Day 40–100 Days To A Healthy Relationship With Food
This morning I found a third-full carton of mushrooms in the fridge. I cooked them and ate them.
And then realised how far I’d come in 40 days.
Here are five things I did today, that I wouldn’t have done before.
Today’s article is self-reflection. I’ll be breaking down my actions towards the mushrooms (that’s not a sentence I thought I’d ever write) and examining them within the context of my improving relationship with food.
1. Personal Hunger Awareness
Weekdays I fast between 7pm and 11am, so at 11am I am hungry. I was always hungry — or had an appetite — at 11am before I fasted. It’s just a time I feel like eating. In the past I would have been experiencing a post-Breakfast-cereal sugar crash and would reach for more sugar. Biscuits, toast, chocolate, it was all fair game.
I’ve learned the difference between hunger (needing to eat) and appetite (wanting to eat).
My (now healthier) 11am snack was smaller than usual this morning. I asked myself if I was still hungry. I was. I looked in the fridge.
2. Cooked Not Processed
I used to eat a lot of processed snacks. But I love cooking. It made no sense. I’ve tried to increase the amount of food I make myself. I bake bread, I use natural yoghurt as a base and add to it. I make my own version of a chocolate bar (I know this sounds weird) in a ramekin using small amounts of raw nuts, chopped dried apricots, raisins and vegan chocolate spread (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).
I looked in the fridge and saw some mushrooms that needed eating up, so I thought — Yes, I’ll find a way.
3. You Don’t Need Carbs With Everything
Have you noticed how many recipes just automatically involve carbs for no particular reason? Anything on toast for example. Why can’t we just eat the thing that’s on the toast on it’s own?
I don’t think carbs are evil. Keto is not for me.
But if you’re trying to lose weight then eating more carbs than you want or need to is a bit silly, particularly bread.
I was just about to make myself mushrooms on toast when I thought — why do I need the toast? So I just decided to make myself mushrooms.
4. Fat And Salt Are Not Bad
There’s no such thing as a bad food. There are foods that are low in nutrients and high in salt or sugar or fat, so you need to be aware of that.
Salt is incredibly useful, it maximises the flavour already in the food.
Butter is incredibly useful, it adds to the flavour already in the food.
(Incidentally, I remember a TV chef once commenting that the main difference between restaurant food and home-cooked food — and why restaurant food tastes “better” — is the amount of butter and salt used in the cooking).
If a little bit of salt and butter make you enjoy a huge bowl of vegetables that you otherwise wouldn’t eat, then it’s a good idea.
So that’s what I did. A little bit of salt, a tiny bit of butter added to mushrooms fried in spray vegetable oil — the taste was incredible!
5. Eat Slowly
This is the first lesson I learned during this 100 Days 100 Ways project and it has made a huge difference. I now chew every mouthful around 15 times instead of wolfing down my food. I get more flavour, which I enjoy for longer and I feel fuller afterwards. Win, win, win.
I can heartily recommend a bowl of fried mushrooms with a little salt and butter — superb as an 11am snack.
None of this would have happened 41 days ago.
41 days ago, I’d have gorged on toast and biscuits at 11am with a mug of coffee, and probably again at 4pm with a mug of tea. This time on a Friday evening I’d be well into the beers, shovelling down snacks and lining myself up for a hangover, a Saturday sugary snack binge, and a growing sense of doom about my weight.
Now I’m writing about a bowl of mushrooms! I’m looking forward to my 2 beers later (it’s Friday!) but that’ll be enough for me. I’ve stuck to my way of eating (chosen, deliberately, by me after careful research) and have enjoyed the food week.
On track. I’m not weighing myself for the duration of this project because I don’t find numbers and comparisons healthy mentally. But the non-scale victories are adding up. My clothes feel roomier, I can see I’ve lost weight, and I have more energy.
39/40/100 (Number of days goals met/ number of days into project/ 100)
Be responsible about food and weight management. Research a healthy weight, and healthy methods of weight management for you physically and mentally. Remember, you are not defined by what you weigh. I am not a nutritionist.