If you follow me or know me, you know I’m a nut for healthy eating (punctuated with intermittent chocolate and pizza because not giving those up). However as I get into eating healthy, I also find tons of BS, bad advice, and ignorant ideas. I’d like to cut loose on a few.
Read on. It’ll probably give you ammo next time some pretentious git gets up in your face.
Please note that, since so much BS surrounds food, I’m SURE some of my ideas are flawed as well. I did my best to cover the ones I’m sure of, but no doubt I’ll have some regrets later, at least from what I didn’t include.
THERE IS NO IDEAL DIET FOR EVERYONE
Anyone pitching the perfect diet is wrong. Even people I admire or who are 90% right about stuff tend to do this, and its sad and irritating and wrong. Some diets are so wrong for certain people they’re unhealthy.
We all have different needs, situations, challenges, and advantages. We have to find the diet that works for us. This is where reading up and a good doctor help.
(I also take this personally as it’s hard to recommend a book to someone, then add “but this part is BS.”)
The best advice I ever heard for diets that is applicable across the board boils down to:
- Eat diversely (my fave is the power plate, equal amounts of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables. If you add animal products its just a part of that)
- Eat the least processed food you can.
THERE IS NO SUPERFOOD
Gods save us from the stupid “X food will solve your problems” diets. Yeah, they are usually obviously BS but still people fall for them and then the BS makes its way into mainstream though. This is simply not true.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t absolutely AWESOME foods that are great for various reasons. its just they won’t solve all your problems. I do recommend finding awesome foods you like, but none is your perfect food.
By the way my perfect foods are:
- Cabbage – Low cal, so many nutrients, so easy to use.
- Chickpea flour -You can make anything with it, it’s got protein and fiber.
- Garbanzo beans – Serve them straight up, mash them into hummus, make them into a casserole.
- Peanut Butter – Protein, fats, delicious.
- Spinach – Just a good green.\
Anyway, find your own superfoods.
EATING OUT IS FINE
We often hear eating out is bad for us, but that usually focuses on restaurants delivering highly prepared calorie bombs. But that’s only one kind of eating out – going to some pricey place that loads you up with unhealthy stuff.
First, delis and supermarkets and local markets often have tons of great premade food. This food, prepared there (or nearby) is close to home cooking on a larger scale. Read labels, ask about preparations, and see if they do anything custom.
Secondly, plenty of places that make food have cold or frozen premade meals of equal quality to their deli (usually, they’re the deli in a package).
Finally, some restaurants make healthy food, post calorie counts and ingredients, and will do custom stuff for you. This lets you eat reasonably healthy.
Let’s face it, going to a deli, eating out, etc. is sometimes easier. So don’t feel guilty. Heck, in some cases it doesn’t cost much more than doing it yourself.
By the way, some of the best places I’ve found are specialty and ethnic markets. The food there is often fresh, well-made, and uses good ingredients. I usually go to a local Asian market for quick locally-made bentos, and another local market is my go-to for guacamole.
PRECUT/SHREDDED/SLICED FOOD IS OK
Look, I’m for decreasing unneeded packaging. I hate waste. I know that buying pre-cut foods and such may be excessive.
Know what? Some people need that.
Maybe you’re in such a rush you don’t want to shred a damn cabbage. Fine, buy pre-cut.
Maybe you’ve got a physical challenge and aren’t up for cutting vegetables for thirty minutes. Fine, buy pre-sliced.
Maybe you’re stressed or facing other mental challenges and don’t want to plan preparing something complex. Good, get something pre-shredded.
Yes, it involves waste, so recycle the containers properly. Sure, it’d be nice if you could take reusable containers to stores to get a quart of cut onions or something. Maybe we can work towards less waste as a people.
But until then, don’t shame people for using pre-cut food and the like. Life’s tough.
CANNED/FROZEN/ANYTHING IS PROBABLY PRETTY GOOD
Look, as noted I love fresh food. It’s the best thing for you. Sometimes you have to get “fresh-ish” with canned or frozen foods. Look, I dunno about you but I’m not going to spend a ton of time preparing garbanzo beans just to mash them into hummus.
From what I can tell canned or frozen vegetables, prepared properly and right after harvest, are pretty good. Just make sure its not got a lot of added stuff that’s not good for you (added salt, preservatives).
Also cans are easy to store, take on trips, last long, and don’t use power to keep. So extra advantages.
THERE’S NO NEED TO COOK FANCY MEALS
Cookbooks and cooking magazines have lovely spreads with all sorts of beautiful foods. Then you read the recipes and some of them take a load of time and effort which you don’t have.
I love to cook. I love to make food. I also know sometimes we don’t have the time or ingredients or want to make an effort. Know what? It’s OK to not make fancy stuff or complex meals, no matter how the magazine pictures look.
Let’s take a look at a poki bowl, that food fad popping up everywhere. Know what it is? A bunch of stuff in a bowl with a sauce. “Stuff in a bowl with a sauce” is a common form of food all over the place, but we act like it’s fancy or special if we slap a name on it and charge fifteen bucks.
A few ideas for you:
- A classic “bowl meal” Idea I’ve seen is just mix a cup of cooked rice, 1-2 cups of greens (probably steamed in a microwave), and half a can of beans. Then throw on some spices or flavoring, and you’re done.
- Kimchi allows you to transform any pile of stuff into a spicy pile of stuff. It’s a staple for me.
- Chazuke, the classic Japanese quickie of rice+green tea gave me plenty of ideas. Basically I make a bowl meal, but add an herbal tea (usually lemon or ginger) and a few spices, and instant soup. By the way, lemon tea and garlic tastes a lot like chicken for some reason.
Sometimes I have sat down to a pile of greens with lemon juice for dressing and a bowl of garbanzo beans in soy sauce. Done.
SO THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS
So that’s my thoughts on food and food BS. Hope they help out. Feel free to add other ideas, or tell me where I’m wrong – it’s not like I knew this stuff immediately, I had to learn it.