Intro to Food & Health – Final Weeks

I thought I’d crank out a quick post just to finish up what I learned in the course. I’ll reiterate that I *really* enjoyed this course. I finished it months ago so I actually had to go back and go over my course notes again to finish this little series. Ha!

Anyway: Weeks 3 and 4 were pretty straightforward.

Week 3

This week consisted of talking about the principle of “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” which is Michael Pollan’s mantra regarding food and diet. In my opinion, it’s pretty sensible for general health. At present I’m following a meal plan provided by a bodybuilding nutritionist, but if I were just eating as I normally would, and not follow a specific plan, then I’d go by that too.  Heck, in general even on my current meal plan, I still eat a lot of plant-based foods (and yes I EAT CARBS).

Another important thing is the “not too much” part. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is to slow down when I’m eating, give my stomach enough time to signal to my brain that I’m filling up and when to stop. My husband and I have to catch each other sometimes eating too quickly, and we even have had discussions with friends about cultural pressures of never throwing away food that we don’t want to eat because we’re full, or the “eat everything on your plate or you don’t leave the table” saying that got drilled into our heads as kids. In my personal experience, that taught me to stop listening to my body and become a habitual overeater, which led me to being overweight most of my youth and young adult life.

Even now, when my anxiety disorder is triggered (usually from sleep deprivation) I turn to snacking on junk food for comfort and just ignore my body’s signals of when to stop eating. Fortunately, it happens rarely nowadays and my “when to stop” skills have improved.

The rest of week 3 talked about cooking: ingredients to use, eating more veg, and sensible substitutions for high-calorie foods. What was nice was that the stuff Dr. Adam suggested on the videos having as staples (olive oil, onions, fresh garlic, tomatoes, and green veg) were things that we eat on a regular basis. Hooray! I liked the sensible substitutions section too because as an aspiring hobby-bodybuilder, I’m always looking for tasty but not-ridiculous calorie-wise foods. This led me to discover different types of baking ingredients, and substitutions for butter or other fats that I can use in cooking (though I don’t eat a ‘low fat’ diet).

Week 4

I enjoyed week 4, too! The first topic was constructing a healthy plate, i.e. what kinds of foods to include at each meal. I liked this because it concentrated on plant-based stuff but also talked about the importance of starches and proteins and not just veg and fruit all the time.

The second and third topics were intertwined because it gave tips about shopping at the supermarket AND talked about the importance of reading nutrition labels. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read nutrition labels. This especially applies to added unnecessary sugars – like why does yogurt need to be sweetened? I don’t like sweetened yogurt, dang it!

Anyway.

In America, there’s this trick that food companies use to get people to eat more of their processed food: they put on the labels the portion size, and THEN put “portions per container” which is usually way more than the actual amount you’d eat. I hate that and it makes me hate the idea of having to go grocery shopping in the USA. You don’t get that kinda tomfoolery in Europe, nope nope. It’s per 100g, and sometimes per portion, but not always. For bodybuilders and fitness folks that weigh out their food, it’s fantastic.

The fourth and final topic talked about the importance of moderation in maintaining a healthy diet. Pretty straightforward, but there was more discussion within the video that you really should go watch.

Like I said, the course was great. It was quick and to the point but really informative. I got some great book titles too that I’m looking forward to diving into when I get the chance.

Why don’t you go sign up?