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WDYT- Diet and health in America


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5 hours ago, soror said:

Thank you for the article, as it points out what works well for one may not work for another but we don't have the knowledge we need and we have lost the skill of listening to our body. 

 

 

You don't need knowledge, and sometimes listening to your body tells you to do exactly the wrong thing.  We already have continuous glucose monitors.  All we need is widespread approval for off label use and for people to keep a photo diary of their plates before and after they eat on their smart phones.

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I think our culture is unnecessarily obsessed with food, diet and with trying to control other people.  Additionally, food choices are seen as moral choices, when much of the time they are personal pr

I hear you. Loud and clear. But I don't have any answers other than I think we all need to get over ourselves. Everyone thinks "their" way of eating is the right way, and anyone who doesn't do it thei

Personally, I'm skeptical of the push to follow the latest craze in eating. It's mind-numbing, and these things tend to boomerang. If people want to judge my food choices as moral or immoral, they can

24 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

You don't need knowledge, and sometimes listening to your body tells you to do exactly the wrong thing.  We already have continuous glucose monitors.  All we need is widespread approval for off label use and for people to keep a photo diary of their plates before and after they eat on their smart phones.

"Listening to your body" doesn't necessarily mean having a craving and heeding it.  It means becoming aware of what foods might make you feel sluggish, what ones make you feel satiated while still feeling good, how to distinguish thirst from hunger, and a myriad other cues that our bodies give us but which are drowned out in today's modern society. 

I could give you a photo diary of what I eat as an obese person and it would not explain my weight problem.  I eat appropriate portions (as I have repeatedly been told by nutritionists who have measured my food).  I eat tons of fresh whole foods. 

You know what has worked FOR ME?  Upping my magnesium intake dramatically.  And actually increasing my food a bit each day.  Also going gluten free (I most likely have celiac disease as does my daughter but at least am non-celiac gluten intolerant).   Magnesium has been the most helpful because it has changed my insulin sensitivity for the better. 

I'm almost at the point where if someone criticized my food one more time they are going to get a punch in the nose.  (Ok - not really because I am a pretty non-confrontational.)  But I am tired of personal trainers flat out telling me that I must be lying on my food diary.  Do they not realize that it would be super stupid of me to ask for help and then not record exactly what I am eating?  I am tired of people who have no idea that the gluten free treat I picked up at the party is the only treat I have had in ages and that I have tweaked things specifically so that I can have it, giving me the stink eye. 

There is tons of information out there.  Some of it is contradictory but most advocate some form of a whole foods diet with reliance on good sources of protein and lots of vegetables and some fruits.  The OP started out talking about trying a AIP diet.  I have done them over and over again for up to six months at a time.  They don't fix my autoimmune chronic pain problem.  But I wouldn't know that if I hadn't tried it.  I'm sure that it does help some people.  For me, magnesium is doing what an AIP diet promised and failed at.  I no longer feel like I'm auditioning for The Exorcist with twisted contorted muscles that left me in so much pain.  It's not a miracle - I still have fibro.  And I also don't think that everyone in the world will necessarily benefit from what is helping me.  This is for "food as medicine" diets as well as for weight loss diets/ lifestyles. 

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As someone who is strictly gluten-free, dairy-free, and only eats grains every few months, I am relieved there are so many people following all sorts of "extreme" diets out there. It makes it so much easier for me to shop. Trying to find gluten-free stuff in the 90s (back when I could still tolerate dairy and grains) was almost impossible. While I still have to almost completely avoid restaurants, at least grocery shopping is easier. Although I am not vegan, thank you vegans for providing an incentive for manufacturers to make dairy-free alternatives for people who can't handle caesin. And although I am not paleo, because legumes don't bother me, thank you paleo people for making non-grain flour alternatives available so I can have almond flour cookies or waffles.

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On 6/9/2019 at 3:07 PM, TechWife said:

 

My son has ASD. There have been some years where my "moral" choice was allowing him to eat  "junk" food or allowing him to starve, because failure to thrive was a real risk.  So, you might want to stop where you are.

 

Absolutely the 100% truth. I am not pleased with what I feed my son with ASD, but I am glad I stopped turning every meal into a fight (because surely, fighting at the dinner table won't contribute to healthy eating attitudes and behaviors). I know what foods he will eat, and I know what he won't. There are some in-between foods that I offer periodically in the hopes that he will broaden his diet just a little, and sometimes this even includes vegetables. Now, I'm pleasantly surprised when he eats something new and likes it, rather than disappointed when I cook him a healthy meal that he won't touch. But he always has the option to drink a meal replacement shake so he won't be hungry. 

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21 hours ago, Janeway said:

Maybe we could teach kids how to cook in school when they grow up. I mean..all through school.

 

Seriously..I want to learn how to make fresh vegetables from scratch. I want to make things from fresh veggies. I can make vegetable soup. I can eat fresh veggies. That is it. Sometimes, I will see someone cooking something super yummy looking, usually someone who is from the eastern part of this world, and I want to know how to make the food. I try to hint "wow, that looks so good! I would love to know how to make it" and "I wish I could make something like that." No one ever offers to teach me. Cooking shows...they don't help me. Even western food cook books skip over "simple" steps that they just assume everyone knows. 

 

If kids get as fluent in cooking as they are expected to in anything else growing up (I know the results differ greatly from child to child, but give the kids a chance to even try) then maybe people will grow a garden and cook what comes out of it. 

The big Betty Crocker cookbook with the gingham covers has very basic information about cooking things right from the beginning., how to boil water level.

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I don't think that things have gone from bad to worse.  As others have mentioned, there is so much available out there now in healthy choices and choices that fit different dietary needs.  A lot has changed when I was wheat free 25 years ago and people would tell me that a slice of bread was ok to eat because "it was white bread, not wheat."  🙄  Though I still do have people who try to tell me that I shouldn't eat eggs because they aren't dairy free. . .  

All I have to do to find special recipes is to type in "keto dinners" or "paleo dinners" or "gluten free, dairy free ________" and I get recipes popping up on my computer.  I can use apps to find gluten free choices at various restaurants, including fast food if I really needed to for financial reasons or because I'm in an area with very few choices.  My grocery store has chopped up fruits and vegetables in the produce section if I want them for extra ease and convenience, even if they are more expensive.  There are frozen food companies like Amy's which have gluten free, vegan choices which might not be my tastiest choice but can help out if I need something very quick.  I can get fresh salads from the deli as well as rotisserie chicken.  One grocery store I shop at has a full salad bar. 

I have noticed that if I bring more healthy options to a potluck or to church, there are always takers.  I don't care if people also take a donut or slice of cake too even if I can't. 

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3 hours ago, Katy said:

You don't need knowledge, and sometimes listening to your body tells you to do exactly the wrong thing.  We already have continuous glucose monitors.  All we need is widespread approval for off label use and for people to keep a photo diary of their plates before and after they eat on their smart phones.

 

2 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:
 
 
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5 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

"Listening to your body" doesn't necessarily mean having a craving and heeding it.  It means becoming aware of what foods might make you feel sluggish, what ones make you feel satiated while still feeling good, how to distinguish thirst from hunger, and a myriad other cues that our bodies give us but which are drowned out in today's modern society. 

I mean exactly as Jean said. Paying attention to how you feel when you eat food. Paying attention to actual hunger signals, eating slowly so you have time to recognize feeling full.. What makes you feel sluggish? What gives you energy? What makes you bloat? What foods do you have  a tendency to keep eating, far past the point of being full?

I think continuous glucose monitoring is overkill for the general population but that will be a fabulous choice for some.

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2 hours ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

As someone who is strictly gluten-free, dairy-free, and only eats grains every few months, I am relieved there are so many people following all sorts of "extreme" diets out there. It makes it so much easier for me to shop. Trying to find gluten-free stuff in the 90s (back when I could still tolerate dairy and grains) was almost impossible. While I still have to almost completely avoid restaurants, at least grocery shopping is easier. Although I am not vegan, thank you vegans for providing an incentive for manufacturers to make dairy-free alternatives for people who can't handle caesin. And although I am not paleo, because legumes don't bother me, thank you paleo people for making non-grain flour alternatives available so I can have almond flour cookies or waffles.

Right.

And every time someone talks about 'a healthy diet' and doesn't add on 'for me', there is trouble in the making for some population for sure.

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5 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

"Listening to your body" doesn't necessarily mean having a craving and heeding it.  It means becoming aware of what foods might make you feel sluggish, what ones make you feel satiated while still feeling good, how to distinguish thirst from hunger, and a myriad other cues that our bodies give us but which are drowned out in today's modern society. 

I could give you a photo diary of what I eat as an obese person and it would not explain my weight problem.  I eat appropriate portions (as I have repeatedly been told by nutritionists who have measured my food).  I eat tons of fresh whole foods. 

You know what has worked FOR ME?  Upping my magnesium intake dramatically.  And actually increasing my food a bit each day.  Also going gluten free (I most likely have celiac disease as does my daughter but at least am non-celiac gluten intolerant).   Magnesium has been the most helpful because it has changed my insulin sensitivity for the better. 

I'm almost at the point where if someone criticized my food one more time they are going to get a punch in the nose.  (Ok - not really because I am a pretty non-confrontational.)  But I am tired of personal trainers flat out telling me that I must be lying on my food diary.  Do they not realize that it would be super stupid of me to ask for help and then not record exactly what I am eating?  I am tired of people who have no idea that the gluten free treat I picked up at the party is the only treat I have had in ages and that I have tweaked things specifically so that I can have it, giving me the stink eye. 

There is tons of information out there.  Some of it is contradictory but most advocate some form of a whole foods diet with reliance on good sources of protein and lots of vegetables and some fruits.  The OP started out talking about trying a AIP diet.  I have done them over and over again for up to six months at a time.  They don't fix my autoimmune chronic pain problem.  But I wouldn't know that if I hadn't tried it.  I'm sure that it does help some people.  For me, magnesium is doing what an AIP diet promised and failed at.  I no longer feel like I'm auditioning for The Exorcist with twisted contorted muscles that left me in so much pain.  It's not a miracle - I still have fibro.  And I also don't think that everyone in the world will necessarily benefit from what is helping me.  This is for "food as medicine" diets as well as for weight loss diets/ lifestyles. 

 

3 hours ago, soror said:

 

I mean exactly as Jean said. Paying attention to how you feel when you eat food. Paying attention to actual hunger signals, eating slowly so you have time to recognize feeling full.. What makes you feel sluggish? What gives you energy? What makes you bloat? What foods do you have  a tendency to keep eating, far past the point of being full?

I think continuous glucose monitoring is overkill for the general population but that will be a fabulous choice for some.

 

I'm not trying to make anyone feel any sort of guilt regarding food or diet at all.  All I'm saying is that "paying attention" and eating mindfully backfires for some.  It might not be common, but id does happen.

If I eat according to what makes me feel good I eat high starch whole food vegan 99% of the time and cheat with lean shellfish (steamed crab or shrimp, no butter) once every 3 months.  Trying out McDougall after a doctor told me with my family history I should try to eat mostly low fat vegetarian is what pushed my blood sugar from borderline prediabetic into full blown diabetic, and I have no doubt that is the case for me because my A1C was tested just before I went vegan trying to find the reason for a miscarriage and after 3 months because of an annual physical.  I thought I was doing great.  I felt amazing, never had the need to cheat, I felt like my appetite had been reset for the first time since I went on a multiple rounds of prednisone a decade before had made me gain a bunch of weight.  I wasn't eating insane amounts of anything, and the days I tracked only 800-1200 calories a day, mostly frozen vegetables and beans topped with salsa or a light vegetarian marinara sauce from a jar.  I was definitely NOT eating anything I thought was unhealthy for me in any way.

And I'm not the only person I know who felt amazing with whatever food they were trying right before they got REALLY ill from the food they were trying.  Maybe they do feel better eating the way that you describe.  Maybe they've found something easy for them to follow and they have hit a placebo effect and only think they are eating properly for them.  Some people have aversions to foods they have minor allergies to and others have cravings for them.  You just don't know how well you're actually doing until you get labs done, because your body can deceive you.

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I'm tired of people commenting on what I eat.  My morbidly obese SIL who is facing increasingly bad health disregards what the doctor has told her about diet feels the need to comment on my eating choices (and other people's) at least 75% of the time we eat together.  It.pisses.me.off. She says, "That's all you're eating?  That's why you're so small and I'm fat....You're only going to have a small slice of that?  No wonder you're small....blah blah blah."  Um, why do you ever CARE what I do or don't eat? How is that OK? I'm over here making my choices for my reasons, not commenting on what you do or don't do.  If I agree with her then I'm a jerk. "Yes, your choice to eat that low nutrient, high calorie, sugary, salty, highly processed food is contributing to you being obese and my choices of high nutrient, low sugar, low salt foods have caused me to steadily lose 20 pounds and keep it off for a year now."  People shouldn't say things that someone else would get in trouble for agreeing with. Shut up about it already.  And stop nagging everyone else in the family on doctor advised restricted diets.  One of my brothers (not one she's married to) has now dramatically improved his diabetes by finally deciding to do what the doctors have advised all along because of his hospital stay related to his out of control diabetes.  He feels so much better, is so much happier, healthier, and he doesn't need her comments about what he is or isn't eating.

When it comes to the "best/right" diet, I see it like religion. I'm not in a dither when someone else's definition of Christianity doesn't match mine.  They don't think I'm a real Christian or part of the real Church?  Shrug.  I've understood the concept of denominations for a long time and don't waste my life feeling hurt, offended, defensive or bothered that I don't meet their criteria.

And let's remember Eleanor Roosevelt's insight, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." If you keep consenting to feeling inferior, it's time to seek out some professional counseling-you don't have to live like that.

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And let's remember Eleanor Roosevelt's insight, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." If you keep consenting to feeling inferior, it's time to seek out some professional counseling-you don't have to live like that. 

 

Look, it's one thing to say that to get yourself through a tough situation, but I think it's quite another to say that to another person. It's right up there with "sticks and stones". Why should I get therapy because other people want to hurt my feelings? Aren't they the ones who need help so they stop doing that?

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She says, "That's all you're eating?  That's why you're so small and I'm fat....You're only going to have a small slice of that?  No wonder you're small....blah blah blah."  Um, why do you ever CARE what I do or don't eat? How is that OK? I'm over here making my choices for my reasons, not commenting on what you do or don't do.  If I agree with her then I'm a jerk. "Yes, your choice to eat that low nutrient, high calorie, sugary, salty, highly processed food is contributing to you being obese and my choices of high nutrient, low sugar, low salt foods have caused me to steadily lose 20 pounds and keep it off for a year now."  People shouldn't say things that someone else would get in trouble for agreeing with. Shut up about it already.  And stop nagging everyone else in the family on doctor advised restricted diets.

 

If I might suggest something, how about cutting her off with "Oh, SIL, we don't talk about diet at the table" every time she starts up? When she starts to respond, let her get three words in and then go "I'm so glad you understand! It's really not good for the kids, you know. Mental health is important too! Speaking of changing the subject, it sure is hot out today, isn't it?" And if that doesn't work we're down to the final tactic - get up and leave the table. "I'm gonna go talk about something interesting with somebody else. See ya!"

Are you "being a jerk"? Yeah, maybe, but as you said the alternative is to go "Yup, you sure are fat all right!" in response so what more does she expect?

In my family we don't talk about our weight, and we don't talk about food being good or bad, and we definitely never ever say the D-word. It just leads to conversations that are boring and unpleasant all around. (By coincidence, we actually had no easily accessible mirrors in this house until last year, and I strongly feel that this helped the kids' self-image. That wasn't why we had no mirrors, that just sort of happened, but we didn't rush to change the situation when we realized the kids were looking in the window to comb their hair either.)

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9 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Look, it's one thing to say that to get yourself through a tough situation, but I think it's quite another to say that to another person. It's right up there with "sticks and stones". Why should I get therapy because other people want to hurt my feelings? Aren't they the ones who need help so they stop doing that?

 

This is the perfect example of why idealism can be ruinous, and practicality the only real solution.  You are never ever ever going to get everyone to do what they should.  Never gonna happen. You can only control yourself, not others. So, instead of wishing upon a star for something that's never going to happen and will continue to cause you pain, adapt appropriately by accepting reality and acting accordingly.  Sometimes jerks say hurtful things.  What you do with that is on you.  You can either internalize the jackassery of another person, or you can choose to reject it.  If you need help with that, a professional counselor is trained to help you.  That's what people mean by the sticks and stones comment.  Yeah it's worded awkwardly.  It means people will say hurtful things and you'll feel the initial pain, but you don't have believe what they said is true, which would increase and prolong the pain. You have it in your power to decide they were wrong and you can choose to be resilient and bounce right back. What's the alternative?  Accept their jackass comments as true and continue in pain?  No thanks.

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It's especially bad in my church where we have all those dinners with southern cooking (fried chicken, casseroles, biscuits) spread out over several long tables. It's the norm here. If you sit down with only a small salad, people are gonna make comments. It gets very uncomfortable. I rarely participate now partly for this reason and partly because I'm gluten free and it's hard to know what's in everything, unless you just get a safe salad. But then that gets you in trouble. So many people have commented: Is that all you're eating? Or they will sit down with a huge plate of dessert piled with a large sample of every option from the whole dessert table and say, "Oh, I bet you don't even eat dessert, do you?" One person once asked me if I actually even served dessert at my house. It's odd that it's expected that we don't offend anyone in regard to their weight, but if you happen to be slim, it's okay and acceptable for people to make the most insensitive comments. I've been openly blamed on many different occasions for the fact that my sons are too thin. They see us sitting down with our small plates (the boys just didn't/don't have large appetites) and actually say to me that it's my fault (making me wonder if they  are assuming I'm at home policing portion sizes to purposely starve them). They look at dh in pity and say to me, is that all he's allowed to eat? t's always my fault. I can't win. Because of this and the constant comments, I don't usually stay for church dinners anymore. 

And there have been many threads on this before, but there is so much junk food available for the young kids all the time at church, school, scouts, etc. It just makes me really sad. The deck is stacked against them from the get go. I hope this doesn't offend ....it's just my opinion, but I do feel it's a part of why our diet is so messed up here.

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1 minute ago, Tanaqui said:

 

How about "Accept that your feelings are real, and cut ties with toxic people"?

Tanaqui, I agree with you 100%. But the reality is, these people are everywhere. I get it, though. Yep, to some degree you can keep them out of your life. For the rest, you just have to learn to manage it. And I'm preaching to myself, here! I have a looooong way to go still.

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28 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

It's especially bad in my church where we have all those dinners with southern cooking (fried chicken, casseroles, biscuits) spread out over several long tables. It's the norm here. If you sit down with only a small salad, people are gonna make comments. It gets very uncomfortable. I rarely participate now partly for this reason and partly because I'm gluten free and it's hard to know what's in everything, unless you just get a safe salad. But then that gets you in trouble. So many people have commented: Is that all you're eating? Or they will sit down with a huge plate of dessert piled with a large sample of every option from the whole dessert table and say, "Oh, I bet you don't even eat dessert, do you?" One person once asked me if I actually even served dessert at my house. It's odd that it's expected that we don't offend anyone in regard to their weight, but if you happen to be slim, it's okay and acceptable for people to make the most insensitive comments. I've been openly blamed on many different occasions for the fact that my sons are too thin. They see us sitting down with our small plates (the boys just didn't/don't have large appetites) and actually say to me that it's my fault (making me wonder if they  are assuming I'm at home policing portion sizes to purposely starve them). They look at dh in pity and say to me, is that all he's allowed to eat? t's always my fault. I can't win. Because of this and the constant comments, I don't usually stay for church dinners anymore. 

And there have been many threads on this before, but there is so much junk food available for the young kids all the time at church, school, scouts, etc. It just makes me really sad. The deck is stacked against them from the get go. I hope this doesn't offend ....it's just my opinion, but I do feel it's a part of why our diet is so messed up here.

This really makes me sad. People should be able to eat at their church, for crying out loud.

I wonder if there are some people you can talk to about this problem, who might become allies. Official or unofficial leadership, maybe?  A few women who might speak up?  I am pretty sure that if I was at a table with someone making those comments to someone else, I would find something to say to indicate that the comment was out of line. Maybe something like "Ruby, that family looks pretty healthy to  me, I don't think you need to worry about their eating."  And then comment on how great the salad looks and how my salads are always lacking (because it's true) and I need to step up my game.  And, I can think of a few women in our church who I could "recruit" to deflect hurtful comments like that.  

And, what does your husband say?  Does he laugh and say "I am well-fed, you don't need to worry about me" or does he keep quiet?  If he's keeping quiet, I would ask him to speak up, even if they are not asking him the question - if he can hear it, he can respond to it. 

When my daughter first became a vegetarian she fielded a few comments from "concerned" older ladies who saw her meager plate at church lunches.  Of course her being a minor it was easy for me to say "I can assure you she is getting her nutrition" (even if something I wasn't so sure of that myself). There was one older lady who always had a nice comment to make to deflect criticism.  It stopped quickly and my girl was able to relax at lunches and eat what she wanted.

I do believe that most people (in general, not at your church) are not trying to be hurtful and it is impossible to cut ties with everyone who says something stupid, unkind, or awkward. They are not all toxic people. Thoughtless, ignorant, sure.  

I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm lecturing you as if it's your fault.  It's not.  People can be so ignorant.

 

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Obesity is a very real health risk.  We had a pool party this weekend and I would say out of the 28 people in attendance 7 were overweight.   4 of those are obese.  And they were all young adults.  The 2 grandmothers (mid 70) are both a healthy weight.  I am on the verge of going overweight.  Dh’s oldest son showed up....and got comments about how thin he is at 6’2 and 210 pounds.  No he isn’t too thin.....he actually has a bit of a belly and said he was happier at 180....one friend who is over weight went on and on about how horrible he would look at 180.  

So the entire culture has changed.   When I was a young adult very few people were even overweight, much less obese.  I see it as a HUGE  societal problem.

I heard a segment on NPR about a study that was done....two groups of people were put in two different houses.  One group was offered lots of processed food  the other group was offered all no processed food and lots of veggies and good fats.  Both groups could eat as much as they wanted, but it was strictly measured ( because they said people do  not accurately self report) . No surprise the healthy house lost weight and the unhealthy house gained.  I don’t remember the numbers but the unhealthy house gained much more weight than the healthy house lost.  

 

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49 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

It's especially bad in my church where we have all those dinners with southern cooking (fried chicken, casseroles, biscuits) spread out over several long tables. It's the norm here. If you sit down with only a small salad, people are gonna make comments. It gets very uncomfortable. I rarely participate now partly for this reason and partly because I'm gluten free and it's hard to know what's in everything, unless you just get a safe salad. But then that gets you in trouble. So many people have commented: Is that all you're eating? Or they will sit down with a huge plate of dessert piled with a large sample of every option from the whole dessert table and say, "Oh, I bet you don't even eat dessert, do you?" One person once asked me if I actually even served dessert at my house. It's odd that it's expected that we don't offend anyone in regard to their weight, but if you happen to be slim, it's okay and acceptable for people to make the most insensitive comments. I've been openly blamed on many different occasions for the fact that my sons are too thin. They see us sitting down with our small plates (the boys just didn't/don't have large appetites) and actually say to me that it's my fault (making me wonder if they  are assuming I'm at home policing portion sizes to purposely starve them). They look at dh in pity and say to me, is that all he's allowed to eat? t's always my fault. I can't win. Because of this and the constant comments, I don't usually stay for church dinners anymore. 

And there have been many threads on this before, but there is so much junk food available for the young kids all the time at church, school, scouts, etc. It just makes me really sad. The deck is stacked against them from the get go. I hope this doesn't offend ....it's just my opinion, but I do feel it's a part of why our diet is so messed up here.

 I experience this quite often too.  But I don’t feel bad about it.  I just look people straight in the eye and say, I don’t want to become overweight.  

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14 minutes ago, marbel said:
14 minutes ago, marbel said:

I do believe that most people (in general, not at your church) are not trying to be hurtful and it is impossible to cut ties with everyone who says something stupid, unkind, or awkward. They are not all toxic people. Thoughtless, ignorant, sure.  

 

Absolutely. Some of these are really sweet but ignorant of the discomfort they cause. The ones finding fault with me because my boys are thin, well that crosses a line probably. I don't stay away because I'm mad or anything. It's just not really pleasant, and I get tired of it, so I just don't go. And stuff like this just flies over the head of my dh. He's oblivious, chatting with the men, and enjoying his food. Whoooosh. Over his head. lol. I would say I should be more like him, but, then again, he's not blamed for any of this silly food stuff.

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13 hours ago, Katy said:

I'm not trying to make anyone feel any sort of guilt regarding food or diet at all.  All I'm saying is that "paying attention" and eating mindfully backfires for some.  It might not be common, but id does happen.

If I eat according to what makes me feel good I eat high starch whole food vegan 99% of the time and cheat with lean shellfish (steamed crab or shrimp, no butter) once every 3 months.  Trying out McDougall after a doctor told me with my family history I should try to eat mostly low fat vegetarian is what pushed my blood sugar from borderline prediabetic into full blown diabetic, and I have no doubt that is the case for me because my A1C was tested just before I went vegan trying to find the reason for a miscarriage and after 3 months because of an annual physical.  I thought I was doing great.  I felt amazing, never had the need to cheat, I felt like my appetite had been reset for the first time since I went on a multiple rounds of prednisone a decade before had made me gain a bunch of weight.  I wasn't eating insane amounts of anything, and the days I tracked only 800-1200 calories a day, mostly frozen vegetables and beans topped with salsa or a light vegetarian marinara sauce from a jar.  I was definitely NOT eating anything I thought was unhealthy for me in any way.

And I'm not the only person I know who felt amazing with whatever food they were trying right before they got REALLY ill from the food they were trying.  Maybe they do feel better eating the way that you describe.  Maybe they've found something easy for them to follow and they have hit a placebo effect and only think they are eating properly for them.  Some people have aversions to foods they have minor allergies to and others have cravings for them.  You just don't know how well you're actually doing until you get labs done, because your body can deceive you.

I don't feel guilt about how I eat or don't eat. 

I've had a slew of blood tests the last 5 yrs after developing thyroid disease. The knowledge from those tests helped lead me at times (and some were fairly worthless) but the tests only show so much, listening to my body in conjunction with those tests has been a HUGE help. Similar to your journey I felt great on low carb (and sometimes keto) paleo for years until I didn't, after developing thyroid disease I find out that low carb can be hard on the thyroid (of course the low carb people treat it as a panacea). As you said feeling great isn't always an accurate indicator but I think for the average person it is not worthwhile to go hunting for problems unless you have reason to. I think absent issues a yearly physical is a good idea but I would not tell the person that feels good and doesn't have any outward signs of issues to go tests themselves just in case.  I absolutely think for those showing signs of blood glucose issues/ creeping A1C (hopefully caught before someone is pre-diabetic or at least diabetic through yearly screenings or more frequently for those at risk) a continuous monitor would be great but I can't get behind for that for everyone as a preventative.

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54 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Obesity is a very real health risk.  We had a pool party this weekend and I would say out of the 28 people in attendance 7 were overweight.   4 of those are obese.  And they were all young adults.  The 2 grandmothers (mid 70) are both a healthy weight.  I am on the verge of going overweight.  Dh’s oldest son showed up....and got comments about how thin he is at 6’2 and 210 pounds.  No he isn’t too thin.....he actually has a bit of a belly and said he was happier at 180....one friend who is over weight went on and on about how horrible he would look at 180.  

So the entire culture has changed.   When I was a young adult very few people were even overweight, much less obese.  I see it as a HUGE  societal problem.

I heard a segment on NPR about a study that was done....two groups of people were put in two different houses.  One group was offered lots of processed food  the other group was offered all no processed food and lots of veggies and good fats.  Both groups could eat as much as they wanted, but it was strictly measured ( because they said people do  not accurately self report) . No surprise the healthy house lost weight and the unhealthy house gained.  I don’t remember the numbers but the unhealthy house gained much more weight than the healthy house lost.  

 

So what's your point?  There is no one disputing that the rise in processed foods in developed countries has contributed to the rise in obesity rates.  But most obese people don't eat nothing but processed foods.  And most thin people don't eat nothing but whole foods.  And just cutting out processed foods, while healthy on a whole lot of levels, is not the magic bullet for everyone losing weight and keeping it off.  It might be for a few, but for most people, losing weight and keeping it off, is a very complex issue. 

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1 hour ago, Indigo Blue said:

It's especially bad in my church where we have all those dinners with southern cooking (fried chicken, casseroles, biscuits) spread out over several long tables. It's the norm here. If you sit down with only a small salad, people are gonna make comments. It gets very uncomfortable. I rarely participate now partly for this reason and partly because I'm gluten free and it's hard to know what's in everything, unless you just get a safe salad. But then that gets you in trouble. So many people have commented: Is that all you're eating? Or they will sit down with a huge plate of dessert piled with a large sample of every option from the whole dessert table and say, "Oh, I bet you don't even eat dessert, do you?" One person once asked me if I actually even served dessert at my house. It's odd that it's expected that we don't offend anyone in regard to their weight, but if you happen to be slim, it's okay and acceptable for people to make the most insensitive comments. I've been openly blamed on many different occasions for the fact that my sons are too thin. They see us sitting down with our small plates (the boys just didn't/don't have large appetites) and actually say to me that it's my fault (making me wonder if they  are assuming I'm at home policing portion sizes to purposely starve them). They look at dh in pity and say to me, is that all he's allowed to eat? t's always my fault. I can't win. Because of this and the constant comments, I don't usually stay for church dinners anymore. 

And there have been many threads on this before, but there is so much junk food available for the young kids all the time at church, school, scouts, etc. It just makes me really sad. The deck is stacked against them from the get go. I hope this doesn't offend ....it's just my opinion, but I do feel it's a part of why our diet is so messed up here.

I would be extremely surprised if there was anyone to stop you from putting a gluten free (or whatever dietary restriction you have) dish on the table for you to eat and to share with others. 

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14 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

So what's your point?  There is no one disputing that the rise in processed foods in developed countries has contributed to the rise in obesity rates.  But most obese people don't eat nothing but processed foods.  And most thin people don't eat nothing but whole foods.  And just cutting out processed foods, while healthy on a whole lot of levels, is not the magic bullet for everyone losing weight and keeping it off.  It might be for a few, but for most people, losing weight and keeping it off, is a very complex issue. 

 

I have to have a point? I was just posting some thoughts in my head.  

 

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I appreciate this thread and some of the diverse ideas present.  

In terms of large-scale fixes, I think we need to reconsider a huge overhaul of how government and special interest groups interact, provide favors and funds, etc.  I doubt this will happen before the nation goes through some type of major revolution over some other issue, but I do hope reconsidering the entire lobby system is part of that IMO inevitable revolution.  

So... we are left with changes at the microscale, not macro.  Kids need to learn a dozen easy, healthy recipes.  What is healthy?  Real foods, not too much, mostly plants.  After that, tweak according to preference and personal needs.  One of my kids is celiac, my DH has maintained his weight for 15 years on a lower-fat starchy diet but has IBS that prevents him from eating many traditionally healthy foods (raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc.) as well as food allergies.  I prefer low to no sugar, because whatever the science might say about addiction, I find it hard to stop sugar once I've had a taste.  Despite healthy food choices and an active lifestyle, I have one child whose weight I worry about, and that child is my healthiest eating, most veggie loving child!  Sigh.  

The idea that healthy food takes *so long* to prepare is really a myth.  I know there are a handful of people who want to spend zero time in the kitchen, but I feel 15 minutes in the AM, 15 minutes for lunch, and 30-45 minutes for dinner is not too great of an investment.  Encourage people to make that time *feel* productive- audiobooks, podcasts, shared cooking with a spouse or kids, can make that time commitment feel less like wasted time.  

 

Kohlrabi funny:  I usually serve a junky food item at kids parties- nuggets or pizza, plus cut up fruit and cut up veggies.  A friend dropping her kid off asking me, "What's that?"  "Kohlrabi," I replied.  "Wow, you really are an optimist."

She was right, my kids were the only ones who would eat it.  Kohlrabi is not a treat.  Pineapple, though, that counts!

 

ETA:  I also serve cake at parties.  White flour, white sugar, butter.  Cake.  

 

 

Edited by Monica_in_Switzerland
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19 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I would be extremely surprised if there was anyone to stop you from putting a gluten free (or whatever dietary restriction you have) dish on the table for you to eat and to share with others. 

This is true, and I have seen it done, but... with gluten-free particularly, there is such a high chance of cross-contamination when it's set on a table.  

For example, I've seen a dessert  spread with a gluten-free cake on it  among other items - and somehow the knife goes missing, so someone uses the knife from a gluten-containing cake to cut a piece... you know all the ways cross-contamination can happen.  It can end up that the person who brought the food ends up not eating it anyway, or has to be so protective of it that's it's not worth the trouble - I should say, not being gluten-free, that's what I've seen and been told.

I've also seen it done well, where there is a gluten-free table and anyone is welcome to have it, but it's completely separate and someone keeps an eye on it to be sure it stays that way.

 

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30 minutes ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

 

The idea that healthy food takes *so long* to prepare is really a myth.  I know there are a handful of people who want to spend zero time in the kitchen, but I feel 15 minutes in the AM, 15 minutes for lunch, and 30-45 minutes for dinner is not too great of an investment.  Encourage people to make that time *feel* productive- audiobooks, podcasts, shared cooking with a spouse or kids, can make that time commitment feel less like wasted time.  

 

 

I agree. 

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52 minutes ago, mms said:

Monica, I'm not being nit-picky at all about your otherwise lovely post (except I may have a quibble w/ the mostly plants part, lol, this girl needs lots of meat), but I couldn't cook supper in 30-45 minutes to save my life.  I am always optimistic, search out super-quick 30 minute recipes and start supper at 16:30 and still don't have it served until at least 18:00 if not later.  I don't know what makes me so slow, after more than a decade of marriage I am now a decently skilful cook, have plenty of tricks up my sleeve, etc, but for whatever reason I am just slow.  🙂

I don't think you're slow. I think you're probably much more typical than people who claim they can whip out a super duper healthy meal in minutes (with the implication that they can do that for most meals, not that it's an exception). I think it's probably taking them longer than they're admitting, whether that's in the kitchen right then or in time they've spent doing advance prep--veggies and fruits already washed and sliced or diced, pulling large parts of the meal out of the freezer, etc. I'm going to make a large batch of sauteed veggies for dinner tonight (I do it a couple of times a week, at least) and I guarantee that alone will take me around thirty minutes since there's a lot of chopping and slicing involved. Now I do have barbecue chicken in the crock pot and I have some already cut fruit in the fridge, so I could claim I was only spending thirty minutes or so on our (reasonably healthy) dinner. But if you count the time I spent putting the chicken in the crock pot and prepping the fruit it's really considerably more than that. And that's for a really simple meal. And my timing is certainly not from lack of experience or ability (56 yo, married 29 years, raised two boys---I've spent a good portion of my adult life cooking).

Edited by Pawz4me
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14 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

I don't think you're slow. I think you're probably much more typical than people who claim they can whip out a super duper healthy meal in minutes (with the implication that they can do that for most meals, not that it's an exception). I think it's probably taking them longer than they're admitting, whether that's in the kitchen right then or in time they've spent doing advance prep--veggies and fruits already washed and sliced or diced, pulling large parts of the meal out of the freezer, etc. I'm going to make a large batch of sauteed veggies for dinner tonight (I do it a couple of times a week, at least) and I guarantee that alone will take me around thirty minutes since there's a lot of chopping and slicing involved. Now I do have barbecue chicken in the crock pot and I have some already cut fruit in the fridge, so I could claim I was only spending thirty minutes or so on our (reasonably healthy) dinner. But if you count the time I spent putting the chicken in the crock pot and prepping the fruit it's really considerably more than that. And that's for a really simple meal. And my timing is certainly not from lack of experience or ability (56 yo, married 29 years, raised two boys---I've spent a good portion of my adult life cooking).

It also may depend on how your kitchen is set up.  Tonight we're having sesame chicken over lo mein noodles.  My kitchen is set up in such a way that I can prepare this meal easily in 30 minutes, from absolute start to finish.  I'm only cutting up two vegetables, onions and bok choy; the pea pods and mushrooms will go in whole.  The garlic and chicken will be cut up next and from there it's just cooking.  Total chop time is about 10 minutes. All my necessities are within a few feet of each other and in a good work triangle.   I have super sharp knives to make it go quicker.  Spices are grouped in the cabinet.  Trash goes directly to my right and produce waste in a bowl right in front of my work station.  Dh has eliminated most of the extra motions in the kitchen when he set it up and I'm grateful for that.

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24 minutes ago, mms said:

I never try to mislead someone who is at first switching from SAD to a healthier diet that it won't be hard.  It will be, but the sacrifices and effort are worth it.

I think that's good.

This is maybe a wee bit of a tangent, but I think we do women (I know there are exceptions and that more and more men are trying to do more, but AFAIK the overwhelming majority of time spent on meal planning, shopping and cooking is still done by women) a huge disservice when we tell them that they can feed their family three healthy meals a day in very little time. Why not be more realistic, but in a positive way, just like you're doing? Tell them that absolutely yes, meal planning and shopping and cooking healthy meals (and the cleanup!) takes a lot of time and effort and unless you are a foodie and/or really enjoy cooking it gets truly tedious after a few years of doing it non stop. But then build them up by saying how very worth the time and effort it is. To me setting an unrealistic expectation as far as the time and effort involved is yet another way we undermine women, make them feel like failures and devalue what is still (mostly) seen as women's work.

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4 hours ago, mms said:

Monica, I'm not being nit-picky at all about your otherwise lovely post (except I may have a quibble w/ the mostly plants part, lol, this girl needs lots of meat), but I couldn't cook supper in 30-45 minutes to save my life.  I am always optimistic, search out super-quick 30 minute recipes and start supper at 16:30 and still don't have it served until at least 18:00 if not later.  I don't know what makes me so slow, after more than a decade of marriage I am now a decently skilful cook, have plenty of tricks up my sleeve, etc, but for whatever reason I am just slow.  🙂

 

3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

I don't think you're slow. I think you're probably much more typical than people who claim they can whip out a super duper healthy meal in minutes (with the implication that they can do that for most meals, not that it's an exception). I think it's probably taking them longer than they're admitting, whether that's in the kitchen right then or in time they've spent doing advance prep--veggies and fruits already washed and sliced or diced, pulling large parts of the meal out of the freezer, etc. I'm going to make a large batch of sauteed veggies for dinner tonight (I do it a couple of times a week, at least) and I guarantee that alone will take me around thirty minutes since there's a lot of chopping and slicing involved. Now I do have barbecue chicken in the crock pot and I have some already cut fruit in the fridge, so I could claim I was only spending thirty minutes or so on our (reasonably healthy) dinner. But if you count the time I spent putting the chicken in the crock pot and prepping the fruit it's really considerably more than that. And that's for a really simple meal. And my timing is certainly not from lack of experience or ability (56 yo, married 29 years, raised two boys---I've spent a good portion of my adult life cooking).

 

2 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

I think that's good.

This is maybe a wee bit of a tangent, but I think we do women (I know there are exceptions and that more and more men are trying to do more, but AFAIK the overwhelming majority of time spent on meal planning, shopping and cooking is still done by women) a huge disservice when we tell them that they can feed their family three healthy meals a day in very little time. Why not be more realistic, but in a positive way, just like you're doing? Tell them that absolutely yes, meal planning and shopping and cooking healthy meals (and the cleanup!) takes a lot of time and effort and unless you are a foodie and/or really enjoy cooking it gets truly tedious after a few years of doing it non stop. But then build them up by saying how very worth the time and effort it is. To me setting an unrealistic expectation as far as the time and effort involved is yet another way we undermine women, make them feel like failures and devalue what is still (mostly) seen as women's work.

 

Yes, to all of this. 

When I got married we ate tuna helper and steamed broccoli twice a week, spaghetti and steamed broccoli once a week, and went out the other four nights.  Dinner was FAST.  Cleanup was EASY.

It was a huge hassle and learning curve when I had a baby and had to start cooking real food.  I am slow.  I have a couple of meals that take 30 minutes or less, but most meals take me between 1 and 2 hours, when you include all the chopping that’s involved.

I feel like when it comes to cooking, I have slow processing speed.  

My dh started making himself meals on the weekend to use as lunches throughout the week.  He’s hyper and always buzzing around, and he also can’t seem to get meals cooked in under 30 minutes.  He will spend hours in the kitchen every weekend cooking a couple of meals to last him for his M-F lunches.  We have a tiny kitchen and it’s set up well.  It’s so tiny that you can’t help but be 2-3 steps at most from anything in it.  

I think there are some meals that are fast to prepare, but there is a large enough number that aren’t, and it can be quite the learning curve to go from tuna helper and spaghetti with canned sauce to homemade.  

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I cook fast and my husband cooks slow.

One thing that helps me cook fast is that I used to be a program manager, and I have an instinct for the critical path, so I’m always driving that.  That means, do the stuff first that must be done in sequence—because whether you do that first or second, the meal will always be at least ‘the sequence’ time later.  To me this is really easy, but DH, who is very smart, does not have that mindset, so he has to stop and think a lot, and also he doesn’t do things in the order that makes them the fastest.  This makes about a 150-200 % increase in how long he takes to make the same meal as me.  It’s funny.

This can be learned, though.  It’s the same basic skill as big rocks priorities.  Or gating factors priorities.  

 

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6 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

How about "Accept that your feelings are real, and cut ties with toxic people"?

Nowhere did I suggest not accepting that your feelings are real.  Please reread my post carefully.  And neither did I say you couldn't cut ties with those dealing in jackassery.  All of those things can still happen and everything I said can still apply.

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I cook fast if I have spent money on certain time savers.  Tonight I picked up a pretty large pre-chopped "stir-fry veg" container from the grocery store.  All the chopping has been done for me.  Probably more money than if I bought the produce separately and chopped it myself, but not necessarily.  The pre-chopped container was on sale for $5 for two pounds of chopped vegetables.  The grocery store benefits by chopping up a lot of extras.  I benefit because I counted 12 different kinds of veggies in that container.  So a variety of nutrients.  I have meat that needs very little prep but in a minute I am going to do what I actually sat down at the computer to do:  look up a marinade for the meat.  Then I will spend a few minutes preparing the marinade and will have the meat marinating ahead of time.  Once dinner prep time comes around I will heat up my wok, dump in the veggies and meat and will cook them.  Easy peasy and very quick.  Because I don't eat grains, I won't have to figure out a separate way to cook grains but in the past when I did eat grains, it would have taken me just five minutes to wash the rice and get it cooking in the rice cooker.  Of course not all nights are this easy but many are. 

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9 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I cook fast and my husband cooks slow.

One thing that helps me cook fast is that I used to be a program manager, and I have an instinct for the critical path, so I’m always driving that.  That means, do the stuff first that must be done in sequence—because whether you do that first or second, the meal will always be at least ‘the sequence’ time later.  To me this is really easy, but DH, who is very smart, does not have that mindset, so he has to stop and think a lot, and also he doesn’t do things in the order that makes them the fastest.  This makes about a 150-200 % increase in how long he takes to make the same meal as me.  It’s funny.

This can be learned, though.  It’s the same basic skill as big rocks priorities.  Or gating factors priorities.  

 

 

I have to ask...dh is in project management and I have heard the term "critical path" before. Do you take all the tools you anticipate you will need out, use them and have multiple pots sitting around while juggling different tasks completely focused while I (probably more like your dh) seem to be more mindful of cleaning up in between and stop to think how I can minimize the mess, eh dishes to clean?  🙂

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I often choose to spend longer (lentils, beans, etc), but a basic supper is often 45 minutes or so

- switch on oven and boil water. While oven heats, slice and season veggies to roast

- put in veggies to roast for half an hour. If required, find pasta, bulgar wheat, couscous or quinoa and use the boiling water to get that going in a pan.

- season/marinade fish or meat or tofu. Chop veggies for steaming and put in separate pan.

- when roast veg is ready, steam second veg and saute fish or meat. Drain, season and oil steamed veg and starch component.

I clean up as I go, but there will be a bit to do after supper.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I don't make complicated things very often.  The vast majority of dinners are three parts: fish/venison, starch, vegetable

fish/venison: put fish on pan, drizzle salt and olive oil, put pan in oven.  Or put fish in pot with a cup of water, drizzle salt and olive oil, cook on stove.  Both of these methods take about 2 minutes - I buy the fish preportioned/fileted, so there's not any work in that except opening the package.  Venison is the same except I saute it, not roast or steam, and I do add garlic, which adds another minute.

Starch: I either boil noodles, cook rice in a pot on the stove, or rarely make cornbread.  Cornbread takes maybe 5-7 minutes to prepare, everything else takes 2 minutes or less.

Vegetable: I steam most vegetables, roast some, all done the same way as the fish.  salt, oil, steam, done.  

half the time we have beans instead of fish or venison, and in this case we just boil the beans in a pot with salt.  It takes time to cook but almost no time to prepare.

 

If I want something fancy I buy jarred tomato sauce or a package of curry and mix with a can of coconut milk or something else prepared like that.  On rare occasion, maybe once every two weeks, I make something complicated - osso buco or meat pie or fried fish or something like that.  Those types of meals do take a while.

I go in spates with salad, sometimes nightly and then sometimes not at all for a couple of weeks.  Salad here is just olive oil, vinegar, salt, green onions, maybe canned artichoke hearts, and lettuce.  It is never fancy.

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My personal experience is that I can manage “good foods” just fine... for a period. I can make room in the budget, I’m a decent cook and, more often than not, I have or can make the time.  Then, after a period of a few days, a few weeks, even a few months here and there, I WANT THE JUNK! And I want all of it.

I don’t like what it does to my insides or my outsides. I’m fully conscious of when I’m going beyond “moderation”. I’m well aware that it will take me twice as long to feel normal/good/healthy/whatever again.  But it’s yummy and it’s generally easy and it’s frequently cheap.  I want it, so I have it.  All of it.

I’ll admit that I do sometimes use “bad” in my narrative, but I see it as less of a morality thing and more about the physical ramifications.  My body will feel bad. It will not function as well. I will have damage to repair over time. (I’m not referring to having a celebratory slice of cake or an occasional drive thru, but an extended period of high calorie/low nutrient choices.)

The hard science of food may not be 100% exact, but the basics are relatively solid.  It’s the social science of food that does a number on me, personally. It can definitely take everything I know and feel and toss it right out the window with very little convincing!

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7 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

I have to ask...dh is in project management and I have heard the term "critical path" before. Do you take all the tools you anticipate you will need out, use them and have multiple pots sitting around while juggling different tasks completely focused while I (probably more like your dh) seem to be more mindful of cleaning up in between and stop to think how I can minimize the mess, eh dishes to clean?  🙂

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

I never worry about minimizing the dishes to clean anymore.  We have a dishwasher, and I used whatever I need.  But I do put things away as I have a little free time while other things are proceeding, and usually end up with a pretty contained mess—a set of dishes to wash but no food out.

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PS I should add—I don’t spend a lot of time teeing this up.  If I did, I would waste all the time that I saved.  I do this with cooking that I am already familiar with, that I know I have all the ingredients for.  If I’m trying a new recipe or planning a shopping trip, I’m not especially efficient.  Also, in general, mise en place is my go to attitude whether I’m trying for efficiency or not.

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53 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

I never worry about minimizing the dishes to clean anymore.  We have a dishwasher, and I used whatever I need.  But I do put things away as I have a little free time while other things are proceeding, and usually end up with a pretty contained mess—a set of dishes to wash but no food out.

 

This is an excellent example. I think most of the time I do this by visualizing the sequence as well and hope I have no interruptions like phone calls, etc. Even though we have a dishwasher, I am still very much in the mode of cleaning up in between and thinking how to minimize dishes or pots, even cleaning a pot and reusing it which dh would never think of. I have to say though his meals get on the table hot and delicious. 

Where I seem to plan better is in the area of soaking things ahead of time like grains, feeding the sourdough early in the day so I can shape a loaf later, etc. 

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Pretty much!

Critical path is more that there are things that have to happen in sequence in order to finish.  Those get priority over things that happen in parallel.  Plus there are things that must happen right before you completely finish, and you make sure that those are completely staged so that they can happen very quickly.  So you finish in the fastest possible way.

So, say I’m making a simple dinner—lean beef burgers on sesame wheat buns with red onion, a green salad, and watermelon chunks.

Cutting up the watermelon can happen anytime.  Toasting the buns and actually tossing the salad should happen right before serving.  Making the salad dressing has to happen before mixing the salad.  Mixing up the burger meat, though, has to happen before cooking the burgers.  And cooking the burgers takes 15 minutes or so.  So if I’m thinking critical path, I quickly get out everything I want to mix into the burger meat, and mix it up, shape the patties, and put them in the pan to sauté.  THEN while they are cooking I stage the buns in the toaster, tear up the lettuce and put it in the salad spinner to dry it, and mix up the salad dressing.   Etc.  Whereas my husband might start by setting the table, and then start cutting up the watermelon, and then get around to mixing up the burgers.  He’s doing fewer things in parallel, and he is spending some downtime waiting for the burgers to cook.  

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Edited by Laura Corin
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33 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Me either. I"m lucky that stuff like that is intuitive and as easy as breathing for me. I know it isn't for some people. DH struggles with it. He'll pick something up, then decide to move it, get another thing out, decide the first thing needs to be moved again, open the fridge and get out one thing, turn around and then remember he needs to get something else from the fridge, etc. It takes him ten (or more) movements to do what I do effortlessly in two. And on anything I've done at least once I can easily "see" the best order to do it in the next time. If I had known all those many years ago that there was such a thing as an efficiency expert or productivity consultant I might have found my calling.

I still stand by my belief, though, that we do women a disservice when we insist it's easy to get a healthy meal on the table over and over and over. It's not. 

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

 

I still stand by my belief, though, that we do women a disservice when we insist it's easy to get a healthy meal on the table over and over and over. It's not. 

I agree.  Among the things that make it much easier for me to cook from scratch than many people:

- transport and not worrying about the cost of going to the shop

- adequate space to store food, a work surface, decent utensils, a good hob, and an oven that I can afford to heat just to roast some veg

- enough space in my head to think about these things rather than poverty, eviction, bankruptcy due to medical bills, dire mental or physical family illness, abuse, more children than I can manage, three jobs, etc.

- a mother who cooked frugally from scratch every night

If someone asks me about improving their diet, I usually just focus on veg.  After all, if half the plate is veg, then the junk will be displaced.  And I stress that frozen veg is just fine.  If I'm not asked, I don't say a word.

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6 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

Me too mostly.  I struggle some especially if I am tired.  

Dss18 just finished a vo tech course on culinary arts.  And he likes to cook, and knows things I don’t like how to cut meat, different ways of cooking things,  and he chops fast.  But putting a meal together is a whole ‘nother  story.  I realized it is a learned skill....and who knows maybe he won’t ever get it.  

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10 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

Wow. Okay. Doing things in an efficient order is so normal to me I had never really thought about it.

See, yeah, me too, that is why I went into program management.  It’s just so natural to me that I don’t really have to think about it.  It was several years before I realized that that’s actually pretty uncommon, even in the tech world I was working in at the time.  It applies to a lot of things.

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

See, yeah, me too, that is why I went into program management.  It’s just so natural to me that I don’t really have to think about it.  It was several years before I realized that that’s actually pretty uncommon, even in the tech world I was working in at the time.  It applies to a lot of things.

It explains a lot about office behaviour if that's not natural to some people.

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26 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

It explains a lot about office behaviour if that's not natural to some people.

 

I wonder if people do this naturally in their field but not necessarily when confronted with unusual assignments, i.e., someone who seldom cooks may not figure out the most effective way to do something but knows how to sequence events in their field of expertise.

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