Introducing the Food Chronicles

One of the things that brings excitement to my life is food.  It was always a big focus in my family growing up, with rituals like wine with Friday & Saturday suppers, favourite dishes, family get-togethers and meals for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  When I was away at university my grandma baked banana muffins and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and mailed them to me – just like a hug from home!

Eating has gotten much more complicated lately.  I am trying to balance many things, several of them contradictory.  I’m hoping that blogging about it will help me sort them out – remember them – and perhaps gain advice from you, my esteemed readers!

Here are the issues that I keep in mind for food, roughly in order of priority:

1.  Allergen free (ie none of our allergens)!  No eggs, fish or tree nuts.

2. Organic if possible.  (still to come:  the lists I have found of “most important to eat organic” and “things that don’t really matter if you eat organic or not).

3. Choices with some thought to foods that are supposed to be healthy for you – especially from the “Foods That Fight Cancer” and “Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer” books by Dr. Beliveau.  Overall he advocates more fruit & vegetables, of course, but there are some interesting research nuggets in there.  However, I feel that it’s important to keep a sense of perspective.  Slavishly following these books doesn’t mean you’ll never get cancer.  If you know someone who has had a cancer diagnosis, it isn’t their “fault” for not following these guidelines.  I think there’s some great information here but I’d hate to have it transformed into a “blame the victim” situation.

4. Lower carb/more whole grains.  DH and I followed the South Beach diet several years ago and it did wonders for DH’s blood lipid levels, and also for his weight loss.  I lost some weight too but it was really surprising how well it worked for DH.  There’s type II diabetes in my family so I think this is a good strategy for both of us.

5. Less meat, more vegetarian meals/dishes.  As I grew up eating meat with every supper, this is a shift for me.  (note how this is more difficult w/ the south beach diet, mentioned above!)

6. Eating 3 course meals a la “French Women Don’t Get Fat”  – this is a recent introduction to our food habits (for supper), and we are loving it!  Some typical things might be a soup course, then a salad course, and then the “main” – all of them small, and meat usually just at the main course – or sometimes it’s all vegetarian.  One recent meal was 1) soup 2) corn on the cob 3) a bit of beef stew, mashed potato, sauteed mushrooms & onion, and broccoli.  By the time you get to course #3 you’re already partly full, plus I generally use smaller plates.  It is a bit more work but I”m starting to get into the groove.

7.  Environmentally friendly/locally grown – sometimes I am good at keeping this a priority – other times not so much.  Last year we got most of our fruits & vegetables from a farm about 40 min away.  It was a great experience but it was a commitment of money & time to drive there and back!

8.  Not from BPA-lined cans.  (a whole new level of obsessiveness for me)

9. Gluten-reduced (I haven’t really incorporated this much, but it’s something I’d like to aim for in the future)

10. Less dairy (Dairy is so easy, high protein, good flavour for us.  But I think we are having too much of it). 

So, you may be able to see some of the conflicts here!  South Beach advocates a high protein breakfast, and highly recommends eggs – that goes against our allergy!  It also emphasizes high protein to keep you feeling full – a bit harder to do when striving for more vegetarian emphasis.  Then there’s the preventing cancer thing, where omega-3 fats from fish are fantastic!  Unfortunately, we are allergic to that.  Then there’s the overall cost of buying organic … argh.  Of course a good variety of fresh veggies & fruit is an admirable goal, but you can’t get that much which is local in the wintertime in Ontario.

No wonder I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the (supposedly) simple task of eating!


9 thoughts on “Introducing the Food Chronicles

  1. loribeth says:

    It gets complicated, doesn’t it? I take a whole whack of vitamin supplements in the morning, to which I recently had to add iron for anemia. Iron is best taken with orange juice, but not with calcium. So I’ve moved my calcium supplement to the evening, but where does that leave the milk I put on my cereal?? And I recently heard that orange juice, not just grapefruit juice, can interfere with other meds. I usually take my blood pressure pill in the morning. ARGH!!

  2. thalia says:

    I have a question about allergies – are you really allergic? In that you swell up, get hives and can’t breathe when you eat those things? If not, you’re not allergic and you’re potentially missing out on some really nutritious foods which are really good for you. Equally I’m not convinced on the dairy concern – a lot of full fat dairy isn’t great, but a bit has positive health effects and is a very good source of nutrients. What’s driving all these different restrictions|?

  3. Andie says:

    Thanks for your comment Thalia – yes, we are truly allergic, epi-pen carrying, medic alert bracelet wearing … must avoid “may contain traces of” for nuts & fish, and cannot have egg in baked goods or egg noodles 😦

    I sure hear you on missing out on some wonderful foods. It makes me sad & frustrated if I dwell on it. Especially omega-3’s which are best absorbed from fish, eggs or nuts! But, this is the hand we are dealt. As you can see, I am pretty obsessed with trying to find out everything I can (and I’d be very glad to get other info from my readers too!)

    I think there is alot of good in dairy too. What I haven’t fully researched is the “inflammatory” connection that gluten & dairy apparently may have. I don’t know much about that yet. But dairy is just so easy to grab for a quick snack, etc. and I think we are doing a bit too much of that for good balance. I must say I’m very grateful we do not have allergy to dairy, as I think it must be one of the very toughest to negotiate.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Andie says:

    Loribeth – I knew about grapefruit juice but not orange juice … scary! Thanks for the tip, I’ll be looking that up asap. I’m sorry you have so many things to balance too. Grrr!

  5. Complicated is an understatement. What challenges!

  6. Amy says:

    No kidding–I’d be overwhelmed, too. You know I’m right there with you on the organic as possible/healthy choices/affordability issues, and that’s hard enough. At least I don’t have any food allergies or intolerances to work around! Your poor little guy–and coming up iwth balanced meals can’t be fun for you, either. I’d love to see posts about cooking here, and I have a great soup recipe to send you!

  7. Andie says:

    Yum! I love recipes and new ideas – please don’t be shy about sending them in, or sending me links!

  8. SAHW says:

    It is overwhelming, so I am looking forward to reading your attempts to make sense of it all! 🙂

  9. […] planned to go along my list in a nice, orderly fashion and already I’m jumping to #8 on my food chronicles list!  However, I think seasonal relevance trumps orderly – and I’ve discovered an easy […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s