7.11.13

That time I ate healthy for four months

So people, I decided back in June that I was going to do something cray-cray: I decided to stop eating processed foods and only eat things my ancestors would have been able to make themselves. This means produce, nuts, dried fruit (with no sugar added), beans, and meat were the ONLY foods allowed to enter my stomach chamber. It also included rice and whole wheat flour, but I don't really eat very much of those unless I'm following a recipe or something or other. Eating completely unprocessed is a little crazy, but it's also way healthy. (Some people might call this the "Paleo Diet," butt I don't know cuz I never looked it up/cared about the rules.)

Now, a lot of you are probably wondering why I wanted to do a "diet." I know a lot of you (girls) are thinking, "But Gordy! You're so hot! I want my husband to look exactly like you! You are the fairest of all the males I have ever seen. Y'all don't need no diet."



To this, I reply: I know. I had considered doing this "eating healthy" thing before, but always decided against it because, like you said, I have a really hot body. REALLY hot.

So why come I did it then? Right you asked, Internet people, because I'm about to tell you why.

I was visiting my homeland of northern California for Sister #3's (or Sibling #4, whatever you want to call it) wedding in June. Whilst I was there, I did the normal things I do at home: dancey dance time, watch Netflix, watch my mom watch Netflix, go to Walmart, and watch Golden Girls with the gma.

I also ate NONSTOP. Eating is one of my favorite things and I consider it to be a good thing (I have a food blog for hecka crying out loud). But while I was sitting there working on a bag of chips and salsa one day, I couldn't help but wonder:



And then I began to realize things about my attitude toward food. Being raised in a house with six siblings was kind of like living in the Hunger Games:


So that dinnertime is kind of like this:



To the point that whenever there are leftovers, things get a little bit like this:



Considering this, I recalled times when I was in my apartment (back in Provo), cooking and eating dinner for hours. Also, eating my roommates' food if they left it out too long. Also, making sure to eat all the food possible whenever someone invites me over for dinner. Also, accidentally biting my iPod nano once because I thought it was a piece of candy. For me, eating was something like this:


I also thought about all the times I went to parties and ate as much food as possible just because it was there.


Eating wasn't something I did to become full or even enjoy myself. It was something I did because I was a food robot that had to eat all the food.

So as I sat there on that chip-and-salsa June afternoon, I decided to do something with myself. I decided that from July 1 until November 1 (four months!), I would ONLY eat unprocessed foods. Here were my rules:

1) Eat only unprocessed foods. That means lots of cooking from scratch. If I didn't make the food myself (like if I was buying bread or butter or yogurt), I had to be able to identify all the ingredients that went into the food as originally unprocessed.

2) I was allowed to use seasonings in the stuff I cooked/baked. I don't know how unprocessed a lot of the seasonings I used are, but I didn't care: I wasn't giving up flavor. Most of the seasonings I usually use are salt, pepper, basil, cumin, and chili powder.

3) I was allowed to eat processed foods at restaurants to do this blog and on dates.

4) If I was at a party or other such social gathering, I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted just for the sake of not being "that guy."



5) Also, as noted in PFB's Guide to Travel, if I was on vacasheaux, I was WAY allowed to eat anything I wanted. That's why it's called "vacasheaux."

6) Cheat days: I decided to do cheat days as follows: One day good (July 1), one day cheat (July 2), two days good (July 3 and 4), one day cheat (July 5), three days good (July 6-8), one day cheat (July 9), etc. Also all holidays were deemed cheat days (so really, July 4 was a cheat day ... oops). But this was really nice because I was able to ease myself into this "healthy eating" thing, like a Russian going into the water on the Day of Baptism.

The first week was pretty easy because of the plentitude of cheat days. Things got harder as the cheat days got farther and farther apart, though. The first month was the hardest because I cheated on lotsa days when I wasn't supposed to and I was like, "Can I even do this?!!!" But I persevered. By the time it was September, I was excited because I'd made it so far and I only had two months left (only two months, I am so positive).

Eating "healthy" did things to me. Since I had the rule that I could only eat unprocessed food, it kind of put me into "fasting mode." You know how when you're fasting, you always are about to go eat something, but then you're like, "Whoops, I'm fasting! Not gonna do that!" That's basically how it was. I'd want to eat something processed, but then I'd be all like, "Oops, can't do that right now, I'll just eat an orange or two or five." Obviously, since I couldn't eat all the things I wanted, I ended up eating less, which is something most Americans should be doing anyway.

Also, I didn't notice before, but when I was a food robot, my stomach always felt like it had a live mouse running around in it. When I stopped eating so much, my stomach quieted down. On cheat days, if I ate too much, that crazy rodent would come back and make me feel just as sick as I used to feel. It's weird how I used to feel so sick all the time but never noticed until I stopped eating all the bad food.

When I did eat, I ate a lot, but I also got full more easily. This is probably because 1) I started eating less, so my stomach shrank and 2) the food I was eating was more filling. As Americans, most of our diet is made up of grains (crackers, cereal, granola bars, chips, sandwiches, cake, brownies, pasta, pizza). While it's true that grains are on the bottom of the food pyramid and, therefore, we needs lots of them, we also eat a disproportionate amount when compared with the rest of our diet. We also need plenty of fruits, veggies, dairy, and meat in order to give our bodies all they need. Eating unprocessed made me put less emphasis on the less-filling grains, and more on filling, balanced eating.

My taste also began to change. Eventually, I stopped buying salted peanuts and salted butter because it began tasting too salty for me. I know that sounds cray, but it's true.

So what did I eat? For breakfast, since I'm king of waking up as late as possible, I usually had a couple pieces of fruit (oranges and apples) or a tall glass of milk as I ran out the door. If I had time, I would make this really good oatless granola. I ate it so much that I hate it now, but it was good at the time.

For snacks, I'd eat fruit or homemade trail mix (peanuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, and almonds).

For lunch and dinner I ate practically the same meals because they're kind of the same in my head. I would either cook chicken with veggies (onions, carrots, and tomatoes), make some kind of hash (beet beef hash isn't too bad), bake chicken and potatoes, make some eggs, or make soup. I made A LOT of soup. Soup is WAY easy to make and you can make it out of anything.

When did I have the time to make all this?  I cooked a lot on Sundays and saved the leftovers in the fridge. That usually lasted me until Wednesday or Thursday (my weekend starts on Thursday, so...).

I was excited for November to come (really, October 31, since Halloween was technically a cheat day) and boy am I glad it's here. I can make and eat any thing at any time. It was nice to be so strict for a while, but I DON'T think I could do it FOREVER.

After four months, though, I think I learned valuable things about eating in a more balanced, healthy way. I don't see myself as a food robot anymore, and that's a good thing.

I can think of three reasons why I was able to go the full four months:

1) I know how to cook and cook GOOD. If I didn't know how to season/cook meat correctly, I deftotes would have hated this a lot more than I didn't.

2) My mommy always taught me to eat healthy things (I never saw an ice cream carton in my house unless Dad could sneak it in).

3) Once I got used to the food, it wasn't hard since I could eat AS MUCH as I wanted (and I did).

So this was a good time. Kind of a like a party in my tummy.



As for how it affected my physical appearance/buffness, here are some before-and-after shots:

before
after
So there was some, but not much, improvement.