Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Short Post on Frankenfood...Just My Opinion

I belong to a private HAES (health at every size) food group on Facebook. Every day, members post pictures of mouth-watering foods that they not only eat, but are also not afraid to eat. "Bravo!" I say.


The other day, someone posted a picture of a dessert she'd made. I asked for the recipe, and she kindly posted it.

With the exception of the featured fruit, the recipe contained nothing but a long list of highly processed foods. Not even any real whipping cream, just Cool Whip.

Honestly, I wouldn't make this if you paid me. It has nothing to do with the sugar content. It has nothing to do with the calories. It has everything to do with the fact that virtually all the ingredients are what I call "frankenfoods"--dishes that come from foods essentially made in a lab, instead of from ingredients found in the ground, the water, trees, etc.--and BTW, I include good chocolate in the category of "real food."

I'm not planning to call her out on this pseudo-food. It's her business. And it's the business of anyone else who wants to make this no doubt tasty, but horrific concoction.

I'll stick to real food. Not because real food will make me slim. It won't. It will just help keep me healthy.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reductive...and I'm not talking about weight loss!

Today, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this article comparing school lunches in France and the US.

Not surprisingly, the French lunches are more beautiful, delicious and nutritious than the swill that often passes for food in the States.

However, as usual, the article starts with what the author feels is most important: not that French school lunches are both more nutritious and more interesting, but that these lunches explain, at least in part, why French children don't get fat. First of all, although obesity rates in France are much lower than in Canada or the US (according to the World Fact Book, published by the CIA!!, in the obesity sweepstakes the US ranks 18th, Canada 48th and France 108th), I seriously doubt there are no fat French children. Having visited France several times, I can attest to the fact that there is a typical French body type. The French are often small--certainly much shorter than the Dutch--and have a fine-boned, slight build. But that does not mean that every French person has that build.

I am furious at the reductionist vision of food that passes for mainstream thought in today's world: it's only good inasmuch as it doesn't make you fat.

And as to why French children (or, let's say a higher percentage of French children) are not fat, I can think of a host of reasons that have nothing to do with the wonderful food they eat. How about genetics, more active transportation, a better social safety net (as evidenced by the amazing food provided in the schools) that results in better outcomes related to the social determinants of health?

I fully support better, healthier foods in the schools and on all our plates because such food certainly contributes to making us healthier, though not necessarily lighter.

Here's a picture that I found on the Internet by googling "French food." It's not so different from the kind of food my family eats here in Canada, but I am certainly looking forward to trying a variety of delightful French foods and dishes on my upcoming visit to France!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I have a tendancy... read weight loss blogs, despite the fact that I feel that intentional weight loss, unlike intentionally seeking to lead a healthier life, is certainly not the right thing for me.

I just checked in on one of these blogs a few minutes ago and felt that I must make an effort to not read this particular blogger.

This person is well-intentioned, incredibly hard-working and certainly a fine person. However, they (I'm using the indefinite pronoun to avoid identifying the person's gender) are constantly tearing themselves apart about eating the RIGHT and the WRONG foods. Everything is linked back to "addiction": X makes me feel sluggish, Y causes pain, Z should never be touched. The limits and strictures this person sets on their food consumption are absolutely painful to observe.

So I must break my addiction to this blog.

Now, off to eat such frightening foods as chicken, sweet potatoes, dried fruits, nuts, apples, honey, matzah...Yes, it's Passover!!

Chag sameach to anyone who's celebrating this holiday of freedom.

May we all live in freedom!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Better Health: What It's All About (and the answer isn't dieting...)

Sorry to be so absent. Busy, busy.

I thought it would be worthwhile posting a link to this article, "What if we all just stopped trying to lose weight?", yet another article that skillfully decouples health from weight loss.

The basic idea is that weight loss is a possible side-effect of healthier habits, but that "dieting"--in other words, the conscious reduction of calories or strict adherence to a special way of eating (no sugar, paleo, etc.)--is not, in of itself, a healthy habit. I think, in fact, that the boomerang effect of acting as your own "food police" often causes a lot more bad than good. For the vast majority of people, dieting is akin to holding your breath. Eventually, you have to take in some oxygen, often in great gulps--sort of like bingeing after restriction.

If you're interested in good health, WALK, SWIM, EAT FRUITS AND VEGGIES, LOVE YOUR FAMILY, MEDITATE, TAKE A TRIP TO PARIS (hmm, I know someone who's going to do that pretty soon...). And let the weight settle where it wants.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Food Sobriety"

Once in a while--OK, more often than I should--I check out some very intense weight loss blogs.

Today, I spent a few minutes reading a blogger who proudly announced how many months she has maintained "food sobriety." If it works for her, it's not my business. She seems to be happy. But there are so many people for whom "perfect eating" becomes a constant source of self-hate, because most people just can't stay perfect all the time. I feel for them deeply.

Food: the new danger. Gag me with a spoon (what an appropriate metaphor!).