Saturday, January 23, 2010
"Daikon radish legs": Since childhood I always had them, and I always will. So let's make the best of them. Though I won't have any skinny thighs, at least I'd like to keep the shapely big legs.
I once read a book called "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" by Brian Wansink, PhD (Bantam Books 2006). The book is a culmination of what I already knew (or suspected) but provided "why" from psychological standpoint. It suggests many small changes you can do to influence your overall diet. (What I mean by 'diet' is 'the way you eat', of course!) I really like the idea: it's sensible to implement 'little' things that can make a big difference rather than to try a drastic one that will not last. And those 'little' diet changes may lead to a change in your life style or philosophy.
So, let's make those little changes. After a month-and-a-half long of holiday feasted in sugar (desserts), salt (snacks), and fat (practically everything I ate!), I will watch what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat. Simple, right?
1. Eat when hungry.
To me this will be the biggest change. We are all creatures of habit. Once you set the routine, it's hard to stray away. And that includes your food and meal time. Some mornings I wake up starving. Another morning, not so much. So I just listen to what my belly says: if it's hungry I will eat. Not because I have to eat this and that now. Luckily I work at an office that permits the flexible lunch time. So it's easier for me to moderate the "demand (= hunger)" and "supply (= meal)" during the day.
2. Know what goes inside the body.
Look at the food/meal you are going to eat/drink. Really, look at it and see what they are made of. And know what you are going to put in your body. It's easy to 'imagine' the food going down if you can see and know what they are. But it may require a lot of imagination on your part if you don't know your food. I normally buy produces at the farmer's market so I know where they come from. But if they come from supermarket, you will never know where they come from, how they were handled, and worse, what's in it. Buying the raw ingredients, will probably lower the 'unknown' ratio. But the higher the processing, the more unknown, and many cases undesirable, stuff are inside that food. So, the rule is really simple: Try to reduce the unknown. Think if you can tolerate the thought of consuming that unknown stuff. Because they are going inside your body.
3. Eat fruit at the end of meal.
When I saw this motto on the list of "Rules to Eat By" (by Michael Pollan, published on the NY Times Magazine last October), I immediately remembered my mother used to giving us fruit at the end of dinner. (She still does). It could be apple, pear, strawberry, whatever it is in season. She'd peel them, cut up and put on the table. Now I am reviving that tradition myself, it seems to make a lot of sense. Fruits provide many vitamins to help digestion. Also they suppress the immediate craving for dessert. So nowadays, every time I eat, I end my meal with a bite to an apple or clementine. I will munch on chocolate only when I REALLY NEED them.
4. Don't eat too late. Don't eat too fast.
Apparently it's not the actual time that's crucial. It's how much time between your last eating and your going to sleep. So I try not to eat after 9pm - giving it at least 2 hours before I become dormant. This seem to help regulating the digesting cycle...well, just take my word because I won't go into detail! I am also slowing down the speed of my eating. This relates to #1 and #2 above: I eat slower so I would know when I no longer feel hungry. Also I want to enjoy the food as I am eating; really savor it with eyes, nose and the mouth.
5. Cook what you eat.
I guess this summarize all of the above. It's not a change I want to implement, rather, it is a renewed pledge.
Here's to the shapely big legs!