Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting Real About Food

Hi! I'm Liz, also known as "Ice Cream" over at my regular, and very neglected, blog: My Ice Cream Diary. I'm a tired mom to 5 awesome kids, I'm a bit kooky and I like to make messes, not clean them, I've been changing diapers without a break for the past 13 years, I'm a daydreamer, and I eat ice cream on an hourly basis. Aunt LoLo has asked me to guest post about a little food experiment I'm trying. I'm not good at long term commitments so I hope you will all encourage me and help me get through this.

I love Cheetos. Man, do I love Cheetos. I love high sodium, multi-sugared, overly processed, chemically treated, junk foods. I'm just that kind of girl. The other night, though, while grocery shopping with my husband (during date night, which is something I swore I would never do...) we found ourselves in the snack isle debating whether or not to get a box of Hostess Ding Dongs. Mr. Hotness, that's my husband, was saying that he used to love Ding Dongs but that the older he got the more chemical and processed they tasted. I told him that I solved that problem by freezing them. When eaten cold they taste more "real." We both laughed about how gross that was and walked on, leaving the "chocolate" and "cream" filled goodness on the shelf.

Last Saturday I was buying yogurt, a dairy product naturally thickened by the live cultures that live in it. I had to spend an extra two minutes reading the labels in order to find a brand that didn't contain gelatin. Gelatin is powdered bone, you know, the stuff used to make Jello and fruit snacks? Cheater companies use gelatin to thicken yogurt so that they don't have to wait as long for the natural cultures to mature. But if you aren't getting the good-for-you cultures then why even bother eating the gloppy stuff?

Why am I rambling on about all this weird food stuff? Because Aunt LoLo asked me to, that's why. Actually, these two events made me think about all the random chemicals I've been eating lately and led me to try a little experiment. I've decided that for one month I will only eat real food. If I don't know what it is, or if I can't buy the individual ingredients in my grocery store, then I won't eat it.

For instance, I made homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert tonight. The only thing preventing me from eating one is the soy lecithin in the chocolate chips. Soy lecithin is a chemically refined byproduct of soybean oil manufacturing that works as an emulsifier. I've read varied opinions about it but because I can't just buy it in the grocery store I'm choosing not to eat it. Baking soda is a chemical leavening agent that can also be used as a deodorizer and an abrasive cleaner, but I can buy it at the store so I'm letting it pass. Hypocritical? Maybe, but this is my experiment so I get to make the rules.

Will I loose lots of weight doing this? That depends on how cheap and lazy I am. I can eat doughnuts, cookies, buttered popcorn, ice cream, and even candy bars, but I have to make them from scratch, or pay the ridiculous high prices for commercially produced pure foods (which rarely taste that good). This isn't about weight loss, though. This is about eating real food. And it shouldn't be that hard to do.

Now I'm off to watch Charlton Heston in Soylent Green for motivation. "People! It's made out of people!"

And check it out! Mr. Hotness made me a few chocolate chip free cookies! I love that guy.


  1. If experience is an WILL lose weight, and you'll feel better. I buy more cream, and use more butter, now than I ever did when I considered frozen pot stickers and frozen pizzas "Pantry Staples." My family has never been healthier! Granted, we've all added a bit more exercise (as in I go out in running shoes 1-3 times a week, for about half an hour and walk or jog, even though walking is faster than jogging) Treats that were so cheap at the grocery store like cookies, microwave popcorn, donuts, crackers....take so long to make, are so expensive to make (sugar and oil are pricey things when they're a main ingredient!), and batches are so depressingly small.... they really aren't part of our diet anymore, except as bona fide TREATS. Anyway, this is a novel. Good luck, can't wait to see how it works out for you guys!!

  2. About yogurt.....I grew up on the gelatint thickened stuff. And I know Myrnie makes EXCELLENT homemade yogurt...finest ingredients, and all that. BUT. I can't bring myself to eat it. Somehow, yogurt seems much less...weird if I think of it as a form of milky jell-o. Instead of milk that was left out until it was spoonable. ??

  3. I've toyed with the idea of making my own yogurt, but I'm too lazy. I have to laugh about the milky jello. The difference for me is that I would rather eat little living things that help fight yeast infections and aid in digecstion then eat ground up chicken bones. But it's all about what you are comfortable with. I also like blue cheese and sourdough, so I obviously like things living in my food. Hee hee.

  4. Oh...umm...ground up bones, do you say? Well....uhhhh...huh. I'm stumped. ;-)

    In my defense, Lo Gung has taught me to crunch up cartilage and all manner of things that I had previously thought inedible. In fact, bones are kind of good for you! Lots of calcium...and all that. :-p

  5. True, like a natural Tums, right? Hee hee. And for the record, I love fruit snacks. ;)

  6. I think you will lose weight, feel better, and find that real food tastes so much better that you'll never want to go back!

    I haven't gone cold turkey like you, but I have found myself gradually moving this direction by eliminating things like HFCS, aspertame, sucralose, all things gluten and dairy. It makes for a lot of label reading and putting things back on shelves. I really want to just give my family real food that I make as much as is humanly possible.

    Can't wait to see how your experiment goes.

  7. also, there's haagen dazs 5 ice cream! i found this last year. the only ingredients are milk, cream, sugar, eggs, cocoa for the chocolate flavor, mint for the mint etc. it is really good.

  8. Good luck to you! I went cold turkey as well and chocolate chips are THE thing I finally came back to. Everything else I make. You can buy chocolate bars that have no soy lecithin but they melt so you need to chop them up large and have big chunks, or melt and mix into the batter as chocolate cookies. There is a reason chocolate chip cookies weren't invented until the '20s. They aren't real food!

    As far as losing weight - it will only happen if you reduce your sugar and grain consumption. I spent quite a bit of time baking treats for the kids early on and I'm over that now. They can eat dried fruit, beef jerkey, cheese, etc. I'm sure they are much healthier for it to boot. I do occasionally make crackers now but rarely make anything sweet unless it's ice cream or pudding with lots of eggs and little sugar. Good luck to you!