Very deep title there, eh? Not my usual stuff.
Well the vacation went fairly well. We didn't sleep that much (it's hard to get the little guy to sleep in a hotel room). We had fun at Legoland, the Water Park at Legoland, Manhattan Beach, and the California Science Center (got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor).
Vacation, to me, has always meant reading books. I love to read. So does my husband (our dating life was dinner out and then a bookstore, almost every week). So I took three books with me on the trip (I was reading four at once). This time around, they were all non-fiction:
Simple Food for the Good Life - Helen Nearing
Death by Food Pyramid - Denise Minger
What to Eat - Luise Light
I bought Death by Food Pyramid on my Kindle, and was in the early stages of it when she mentioned What to Eat. So I decided to order What to Eat on Amazon (used, for $1.00, plus shipping).
That book was eye-opening, to say the least. She has 10 simple rules for how to eat healthy. They make so much sense! And they would have been really helpful in 2006 (when the book came out).
The single biggest thing that I got out of this whole book is this: Luise Light was the nutritionist in charge of creating the USDA Food Pyramid in the late 1980s. She had a team of experts collecting data, reading the literature, studying results of tests comparing dietary factors and disease. She was very proud to submit her recommendations to the USDA.
And then...what came back bore little resemblance to her pyramid. So the experts did their due diligence, made their recommendations, and politics changed the food pyramid in response to industry pressures.
I am so disillusioned. Why, you ask? Well. The Food Pyramid came out when I was in my early 20's. It's been a HUGE part of my life - HUGE as I've been interested in health and fitness. And I have struggled with my weight. I have lost weight on Weight Watchers and by using a variety of other plans. Most of which were based on the food pyramid. Every dietitian I have worked with, or have read, discusses the food pyramid (low fat/ high carb). Lots of whole grains, low-fat cheese, skim milk, you get the picture.
In the last year or so, I've found alternative eating plans that have called for a major reduction in carbs. (For example: Primal Blueprint, 21-day fix). And while I followed them, or tried to, in the back of my mind I always thought "but 2-3 servings of carbs a day is NOT sustainable, the Food Pyramid/ USDA recommends 6! Eating vegetarian/ high carb is better for the planet, better for your health."
And it was all a LIE! The original food pyramid submitted to the USDA? 2-4 servings of WHOLE GRAINS per day. TWO (for most women, more for men and teenagers). In addition, the dairy recommendation was only 1-2 servings. Is it any wonder that I have a problem losing and maintaining weight? All of those people who eat "low carb" were pretty much right. I thought it was a fad - but really 2 servings of grain a day is a LOT closer to the Paleo/ Primal/ Low carb lifestyle than it is to the USDA recommendations of SIX servings.
So for fun, I went to the USDA website CHOOSE MY PLATE and put in my age, sex, and weight and said "I want to lose weight". It recommended a reasonable 1500 calories per day. Commercial programs recommend 1200 to 1400. It also recommended SIX servings of grain, THREE servings of dairy, etc. I decided to use the Supertracker to simulate a basic day's eating plan based on their minimum recommendations. What did I get? 2000 calories! Despite their recommendation of 1500 calories a day, if I eat six grains, three dairy servings, etc., I end up with almost 2000 calories. Is it any wonder I am fat?
So I played around with Supertracker and here is what I found:
Cutting grains down to 2-3 servings per day 1707 calories. Still probably not enough for weight loss.
Cutting grains down to 2-3 servings and dairy down to 1 to 2, 1458 calories.
And here was my actual intake for this particular day, 1455 calories.
So right now, this very moment, I am in mourning for my grains. I am trying to come to terms with 2 servings a day. At least Luise Light is a little bit easier than the 21 Day Fix. 21DF lumps beans/ legumes/ peas and potatoes in with carbohydrates. Luise Light allows for potatoes as a vegetable and beans as a vegetable or a protein.
How do you adjust? No more sandwiches! I mean, a single sandwich is both my grain servings for that day. What about a burrito? Yep, a burrito with rice would put me over. And pizza! Well, I guess pizza is an occasional food anyway. What is guacamole without chips? Bruschetta without the bread? I've been trying to focus on what I SHOULD eat, not what I SHOULDN'T eat. It's going to be a challenge, that's all I can say. And from a "frugal cooking" standpoint, even more so. Grains are cheap.
Even now, when I google "How Much Grain Should I Eat?" the first many many pages are based on the USDA recommendations. :(
How much grain do you eat?