Friday, August 29, 2014

Diary of a Diet

Diets! Aaaah! Run! Is this another one of those juice cleanses?!

Nope. In fact, I hate diets that have a sole purpose of losing weight. Mind you, I've had a variety of types of diets over the years; I was gluten-free for almost 5 years, and I've been a vegetarian for a short 6-month stint, as well. But - and this is a big 'but' (no pun intended) - I've never been on one of those diets with the main priority to be weight loss. My dieting has usually stemmed from a desire to be healthier, or has been in response to a medical need to change my diet (as was the case when I abandoned gluten). 

This trans-oceanic move has taken a lot out of me, and I've found lately that my energy levels aren't quite what they used to be. I've also been bingeing on a lot of rich, fatty foods and consuming my fair share of this hemisphere's wine production since we've arrived, so it's high time to get myself back to a health-conscious state. Not to mention, cheese goes straight to the hips, so here goes: 

This time around, instead of "giving up" anything, per se, I am going to be giving a Food Pairing diet a test drive for two weeks. After that time, I'll evaluate how I'm feeling, how I've been eating, and see if I'd like to continue it, or try a different route. Let's break down the basics of food pairing, and feel free to follow along on the chart pictured above:

Concept: The body digests different foods in different ways, and by eating certain foods in combination, you can actually hinder the digestion process. This results in more waste contained instead of eliminated, lack of energy, and higher fat absorption from foods. By pairing (or not pairing) certain types of foods together, it is possible to optimize the processing of these foods for maximum nutritional value.

Basics of Pairing: This diet has a sort of bottom line - three points that pretty much sum up the details, and make it easy to choose what to eat. 

1. Most vegetables are neutral. They pair with anything, the only exception being fruit (see rule #3).
2. Meat and proteins, and starches/grains cannot be paired together. Meat/protein can be paired with vegetables, and starches/grains can be paired with vegetables, but not together. The body can only digest one at a time properly. 
3. Fruit needs to be eaten alone. In order to process the natural sugars properly, your stomach should be pretty much empty, and you should avoid eating anything for 1/2 an hour after consuming fruit.

So that's it, really! There are finer points, and nice little charts (like the I've pictured here) help to visualize it a little more. My husband is completely appalled by the concept of avoiding meat & potatoes together, but it's not really an issue for me. I love vegetation. I prefer to eat vegetables, and I always have. The truth is, when I had a short vegetarian stint, it was because I lived alone, didn't buy meat really, and was perfectly content eating vegetables and seafood, and soy proteins like tofu, and didn't think twice about it. So far, it's been easy and I haven't really noticed a difference in the way I eat, other than passing up the potatoes at the table for another helping of string beans. So far, so good this week, and I'm looking forward to seeing progress!

This might give you an idea of what I'd have for lunch: soba noodles with shredded cabbage, spring onion and cilantro (coriander) in a sesame soy vinaigrette. Super yum!

If you've tried this diet, or another one that you've got any advice about, feel free to comment below!

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