.

That experience has helped me to see how dangerous dieting can be. But I also know how detrimental it is to eat the "typical American" way, and believe that I would easily become fat and flabby (and more tired than ever!) if I didn't make an effort to eat healthfully.

Hence, my foray into serious study of this subject. I want to create an "Eating Lifestyle" for my family that is fresh, balanced(!) and natural. I want to get rid of most of the foods that don't have any nutritious value (except that I'll still make desserts the good old-fashioned way from time to time!) and replace them with foods bursting with nutritious goodness. I definitely want to incorporate plenty of good and natural fats into our menus (olive oil, fresh meats and dairy products).

If I seem overly-ambitious about this thing...I probably am. It's my nature to be...let's say, "thorough" ;o) But I really appreciate your encouragement to find the balance here, too. There are other things in my life right now that warrant just as much or more attention than what we eat, and I can't become fixated on this one thing, ignoring things like the necessity of our budget, or other areas where my time should be spent. I thank God for my sweet, patient husband who reminds me again and again that he loves me whether I do everything perfectly or not:o)

I believe healthy eating is a worthy goal, and I will continue to pursue it. But I'll try to do so in little steps, instead of giant leaps that send me sprawling flat on my face:o)


Blogger Mrs. J said...

This is my understanding:

Perfect Manners & Very Thorough: write the website source for the picture and ask permission. This doesn't always work since the site may have been abandoned and thus you may not get a response.

Pretty Much polite: download the picture to your desktop, then upload it to your blog with a note/link saying where you got the picture. This is the most universally accepted and commonly used etiquitte, from what I can tell.

Borderline Rude: download the picture to your computer and put it on your blog without a credit/link saying where you got it. (unfortunately this is where I usually fall on the spectrum).

Completely Rude: upoad the picture straight from its original website to your blog, thus using the other person's server/bandwidth for your own purposes (I learned this one the hard way).

Where to find photos: google image and those belonging to friends family.

That's what I've learned in my brief blog life thus far.

12:02 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Completely Rude: upoad the picture straight from its original website to your blog, thus using the other person's server/bandwidth for your own purposes (I learned this one the hard way).

O.k. I am not good at technical stuff. So if you see an image on someone's site and you download it to your computer then you are not 'using the other person's server or bandwidth'? (I'm not sure what that means but it doesn't sound good)

Am I understanding things correctly?

12:38 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

I hope you don't feel judged by me based on my comments...I didn't mean it that way at all! I was just sharing my thoughts. (o:

12:40 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Mrs. J- Thanks! I'm afraid I've fallen into the "rude" categories for the most part...although not intentionally trying to be so :op
Now I can try to do better! I'd also appreciate more information about the "using someone else's server" bit, if you can explain that! I'm with Mrs. B...not good at this stuff:o)

Mrs. B...I'm not even sure which comments you're referring too...because I never feel like you're judging me or coming across inappropriately! You're one of the sweetest bloggers and comment-leavers out there:o)

12:51 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs. J said...

I was a Lit Major myself, so this is all new to me too:

When you drag a picture from someone else's site directly to your own, your computer somehow has to "commune" with theirs to get the picture every time someone looks at the picture on your site--in that case you are using their internet time (which in some cases costs them $ or causes their computer to slow way down.

If you download the picture to your own computer (get a special file for your blog pix) then you are no longer barging into their computer's system every time the picture comes up on your blog.

It would be equlivalent to taking someone's book as opposed to copying the quote you want from their book.

A lot of pictures sites (snapfish/flickr/ringo) often offer you a change to "blog this picture" and by following directions you can perfectly and politely use people's photo's on your blog.

2:04 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Great explanation, Mrs. J! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about this!:o)

2:12 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Thanks Mrs. J!

So if I'm understanding correctly...when I see a picture and I right click 'save as' then I'm not harming anyone's computer. Is that correct? (Forgive my ignorance) (o:

2:21 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.B. said...

I'm glad I didn't hurt your feelings Erin. Sometimes when we talk about something on our blogs(such as your food research) and we receive criticism or mild rebuke then it can discourage us and I didn't want to do that. I think what you're doing is great...I was just trying to remind you to keep it in balance.

2:28 PM, April 13, 2006  
Blogger Mrs. J said...

Mrs. B, that's right--and if you credit them with the picture you are generally above reproach.

No problem, Erin, I'm learning this myself so explaining it was a good exercise for me!

7:26 PM, April 13, 2006  
Anonymous Mother Bear In Christ. said...

Here is an excellent series of cookbooks.
got to Amazon and type in "King Arthur Flour Cookbook"

Eating healthy is half the battle.

Think about what God had people eat in the bible, and why?

Sweating and drinking lots of filtered water is excellent too.

Also, accepting that everything is poluted to some extent. pray over your carefuly selected foods. God Provides.

Beware of organic. The methods they use to grow the food, are not nessisarly "good"

Pesticide freaks alot of people out.
As it does me.

Consider growing your own tomatoes.
Cucumbers, okra, melons.

You don't need alot of space, as some people may think.

Some of my favorite meals-

Quiche (whole wheat pie dough)

Mexican dishes. (Vegitarian refried beans and ground beef)

Salmon- in Cassroles and on english muffin with veggies mayo and cheese.
Put under the broiler.

A george foreman grill makes great chicken, beef, lamb or whatever.
Cut in slices and put on a salad, or make a potluck/ potato salad. with pastas...

I hope this helps, I'll be around if you want more info, Feel free to pick my brains.

7:33 AM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Mother Bear In Christ. said...

oops, here's the link,
very affordible stuff.

7:35 AM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Mother Bear In Christ. said...

My grandma put it rightly,
"A little sugar won't hurt you"
She was a Polish woman.
She walked alot :Didn't drive:
and had a garden and chickens.
She Loved her Ginger ale, 2 times a week she would walk down and buy one at the local gas station..
She also ate pie, cake, kolachies.
at least twice a week.
Shared all she had.

She drank coffie in the morning,
Made bisquits for the Mailman.
Ate real food. worked hard.
But she wasn't fat.
She was a little chubby.

Used Shortning, and Butter!
High fat right?
She lived to be 90.
She died peacefully.
Of old age.
It's not gonna hurt you folks.
YES, moderation is the key.
Our sociaty is waaay to lazy,
Go help your neighbor pull weeds.
walk someones dog.
I think our focus needs some tweeking.
We need a Christ centred life, Seek his Rightiousness. and Everything else will be added unto you. Die to self, you know?
But that dosen't mean you should not enjoy every bite of ice cream or pie.

Give God a smile and say thank you.
Share it with your neighbor

8:31 AM, April 14, 2006  
Anonymous Mother Bear In Christ. said...

I don't mean to come across harsh, the point is,
Commune with God while eating.
Have a greatful heart.
Tell him how tasty it is,
how thankful you are.
I garontee you WILL be satisfied with your portion.
Share your life with Him.
Don't obsess about it.

*Smiles warmly*

8:39 AM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Mrs. Wilt said...

I know what you mean about obsession with food. I myself developed near-anorexia in high school and college because I wanted to be a size 4. I would do whatever it took to fit into that size. It was unhealthy, unsafe, and completely, nonsensically (is that really a word?)obsessive.
It took a lot of prayer for me to get past the point of endangering my health for a number. I began to eat more healthily, and my size DID increase (having 2 babies doesn't help in that area much, either!), but I felt better about myself.
I am wanting to get back into better shape again, but I have learned my lesson concerning my body. It is God's temple, and it is my responsibility to maintain it for His glory. :o)

Best wishes as you seek out nutritional balance for your family! :o)

In His joy,
Mrs. Wilt

5:45 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Mrs.R said...

Prescription for Dietary Wellness by Balch is a good book on the nutritional value of foods.

9:15 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Kimi Harris said...

Hey Erin,
I just wanted to share a few more thoughts on that book Norishing Traditions from my personal experience. Like I said, there are some things I don't agree with, but for the most part I would like to do most of the stuff she recommands eventually and as much as possible. But I am only doing a few things at a time to get used to it. Husbands can be picky, but it is amazing how you can change your own and others taste buds by going into something slowly too! Because of a health issue I went on a very strict cleansing diet for two weeks. Two weeks isn't that long, but it was amazing how quickly things I wouldn't have liked before started tasting good to me! To me it was encouraging because I felt like I could get used to certain foods or way of eating.
Anyway, the few things that we have changed in our diet was first off making all of our own salad dressings from quality ingredients and trying to eat salads more often. We found this wasn't very hard since it only takes a few minutes to prepare a dressing and stick it in the fridge! I also would buy a few heads of lettuce and wash and store it so it was ready for a week of salads.
We also culture milk into kefir which was totally scary at first but is so, so easy to do. I still do not like the taste of it alone, but we make fruit smooties with it for breakfast which is so good. Non-healthy eaters love it. I also use it to soak my flour for muffins and pancakes (these are certainly denser then white flour muffins but I have learned to enjoy them. The pancakes are better then the muffins, in my opinion.)
And we don't hold back on eating butter and animal fats. One of our favorite meals is roasted chicken (her recipe) with gravy (the recipe in her book made with wine), mashed potoates (made with cream, butter, salt), carrot salad and a nice green salad with a homemade vinegarette. You definitely don't feel like you are on a health food diet with this meal and husband generally don't feel deprived either! : ) Let me once again assure other readers, my husband and I are both quite small.
; ) Some people have actually lost weight after cutting out white flour and sugar and adding in more animal fats (such as butter) and olive oil!
I also just wanted to mention that some of her recipes call for a way to long cooking time! So if you try anything out you might want to check it half way through or something.
We also have been able to convert some of our favorite recipes to her standards if we didn't like her version of a dish.
I have to admit that it's hard to find the right balance of eating things that will actually help your body but not freaking out about food!
Thanks for the interesting topic!


10:22 PM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger Kristen said...

I love this topic. :) Ryan and I have been striving to eat in a healthy way, too, and we see it as you do: everyone needs healthy carbs, protein and fats.

8:44 AM, April 18, 2006  

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