Tuesday Tips #2

Today is the second in the series of guest posts by reader/commenter Michael K. The subject is food:

Tuesday Tip #2: Stop Being A Food Addict

…his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat…

We live for only a short while. Therefore it’s hard for us to grasp how dramatically food has changed from even recent times. The invention of fertilizer, diesel transport, air travel, and genetic engineering has transformed our food in both substance and quantity.

Food has become ubiquitous for all first-world nations, and our bodies have not had the time to evolve for this bounty. Liquor is a good example here: many Native American tribes lacked exposure to liquor long enough to genetically adjust and many thus banned ‘firewater’ from their communities to save them.

Modern food is unbelievably cheap by historical standards. It is also carefully bred, processed, refined, and even genetically engineered for concentrated succulence. So, of course, we get fatter and fatter every decade. In essence, modern processed food coupled with unrestrained consumption is a dangerous game that we clearly have not yet evolved to handle. If you doubt this, compare the weight of people today to photos from the 1940’s. It’s disturbing.

Years ago my family and I saw these warning signs. We organized food-related activities and stuck with it. It was trying at first (with some social tension). Yet it proved to be one of the best decisions of our lives. What seemed radical then appears blasé now. We will never go back.

We eat two large meals each day (kids eat a noon snack). Meals are reliably on time without exception. Only whole, unprocessed foods are used. Shopping is done every two weeks, with an inflexible shopping list. Recipes are step-by-step, timed, and practiced so anyone can prepare it as needed.

The only “processed” foods in the house are cheese (milk, salt, enzymes), grain cereal (flour, barley, salt, yeast), and peanut butter (peanuts, salt). Zero coffee, tea, cane sugar*, or alcohol (except holidays). This may sound austere but it is actually no privation at all; the fact is that quality home cooking using real foods simply blows away anything else out there. We eat like kings.

Recipes and portion sizes are carefully planned to guarantee heaps of nutrients, fully satisfied eaters, and dietary consistency. Leftover food has been phased out through portion adjustments before each shopping cycle: we literally waste zero food and have zero leftovers.

Summary:

1) Shop only twice a month.

2) Table, kitchen, dishes cleaned every meal (before anyone leaves).

3) Meal quality is incredible; real, home cooked food is tasty!

4) Recipes, cooking, and meal times are firmly consistent.

5) Everyone is trim and healthy (visible by skin, hair, teeth, weight).

6) Strangely, less time is spent on food due to organization/routine.

7) Saves money (processed food is mostly brand profit).

8) We hunt, fish, and garden aggressively for better food.

9) Far less garbage (and no garish packaging).

10) Little to no cavities.

11) Less illness; many prior medical issues have vanished.

12) Fewer behavioral issues, mood swings, and much better sleep.

13) No leftovers due to well-planned meals; zero food waste.

14) Nobody complains about food anymore.

15) Nobody leaves meals hungry, bloated, or stuffed anymore.

Practical tips to actually DO something, not just talk, about food addiction:

A) Vitamix vegetables or fruits each meal. (toss in a multivitamin).

B) Make meal prep/cleaning a routine, organized family activity.

C) If single, make food for several days (planned leftovers only).

D) Use Living Cookbook to track recipe/meal cost, nutrition, and calories.

E) Plan every single meal two weeks out (shop biweekly) and stick to it.

F) Ignore food and diet fads. Processed food is 99% of the battle.

G) Eat mainly vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruit.

H) Be very restrained with grains, nuts, dairy, and tea.

I) Seldom (even never) eat coffee, alcohol, processed sugar.

J) Use lots of spices, experiment with recipes, and learn to cook.

K) Hunt, fish, berry pick, mushroom hunt, and garden.

Recommending Reading:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (Price)

*If modern fruit (genetically engineered for sweetness) such as pineapple, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and bananas isn’t sweet enough, you’re desensitized to sucrose. Desserts sweetened with fruit juice (and topped with real cream!) are deliciously sweet to a normal palate. Yum.

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22 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Red Pill, Temptation

22 responses to “Tuesday Tips #2

  1. This is a very timely post for me because I was told by a medical professional last week to completely eliminate all forms of dairy, salt, processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet for a month or two in order to test for a particular medical issue that can be aggravated by any of those things. While some of those aren’t difficult to give up (or in the case of alcohol, aren’t consumed at all), it’s been a pain to make sure they actually are completely eliminated. For example, I’m definitely a choc-o-holic, and thought that dark chocolate would be acceptable (no sugar that way)… until I remembered that any form of chocolate has caffeine in it. 😦 I was thinking about it earlier today and realized that I’m pretty much going to have to stick with just fruits, veggies, and meat, in order to be certain that I’m not inadvertently eating anything that I was told to not eat. I take this post as confirmation that I was correct in thinking that, and as a bit of encouragement that it can be done. That I can live without chocolate or dairy… :-/

  2. Weston Price! I love his research. “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” is fascinating. “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon is also a good read.

  3. A Visitor

    “If you doubt this, compare the weight of people today to photos from the 1940’s. It’s disturbing.”

    Keep in mind too back in the 1940’s the majority of jobs still required manual labor in some form.

    “Seldom (even never) eat coffee”

    Kicking caffeine, along with pop, right now for the second or third time in my life…its worth it though.

    Good points all around.

    I’d add L) Hunt wild game (if you don’t already). Learn how to field dress whatever you kill, what to use (meat, organs, etc.), and how to prepare it (I’d recommend the Celebrating Wild Game series). In addition to all the normal benefits of hunting, should society collapse, you have one more valuable skill in your pocket!

  4. Michael Kozaki

    I was told by a medical professional last week to completely eliminate all forms of dairy, salt, processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet for a month

    He/she forgot wheat. But the salt thing is BS, forget it. Whatever you do, be careful. We are food addicts so going cold-turkey is rough. Especially if you lack nutrients. Cane sugar, alcohol, and coffee are highly addictive. I’d go slow, one at a time.

    Kicking caffeine, with pop, for the second or third time

    Caffeine and sugar are drugs, plain a simple. Don’t be overly harsh on yourself. The only way I can kick either habit is at the grocery store. If they get in my house, I’m a goner. I’m an addict. What can I say?

    L) Hunt wild game (if you don’t already).

    You missed: 8) We hunt, fish, and garden aggressively for better food.
    K) Hunt, fish, berry pick, mushroom hunt, and garden.

    Donal, you might take the spaces out of the lists they are hard to read.

    Realistically most people cannot hunt or garden though, in a city as a wage slave. Also, don’t spend more money on hunting/fishing than you can can get chicken at the store for. And don’t forget gardening: big money is saved here. But we take hunting seriously.

  5. Michael, spaces where? I am not seeing anything odd about the lists, either numerical or alphabetical.

  6. Maea

    @ A Visitor:
    Kicking caffeine, along with pop
    Several Lents ago, I was able to purge my body of that addiction. I’ve never looked back. Btw are you a midwesterner? You said “pop” 🙂

    This is a good list. I primarily stick with a plant-based diet, accompanied by meat, with little dairy. Grocery shopping is planned around the diet. I cook a lot of ethnic meals. I grew up on them, they’re healthier, and it’s easier on my digestive system. But what’s wrong with leftovers? As long as they get eaten I don’t see what’s bad about them.

    I’m also unsure of how much the GE food scare is legitimate. It’s unavoidable, and GE is out there. What else are you going to eat? Pay $$$ for non-gmo organic?

  7. A Visitor

    On a lunch break here so…

    @Michael

    I thought you meant hunt as in hunting for healthier, less costly food. My fault.

    @Maea

    Yes, I’m a Mid-westerner through and through. How about yourself?

    To all:

    Pro tip: A friend of mine is an engineer for a well known pharmaceutical company. Per FDA rules, companies can label food (in this instance, chicken) as hormone free since all growth hormones given to chickens are excreted via urine or feces long before they ever reach your dinner table.

  8. Michael Kozaki

    Donal no worries, just 1/2 space between list items. Prob my browser.

    Maea,

    I cook a lot of ethnic meals they’re healthier, and digest easier

    Know how many American grandparents said that fifty years ago?

    Btw are you a midwesterner? You said “pop”

    Much further north. I’m WAY too rude to be a midwestern.

    But what’s wrong with leftovers? As long as they get eaten what’s bad

    Lack of commitment to portion size at a meal. I’m a glutton food addict.

    I’m unsure the GE food scare is legitimate. It’s unavoidable

    GE food is fine; it’s just not what our ancestors ate. While I prefer wild game & natural plants in moderate volumes because it’s what I’ve evolved for I’m realistic. And we are going to die. Soon. Details are no big deal.

  9. @Cassie:

    I did this for a month and when it was over, I felt so much better and expanded my way of approaching food so much that I didn’t go back to eating the way I did before. Before trying it I would never have eaten leafy greens at breakfast but now…

    It hasn’t been that hard, although I confess I did go back to drinking my morning coffee.

  10. @ Michael

    He/she forgot wheat. But the salt thing is BS, forget it. Whatever you do, be careful. We are food addicts so going cold-turkey is rough. Especially if you lack nutrients. Cane sugar, alcohol, and coffee are highly addictive. I’d go slow, one at a time.

    I was told to eliminate those specific things because they can cause inflammation of a specific thing in the body that might be causing certain symptoms that I sometimes experience. Wheat doesn’t do so in this particular case, but salt does. That’s why I’m doing it this way. If her hunch is correct, then I’ll be introducing them back into my diet (only one thing at a time) to see which one(s) is the culprit(s) in my case, and will then forget about those from then on, but can still have the ones that aren’t the cause if I wish. I have to do it cold turkey in order to get an answer to my problem anytime soon. The only thing I’m really addicted to is chocolate (maybe sugar too since it’s added to it), and am only really missing that and dairy (I’m dying for pizza, Reese’s, and milkshakes these days). I’m getting plenty of nutrients in what I’m eating. It’s not hard to give up coffee or alcohol because I never drink them anyways. The sugar is harder because of my daily chocolate fix for the last several years, but I can be stubborn when I need to be, so I’m hanging in there without the chocolate.

  11. Maea

    @ Visitor– also a midwestern here. I’ve never heard anyone else say pop on the blogs.

    @ Michael– how could we know what our ancestors ate, for sure? At this point it’s difficult to narrow down what is “genetically clean” food. I think it’s a good habit to stick to ancient grains if one likes their grains, plants, and lean meat. That alone cuts out a lot of the garbage.

    I honestly think the problem with food and North Americans is we make it more complicated than it needs to be. Leave foods alone, or as much as possible in their unadulterated state, and a lot of problems are avoided.

  12. @ Elspeth

    It might be my phone being weird, but I can’t get the link you provided to open up – not from my email or from Donal’s blog. 😦

  13. A Visitor

    @Maea

    Where in?

  14. Michael Kozaki

    Maea: how could we know what our ancestors ate, for sure? At this point it’s difficult to narrow down what is “genetically clean” food. I think it’s a good habit to stick to ancient grains if one likes their grains, plants, and lean meat. That alone cuts out a lot of the garbage.

    I agree that just cutting out processed foods and eating a balance diet is 99%. But meat became a large part of the human diet about two million years ago, in our evolutionary prime. We know this from our teeth, bones, and archaeological remains. Most importantly, we know what our recent ancestors ate (see the Price book above).

    We actually know a LOT. Genetic research on plants locks in when and where wheat was domesticated, the first corn invented in the New World. We know when and where we domesticated dogs, pigs, cows, horses by their genetics. Add in carbon dating, what animals went extinct and where, the size of human remains (grain eaters are sickly) and we have a very good idea what humans ate in the last 30,000 years. And in our evolutionary heyday it was meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, fruit. In very humble quantities. This is how our bodies evolved since we split off from chimps.

    Let’s be clear: there are no “ancient grains” for humans. We domesticated them 15,000 yo, corn 7,000 yo. That’s like yesterday in human evolution. I do agree that some peoples handle grains better than others. But they are still a danger to overeating, a lack of nutrients, and cavities (again, see the Price book above for powerful photos of this).

  15. Maea

    @ Michael, I would pay money to see you own anti-meat-eating proponents.

  16. Sorry for the bad link Cassie. I was referring to this:

    http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/

  17. Novaseeker

    I agree with the basic ideas of this. Basic common sense applies here — eat smaller portions (portion sizes in North America are crazy), don’t eat three meals a day, don’t snack, eat whole foods that you prepare yourself and not processed/prepared foods, use recipes that are easily prepared and not overly fancy, lay off the grains, period, and go very, very light on any dairy, and avoid poisonous substances like tobacco and alcohol. Most people don’t do any of that, and we see the results.

  18. Maea

    I don’t understand the meals per day thing. I always thought it was eat the amount you’re burning (maintenance) or eat less for weight loss. Calories in=calories out.

    The problem is food is so abundant, people think they need to eat everything in sight. In spite of the gluttony, we’ve become a very restrictive culture and continue to have problems.

  19. Michael Kozaki

    Cassie: I was told to eliminate those specific things because they can cause inflammation of a specific thing…Wheat doesn’t do so in this particular case, but salt does.

    We’ve found by trial and error (double digit sample size) that whole foods and exercise made all the complex medical issues…just go away. I don’t know why. I don’t trust medical professionals at all because the body is too multifactorial to really know much of anything. Sure, we know some specific things: no Vit C, get scurvy, die. No Vit D, get rickets, die. But after this basic level, I’m a skeptic. The body is a soup of hormones and chemicals that nobody really understands. If we fix one issue by taking away salt, we may cause another. It’s a dangerous game, to try and piecemeal one’s heath.

    Nova: Basic common sense applies

    Absolutely agree with your summary. I would put it this way though: it sounds simple in theory but in practice it’s so rare as to be non-existent. A good analogy is confessing one’s sins to a priest out loud; as you know, it’s completely different from saying “Jesus forgives me” in my head. Likewise, the act of controlling one’s food intake in the face of overwhelming choices within an individualistic culture? Impossible without insane discipline and organization.

    Elspeth: Sorry for the bad link Cassie. I was referring to this

    Neat link. I never heard of the anti-legume thing, makes sense though as people have a hard time digesting them. I didn’t like the fine print part though; picking and choosing what processed foods they go for. But I’ll have to study it. I bet 90% of those who follow it for 30 days make permanent changes to their diet (and I bet 95+% of people can’t follow it for 30 days….)

  20. But I’ll have to study it. I bet 90% of those who follow it for 30 days make permanent changes to their diet (and I bet 95+% of people can’t follow it for 30 days….)

    My 21-year-old daughter embarked on it with me to see if it would help with an issue she was having. We encouraged one another to stick it through. Once you get past the first two weeks, it’s easier to keep it up.

    DD1 is an excellent cook who thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of doing breakfast differently than what were used to. We’ve always been a family who cooked food from scratch. If we’re going to eat a cookie, it’s baked in our oven. But breakfast, although homemade, was almost always flour based with a hit of sweetness. That was our challenging time.

    Having someone around to split the cooking with goes a long way towards making it easier to eat whole, unprocessed food.

    And you’re right that some of the rules seemed arbitrary, but overall the plan is a good one.

  21. Michael, thanks for this post by the way. Good eating habits are important, especially in our fast food culture.

  22. Michael Kozaki

    I forgot to include this link in the essay or the discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    He explains why processed food is so terrible: HFCS in everything. Worth a watch.

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