Wednesday, October 6

Food versus "Food" for Breakfast

Low-carb seems pretty reasonable, healthy and do-able until you are wrangling with a 14 year old 8 minutes before she's got to be out the door to school.

Much of the time I make her a scramble, or an omelette. She doesn't like eggs much and tends to not eat more than a bite, sadly, to make me feel better. Sometimes I make grilled sliced kosher dogs or gourmet sausages (the apple-gouda or jalapeno-jack or chili or cheddar types). She doesn't really like that either. (Had I put them in a bready bun with ketchup and mustard, ok, but sliced and grilled, no.)

Sometimes I make her a mock -- slang for a sort of distinctive food-ish-thing you make in a microwaveable bowl. 1 egg, 1+ oz of cream cheese depending on how much you really want to eat it as cheesecake, some flavorings, spices, sweeteners, a drop of fresh fruit puree, broken pieces of dark chocolate bar, whatever. Soften cream cheese, stir with everything else, you can leave little chunks of the cheese, then nuke -- in my microwave it's about 1.5 minutes, might vary. Note that this can also be done savory with leftover chicken and rosemary, or cumin and taco meat, or crisped pepperoni and shredded mozz, or whatever. The sky's the limit. Over at the ACL forum ( "kitchen" board there are a couple threads on "mock danish" and "bowl muffins" that probably have 200 variants. Some add almond or coconut or flax meal... depending on your ingredients this can range from a heavy muffin to bread pudding in texture, from an instant chocolate cake rather molten in middle to a garlic-caraway-flax-thing you can put a topping on.

I normally avoid things like the above because years of low-carbing refocused me on "whole foods." Well, mostly. I did mention previously that I'm relaxing more than I used to and being willing to do some processed meats and such for the sake of time/ease and that seeming better than ending up offplan entirely.

The one I made the other morning had some sweetzfree and truvia for sweetener, 1 egg, 3oz cream cheese, a little bit of pineapple extract, and a small handful of chopped toasted macademia nuts (from the bag in the baking aisle in market). She said it was fabulous. I felt guilty because it was 'sweet' and it seems like breakfast shouldn't be sweet. What is that? I don't know where that guilt came from. Like if it's sweet or you really enjoy it, it's the moral equivalent of a cinnamon roll, it must be bad!

Food for her is really a pain! She doesn't like the meat/eggs much and that is what I am just fine with and gravitate to. She likes veggies but often only if drowning in something like a dressing.

Tonight I sauteed a little bacon in tiny pieces, a bunch of crimini mushrooms, and some sliced leftover baked chicken, and then gave her a tiny bowl of butter for dipping the rather dry chicken. She said it was fab. I was trying to think of what would be better for her than the (bad-oils) ranch we currently have, I guess that worked.

I had my parents get me a big chunk from a roll of Amish butter recently. Honestly I did not taste anything improved over store butter and in fact I think I liked the taste slightly less. I'm sure it's healthier though. At 4x the price it should be.

An online buddy gave me a recipe for a morning smoothy the kid might like, which reminded me that we have protein powder and frozen berries and, as soon as I replenish a couple more jars to bring it back to life fully, kefir.

Part of me says this isn't food. I dunno, does chopping something to tiny bits in a blender make it less food? If the ingredients were eaten separately would it seem more like food? If there wasn't a bit of sweetener (which may be its own food-karma but aside from that, what's wrong with the rest of any given thing?) would it seem more like food?

It seems like I have a lot of belief systems that reduce me to chicken, burgers, pork loins, roasts, occasional dogs or sausages, bacon, eggs, some fresh produce (very limited), frozen berries, sometimes some nuts or seeds, and some dairy (mostly butter and cheese and homemade kefir). To me this is fine. Although it does explain why I tend to not eat, or eat super lowcarb and nearly paleo, or eat offplan, without much in between. To my 14 year old, this is so boring that it's nearly a punishment. So for her sake I am trying to branch out. Branching out into things less perfectly healthy seems like a contradiction, when the whole point is making her food at home so she eats less crap at school.

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell where food crosses the line to "food". If I nuke her sweet mocks and make her sweet or chocolaty protein drinks, am I teaching her 'diet food' that is not a long term eating strategy? Am I feeding her a lowcarb version of junkfood?

Or am I being reasonably practical about feeding a teenager who often has an entire 0.8 minute to scarf down something? (Because, as I tell her, she is the slowest human alive, the moreso the more she NEEDS to hurry!) Who if she doesn't have something decent at breakfast will spend a fortune on food so horrifying at school that it looks like an institutionalized advertisement for the bad-oils and grain lobbies?

I can't decide. Tomorrow I'm going to try a protein drink for her. We'll see how that goes.


ItsTheWooo2 said...

Making any diet work is all about finding food you enjoy eating.
If she doesn't like eggs, try eating...

1) greek yogurt with strawberries, splash of cream & dash of splenda,
2) cottage cheese with berries and nuts and a dash of splenda + vanilla,
3) a great recipe is 1/3 cup carbquick with an egg and an ounce of cream fried in butter - best pancakes ever!
4) A handful of mixed nuts and a few fresh berries is a low carb breakfast
5) A serving of fiber one cereal with lots of crushed nuts and cream and berries (fiber one is actually pretty good for blood sugar)
6) My favorite breakfast: a slice of diet bread, toasted, with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a few teaspoons of sugar free jam, and a creamy coffee. This is the BEST for controlling my blood sugar.

Low carb isn't all about EGGS EGGS MEAT MEAT ... the idea is to choose food that is low in glucose, moderate in protein, higher in fat, with an overall calorie intake that is adequate for your needs (i.e. not eating when not hungry).

Foods like nuts are actually extremely good for blood sugar and insulin disorders, but people are afraid to eat it since it is vaguely like junk food (salty and crunchy and scary).

The point of eating this way is to keep your insulin down... and that is accomplished by selecting high fat high fiber food with very little carb and moderate protein (as both carb and protein stimulate insulin and turn into glucose in the body... protein allowances need not be restricted but the emphasis should not be on eating a very high level of protein , and in my long experience of low carbing protein in excess ALWAYS leads to weight problems and hypoglycemic problems).

You can eat softer, sweeter foods and still control your insulin levels, it doesn't have to be eggs for breakfast every day.

If she likes veggies in dip that's totally cool and it is great for blood sugar and weight... although I would recommend reduced fat dip since the soy oil is high in omega 6 and that is always quite bad for skin and mood for me. Low fat dressing has little fat in it so it isn't a problem with excess bad oil.

I mean everyone has their own situations... I don't have a binge eating or "emotional eating" problem so I don't know if this advice will work for such a person... but if the problem is purely a glucose / insulin disorder, the above foods mentioned are fantastic. They will fill you up, you will not get hypoglycemia, or hyperglycemia, and you will lose weight on it if you eat to stave off hunger only.

ItsTheWooo2 said...

It might also be that she just isn't hungry in the morning. When I was very heavy I was rarely hungry in the morning... while losing weight your body is releasing a lot of fat from the fat cell (to be expected when insulin levels come down from a previous high level) and so chronic anorexia may result. This is normal, do not force food it will only raise insulin levels and slow weight loss. This situation will resolve itself when body weight normalizes, as less fat will leave the fat cell and leptin levels will bottom out all of which will prompt hunger and eating.
My appetite is much, much higher now than it was when I was first on low carb.

Regarding whole food nazism ... I would point out this is a lifestyle change, and if it's going to work you need to love what you eat. I love what I eat, and I could give a crap less about "organic" or "whole foods". I incidentally do eat fresh food mostly but you better believe I also buy trays of frozen birds eye spinach, I eat atkins bars all the time, I eat dark chocolate with sugar in it, and I really don't force myself to eat veggies (I do like veggies so i eat more than most people but I DO NOT force myself to eat veggies if ID on't like it).

In my observation most people who are obsessed with food purity and eating "perfectly" don't end up losing much weight and they don't stick with their plans. This is life, you have to live it until you die, and no one is going to live their life dreading dinner and dreading lunch and not allowing any snacks etc etc etc.

Fight the battles that MATTER. The battles that matter are 1) not eating high carb, 2) not eating tons of calories 3) not eating tons of junkfood. Organic, veggies, all that crap is smoke and mirrors... the majority of health issues will resolve when a person gets insulin under control and loses weight.

I just had surgery, and the surgeon said his primary criteria for whether or not a patient is high risk is their previous health conditions (e.g. diabetes heart problems smoking) and their weight. If a surgeon is basing his professional license on this, I would say that is a good estimation that in his decades of experience, fat people tend to have a lot of complications whereas thin people do not.

People, during weight loss, get *so focused* in all these minimally relevant things (organic, whole foods, veggies, exercise) that they LOSE SIGHT of the big picture, the most important thing... the goal of all this special diet nonsense is to keep your insulin levels under control, to reduce your insulin and your glucagon levels, and that is accomplished by lowering overall food intake particularly carbohydrate and secondarily not eating excessive protein, and tertiary not eating gross amounts of calories (failing all three of these interventions WILL TRIGGER HYPERGLYCEMIA AND HYPERINSULINEMIA in any vulnerable to obesity individual).

All that other stuff (organic, whole foods, veggies, exercise) will come with time. Right now focus on the most important thing, getting your diet right in regards to insulin.

I also strooongly advocate supplementation for metabolic disorder. The following have been very helpful for me:

Chromium picolinate
Chromium GTF
carnitine - allows fat use for energy
myo-inositol - allows many receptors in the body to work right particularly insulin as it converts to d-chiro-inositol, especially important for women with PCOS
bright light therapy - bright light therapy stimulates the nervous system, which benefits mood and metabolism of fat
emphasize omega 3 fatty acids, sat fat, and monofat, reduce omega 6 fats such as salad oils and mayonaise when possible. A high omega 6 diet always ruins my skin, mood, and tends to encourage weight gain.

ItsTheWooo2 said...

*whew sorry posting marathon*

Regarding your trouble with the definition of food, 8 years of low carbing have taught me this:

[b]Food is anything where in which after eating it, you feel good body and mind, over a long term continuum of time.[/b] This is the only criteria that matters - how you feel.

SO, by this definition, almost everything you are afraid of is food. Mock danishes are food, since we feel good after eating them, and they help us lose weight, right?

What is not food: bowls of cereal with milk, lots of sugary candy, lots of starchy food like bread rolls. These are not food for me because if I eat them I feel like shit, get signs of PCOS, and start gaining weight.

Don't get hung up on details, look at the big picture. If it makes you feel good, if you feel full, if you are energized after eating it, if your body is giving you indicators it is nourished by it, then it's FOOD whether or not it is processed or has splenda or tastes sweet or any other irrelevancies.

KMG said...

Mmm, everything you wrote about sounds fine to me--but in my world, it would just be paired with more vegetables, and there would be no dairy because it doesn't agree with me. I'll be getting Vitamix blender soon because I love my smoothies so much. And yes, I use cocoa powder, protein powder, and stevia along with my berries, coconut milk and fresh spinach. If she can do nut butter, a peanut-butter (or almond butter)-strawberry-cocoa smoothie is lovely.

I remember arguing with my mom when I was a child. We were at a breakfast joint and I wanted pie for breakfast. She said no, and I said, "How is that 'breakfast' donut you're eating any different than pie?" She had to concede and I got my pie. But these days, I focus more on protein for breakfast, whether it's sweetened or not.

As for dipping veggies, are avocados too carby for you guys? If not, homemade guacamole is my favorite dip. I wonder if she'd enjoy pesto, too.

carne said...

Well, your choice is not between her eating perfectly low carb whole foods and eating semi-low carb, slight frankenfoods- it's between eating low carb or not. If she does not find the low carb foods palatable then its likley she will revert to the SAD. If all she wants to eat is cream cheese (which is cheap) mock danishes, then it is much better than the actual alternative she will turn to.

BTW another recipe-
2 tbsp PB
3 oz cream cheese
(nuke and soften)
add one egg and two packets of splenda.
Nuke another minute or two (depends on how soft you want it)

Can make it with some SF chocolate sauce or chunks.

Comes out like a really good cheesecake. Speaking of, ever thought of just making a big ass cheesecake and giving her a slice every day? Any dairy + splenda tastes good to be honest.

And how is your journey going??

PJ said...

Its the Woo: wow, thanks for all the great advice, food suggestions, lowcarb counseling, etc.! Your check is in the mail! :-) Thanks also for the supplement recommendations. I think I have those but I haven't been taking them. I think your definition of food is good and I'd be better off going with that one.

KMG: I love avocados, and pesto! They are like the ONLY green thing I like besides peppers. So of course it would figure that there are only three green things she really does not like, and guess which they are LOL.

Carne: I might go the cheesecake route, actually. I wonder if it would be possible to add the tiniest bit of protein powder to a mini-cheesecake without destroying every good tasting element. I'm trying to find some almond butter because she and I both seem to react with craving to peanut butter and it gets sucked down at enormous speed so I've been avoiding buying the stuff, lest we both be on the peanut butter diet, haha!


Susan Higgins said...

Oh how I know your pain with making every attempt at providing healthy and tasty food to your daughter. For me, it's my aged mother who sounds JUST like your daughter.

I never knew about the "mock" dishes, thank you for sharing that idea. I like to put Phosphaltidyl Choline in dishes like this... it is good for your brain and cleans out your liver, especially if you have had a little too much to drink.

I would avoid Splenda or any artificial sweetners. They tend to break your insulin receptors. Artificial sweetners trick the brain into thinking it's eating sugar so it pumps up insulin production which doesn't have a job to do because sugar levels are not high. If you are going to eat sugar, use a low glycemic version like Agave Nectar.

Your comments are very informative too.

I need to read your blog regularly!

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