Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Real feelings and fake KFC

The elimination diet that I have been talking about, devised by Dr Alejandro Junger, is about eliminating foods that cause inflammation and therefore pain, in the body. The list of foods is long, you can google it to see what they are. I wrote earlier of my despondency with superfoods, which are a central tenet of this diet. I was missing the foods I loved, and becoming a bit suspect on the claims made by some of the manufacturers.

Shortly after that post I decided to do the 21 day first phase again, and recalibrate. I was getting too free and easy with a lot of restricted foods, with the result that my back and hips were once again aching and I was irritable and tired. In spite of my regular yoga, and mostly on track eating. I just didn't feel as good as when I was 'eliminating'. (Yuck. Sorry. It's not actually that kind of 'eliminating'). It was obvious to me that there was something to this. Time to start again. But first a little reflection on the difficulties I had last time. Learn from those mistakes.

sharp shock

I am simultaneously reading Michael Pollan's "In Defence of Food" and Steven Poole's "You Aren't What You Eat- Fed Up With Gastroculture".

 Both these books are doing a fair job of dismantling my core life philosophy, and highlighting just how bamboozling, contrived and wrong Western food science/culture is. Nice one.

I have spent two days living that very zen experience of having my ego destroyed. Realising that all which I value and am valued for may be superficial and facetious. While undertaking a crazy, faddist diet chock full of untested and trendy super-foods, which cost the earth (monetarily and maybe environmentally) and may actually be messing with my hormones/adrenal system, which I am trying to fix.


Fascinating stuff.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

superfood fatigue and quinoa fritters

I have been feeling a little despondent about cooking lately, not as enthusiastic as I'd previously been. Over the weekend a name was put to how I'm feeling- superfood fatigue.

I'm getting tired of doing the superfood dance. I have seen enough kale to last me a lifetime. But I'm definitely not alone. Maybe how I'm feeling has driven my reading, but at the moment there are a few people having a diet crisis, questioning the longevity of the paleo/vegan/elimination/sugar-free lifestyle. Have a look here and here and here for some really interesting insights into people dealing with the big, daily issue of what and how to eat.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

bone stock

I got a few fat beef marrow bones yesterday and put them in a pot to make stock. I'm drinking some now.
Bone stocks are a fundamental element of the wholefood way of eating and symbol of the tenets of this regime- heal, nourish, delight. Bone stocks are a deeply nourishing, warming and delightful treat for your body.

As a chef, stock making is a foundation skill that all my cooking is based on. But at home I'd given it up. Couldn't be bothered.
Too much trouble.
Too fiddly.
What was I thinking?

the new regime, old habits and breakfast

As I mentioned earlier, I have been on an elimination diet to reduce inflammation for about three months. But for the past month I have been wavering, attempting to see which foods I can re-introduce. This process is difficult for me, because I have long standing and deeply entrenched diet mentality, which generally means if I am 'off' then it is 'on', a free for all. I found it hard to re-introduce one food at a time, because, well, dairy products usually accompany eggs, and wheat, in the from of 'cake' or 'muffins' see? One in, all in. On it, or off it.

The first disruption to the good diet routine was the change in weather. The breakfast shake was making me feel cold and sluggish, and it goes against all the TCM advice about the best foods to eat for this time of year. As you'd expect in autumn, I was craving hot oats, toast and peanut butter, gallons of tea.

So I gave in. Ate that stuff. Got achy, got loopy in the mind, got cross with myself. Decided that being on the regime was better than being off it and so I'd have to work out the new way to live with this diet, because it was here to stay.

Friday, May 10, 2013

not always so serious

All day long I talk about food, and wholefood, how to cook food, ways of thinking about food, and the benefits of eating wholefood. All day. I'm surprised anyone even likes me. I can see how I could be a bit boring and/or intimidating. Food is a subject I'm passionate about, and more recently my passion has included the subject of how one's health is so deeply connected to what one consumes.

When you are into wholefood, once you have gained an understanding of what that means, you find yourself spending a lot of time soaking, fermenting, sprouting, culturing, boiling, braising and washing foods to prepare them to be eaten. It all becomes very serious, the tasks of breaking down nutrient inhibitors, removing toxic layers, encouraging good bacterial growth. It's all about what you must do to the food, before the food can work for you. Serious stuff.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

so easy to make, you'll never buy it again - Almond Milk

Recently I embarked on an anti-inflammatory diet regime. I say 'embarked' because it is a journey and I am still on the path, having ventured off it to my detriment. The beauty of this diet is that, for me, the results (decreased pain) were swift and the consequences of wavering from the regime were equally as swift (returned pain).

The 3 week elimination diet kickstarts with a shake, meal, shake system, which I totally ignored, because no regime that denies me dinner is ever going to stick. Luckily I am a chef and once I unearthed the rules and reasoning I was able to adapt the ingredients of a shake to a meal with no loss of effect (well, I think, anyway!)

But the breakfast shake was a hit, I loved them and the world of superfoods opened up to me. There was just one icky part for me- finding acceptable milk replacements.