{soapbox}: food

I'm going to get on my soapbox for a minute.  The worst part?  This isn't the only rant I'm in the process of writing right now!  This has been rolling around in the back of my mind for some time and a couple of conversations I've had lately have really reinforced my need to rant.

I'm here to rant about food.  I am a food addict, foodie and general food lover.  My current life motto is to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.  I preach this concept regularly.  I believe that in it's simplicity it will work to help you find your natural weight.

Unfortunately, things sometimes have to go deeper than that.

I also work hard to make sure I'm fueling my body with premium fuel.  I've started looking at my normal meals in terms of nutrient density because if you don't you spend your days with no energy and feeling like crap.  So I've put a lot of effort into finding out what is dessert and what isn't.

See, as Americans we think that cereal is breakfast.  Cereal is dessert.  Lean Cuisine's are lunch.  No.  Lean Cuisine's are dessert.

How did I determine this?  Most people know they shouldn't have a pepsi for lunch (beause pepsi is a sugary treat, right?).  What they don't realize is that many of those 300 calorie lean cusine's they're eating have more sugar than that can of pepsi.  They are dessert.

My most favorite health food?  Yogurt.  At some point someone deemed yogurt as healthy and health nuts throw it in their smoothies, choke it down for breakfast, snacks and the best part?  They even top it with granola or cereal (also dessert items).

Let's look at yogurt:

For me, eat a snickers instead.  I know it's fun size but really does yogurt really help your appetite any more than a fun size snickers??  I doubt it.  I was talking to someone and she actually said "Wow, this yogurt I got (because she's on a diet) is sooo good it really could be a dessert!"  It is.  It is.

"But April, I eat that chobani yogurt and that's like so much better for you, right?"  It is better....but still loaded with sugar. The only thing chobani has going for it is the amount of protein.  That helps justify the sugar...but still I'd really rather eat a snickers.

I once spent 3 hours in costco reading food labels.  I couldn't believe how little I knew at the time-everything I thought I was eating that was healthy wasn't.  Granola bars?  Dessert.  Milk?  Dessert.

"April, I've seen you down cupcakes...you're not THAT healthy."  I'm not claiming to be a beacon of health...but I am educated about it and I know when I'm eating dessert.  I think that's what I want people to understand more than anything-is when they're eating dessert and when they're not.

I have almost every single diet scheme backing me when I tell you that sugar is bad for you.  They all fight about how many calories/carbs/proteins/etc you can have and what to eat but EVERYONE agrees that sugar is bad for you.

So I do work hard to make sure that when I'm eating a peanut butter sandwich that the bread doesn't have added sugar, that the peanut butter is only ground peanuts and salt and that the honey is raw (and ideally local).  Honey actually is high in sugar but has several other nutritional components that help make it justified...and I love a good peanut butter and honey sandwich.  When I want to eat dessert I WILL.  And when I'm supposed to be eating a meal-it's a meal and not dessert.

And now, a soapbox within a soapbox. MILK.  At the beginning of 2010 I started cutting back on milk.  For me that meant no longer drinking it 24/7.  I loved milk.  I got pregnant in 2011 with Stella and due to it being the only thing that stayed down, I went back to milk (and cereal after being off it for a year).  After Stella was born I cut back on milk again...and then one day I wanted a glass so I drank some.  It made me sick.  I am now hyper-allergic to milk!!!  Serious!  If I drink it I wake up stuffy, mucousy and sick to my stomach the next day (and sometimes very soon after drinking it).

{ Great article about some of the sad truths about milk here. }

It now doesn't taste the same and comes with some nasty consequences afterward which really breaks my heart.  You know what doesn't break my heart?  I'm no longer addicted to sugar.  I don't have hayfever anymore, and generally I'm in better health than I have been in a long time.  Why?  Because I'm pretty sure I was allergic to milk all along and harming my body by drinking it non-stop.

I don't think I'm an unusual case.  We've seen a rise in allergies with our generation?  We also drink more milk than any generation before us and any other country.

"But April, what will I put on my cereal?"  Stop eating cereal.  It's dessert.  I promise.

"April, I drink fat-free milk though, so that's at least better, right?"  No.  I'll show you what my problem was:

Fat-free milk doesn't have the fat or calories to fill you up so I could easily drink a gallon a day and feel completely justified because "milk is good for you AND it was fat-free."  If you take the fat out of milk there is nothing to satiate your diet...so you drink more and literally double your sugar intake.

Plus seriously guys...it's cow's breast milk.  It's full of fat and sugar because it's supposed to fatten up baby cows.

Anyway-to sum it up:  I just want people to know when they're eating dessert and when they're eating a meal.  We eat too much dessert unknowingly in this country and as you can see, it's driving me crazy.  I don't rant about this to show off how amazing my diet is-I don't claim to eat perfectly-any one of you that spends any amount of time with me can easily agree with that BUT I have put a lot of time and effort into understanding a lot of this stuff.

My challenge for you:  Get a sitter or go at midnight and spend 3 hours without your kids at the grocery store.  Read food labels...ALL of them.  You'll be surprised.  And make sure you're eating dessert when it's dessert time...and meals at meal time.  The end.