A little bit of Research

Friday Jan 22nd 2016. 

So I’m a few days in and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not really sure what I’m doing yet. I’ve stayed away from white flour and refined sugar but I question whether I really thought it all through properly. I’ve been having my porridge for breakfast with a sliced banana and all the other bits (linseeds, chia seeds, flaked almonds and almond butter – delicious) – but some would say that sugar is sugar and your body can’t distinguish between natural and added sugars. So should I ditch the banana too? That seems a bit severe right? As I’ve already mentioned above, it’s something I need to investigate further. I used to know a lot about this, particularly sugar. I ditched the white stuff before and had a very clear idea about what I should or shouldn’t eat. Almost 2 years later and I’ve forgotten half of what I knew so am close to being back to square one.

I know even less about the white flour situation. I chose white flour because that annoying girl in the boring book (Megan Kimble?) gave it up when she relinquished processed foods. She had a pretty convincing argument that white flour was super refined and bad for us (which I think she got from Michael Pollan (see below)). Others would include far more carbohydrates in the mix but I’m not sure I’m fully prepared to ditch all carbs just yet.

Anyway, to help me make my decision I’ve bought a couple of Michael Pollan books (and I’m currently listening to one of his talks on youtube). I’ve read “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” before and really enjoyed it. I can’t say I adopted many of his rules for very long but maybe this time will be different. I have acquired “The omnivore’s dilemma” and “In defence of food”. I’ve already forgotten the order in which I have to read them but I’ll look that up and get started later today.

In Defense of Food

Maybe this year won’t be so much about “giving up stuff” but more about a health quest. I’m not going to lie, I’m also eager to lose a bit of weight (as I aspire to every year!) and I’m really hoping that my skin clears up. As I write I can feel a new spot erupting and I’m fed up. When I gave up sugar before, my skin did clear up. Then one day I had a bar of chocolate and the very next, an unwanted guest appeared on my chin. So I know there is a link between my sugar intake and my skin and I’m sick of having puberty face at age 38.


 So I’ve spent half the afternoon swotting up (thank you youtube and other not so legal forms of accessing stuff I want to watch). So far, I’ve given Michael Pollan 2 hours of my life and watched “in defense of food” (which I am still yet to read). Essentially, Mr Pollan is a journalist who has spent many years looking at our food chain, where our foods come from and how they are produced. In this documentary, he focuses more on what we should be eating and the links between diet and health. In his opinion (and perhaps others’ too) it boils down to 7 words –

“eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.

I like a lot of what Michael Pollan is saying about eating real food etc. but I also feel he can be somewhat contradictory at times. He speaks of the downside of “nutritionism”, which I understand to be an overreliance on the various nutrient components of a food with less of a focus on the actual food itself. He then, however, goes on to speak of the various nutrients present in many of the foods he advocates. So it seems to me that sometimes it suits him to depend on nutrients and other times not so much. There was also a lot of demonising of white flour (which I suppose suits my purpose here) but in an early scene we see him baking bread. I can’t say I know what his recipe consists of but it looked very white floury to me. I also have the fear that if I show the documentary to the BF, he’ll want us to become vegetarians or something and I’ve been there and done that and am far happier and possibly less overweight on the meat, thank you very much.

I then discovered an RTE documentary (Sugar Crash) that’s made it’s way onto youtube and concentrates on the evils of sugar. In some ways I found this a little more meaningful to me – even though the host bothers me emmensly. Perhaps because added sugar recommendations were very specifically laid out (25 grams per day or 6 teaspoons for an adult) and there were a number of hints and tips in the documentary to help us if we choose to reduce our sugar intake. Much of the information I’ve come across before, and I spotted a lot of familiar faces in the form of the usual “sugar experts” as I watched (Hello Dr. Robert Lustig, you’ve slimmed down!) but it was a nice refresher given that just a few hours ago I couldn’t remember much of anything about sugar and what’s been advised about it’s consumption. Maybe if I ate less sugar my brian would work better. We shall soon see I suppose!


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