Anyone who knows me knows that I have incredible ability to put away gobs of ice cream in a single sitting. Lactose intolerance, be damned. I never have been able to figure out why I can’t stop myself from shoving in the creamy good stuff, not stopping until I hit the bottom of the carton. It’s strange but while I’m scooping away I’ve always felt that something in my brain clicks off and all eat-right bets are off.
This morning I received the explanation of my binging ways, courtesy of the UT Southwestern Medical Center PR department.
Apparently researchers at this institution have found that fat we eat—specifically palmitic acid, which is found in foods such as butter, cheese, milk and beef—travels to the brain and causes a communication break down between our cells and the hormones leptin and insulin, which suppress appetite. The bottom line: Our whole brain chemistry can change just by eating something delicious. These fatty acids make us resistant to the every mechanism that tells us not to overeat.
Ah-ha! That clicking in the brain wasn’t just my imagination. Thank you for clearing that up.
For some reason, I haven’t been the gung ho grocery shopper that I am normally. It could be that I’m not cooking as much. But I have been living on the following foods:
1. FAGE Greek Yogurt. (I’ve mentioned this recently) This thick creamy Greek yogurt is my favorite—happens to be Baby A’s too. I finally got M. to ditch the overly sugared crap for it and now, with a bit of honey, it’s his favorite too.
2. Zen Muffins, preferrably the raspberry/blueberry oat variety. These are high fiber, naturally sweet, and vegan. I started eating these for breakfast when I commuted 40 miles on the 405 freeway to work. They’re the perfect car breakfast.
3. Yogurt cheese. M. discovered this cheese at Trader Joe’s. It’s dairy without the lactose-induced issues. Best part is that it melts well.
4. Almond Butter. I could eat freshly ground nut butter by the spoonful. This is childhood on a spoon for me. The Scottsdale Whole Foods offers to grind almonds with chocolate. Yum! Especially when served on a toasted whole wheat bagel (that’s still warm) topped with raspberry whole fruit spread or bananas.
5. Ice Cream. I think this post says it best.
This week Baby A and I went to the farmer’s market in Santa Monica. It was his second, but the first time that he was in the Baby Bjorn carrier. This give him a front row seat to all the action: the farmers, the fruit, the flowers and the vegetables. He loved it, sampling nectarines, berries, basil and oranges. He even picked out his own tomato, which he carried and chewed on as we shopped.
I have always enjoyed the market. I love the way it smells. I love talking to the farmers about how they grow their food and why they do so. I love the food when I get home. It tastes better than anything I ever buy at the grocery store and, as a result, I eat more fruits and vegetables. It has always been a time investment in my health. Now, that Baby A is enjoying it too; it feeds my body and my soul.
Note: The title of this post may seem a bit weird. It comes from M. who asks each time I return from the farmer’s market if I bought a farmer.
For the last three evenings, I’ve been drinking the same bottle of wine. Tonight I’ll finish it. Each night the 2006 Clos du Bois Pinot Noir tastes better. The air brought out its favors—blackberry and a hint of vanilla. I enjoy the wine; I savor the wine. Smell its bouquet. Taste the red elixir on my tongue. In return, each sip reminds me to slow down and pay attention. Breathe.
My glass of wine each evening started as a healthful way to wind down. Red wine contains the antioxidant Reservatrol that has been shown in scientific studies to help you stay thin, stop aging, block food-borne bacteria, and protect your heart, breasts and liver against disease. But it has become something much more poignant in a life that is full of taking care of family and working. And it just struck me—it’s my time.
It never failed. No matter whom I lived with there was two loaves of bread in the kitchen. Mine has always been the whole-grain variety, while my roommate’s was white. The reason why I mention this is that more and more research is proving that what you eat affects the way you feel and your health. As my friends and I get older, eating better is a priority.
I’m thankful that I grew up granola. As a child my mom shopped at the natural food store—way before the days of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. She even made our peanut butter by grinding the nuts in the food processor. At a young age, I developed the taste for whole grains. I’m not sure that transitioning to their taste now would be that easy. To illustrate my point, I’ll share my Wonder bread experience.
I was moving into my friend’s apartment in Westwood all day and that night I had plans to see a friend’s band play. She was on vacation and I hadn’t had the opportunity to get to the grocery store. I had to eat something before going out so I rummaged through the kitchen. The only thing I found to eat was Wonder bread, JIF peanut butter and Welsh’s grape jelly. (I hadn’t eaten any of those things since I was 11-years-old and on vacation with another family.) So I fixed myself a sandwich and proceed to experience an assault on my tastebuds.
When I bit into the sandwich, it was like eating a chemical sponge (that tingled on my tongue. Ewww.) with sugar mixed with something-that-vaguely-tasted-like peanuts and grapes. I was so hungry I choked it down. The next day the first thing I did was go grocery shopping. My new roommate came home and made fun of my whole grain bread, almond cheese and green goddess juice.
Flash-forward a few years after I had moved out. I look in her fridge. It’s like I never left. You see she changed her diet to match mine, including the green juice. She had gone to the doctor who told her that she had to change the way she ate. It was taking her awhile to get used to it but her tastes were changing. Luckily, she is the one who needed to makeover her diet. I’m not sure I could adopt her preservative-laden one.
So to everyone changing their diet to more whole foods, I commend you. I don’t think I have the discipline to do so.