Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving, identity.
For most of us food isn't just a way of getting energy. It is a form of pleasure. The consumption of food is so often a social occasion, either within or outside the family. In Australia Christmas dinner is the big meal of the year.
Food has fashions. Of course in Australia avocados are very fashionable at the moment, as is coffee drinking (I am actually an almond latte drinker). Scientific research tells us what we should and shouldn't eat, and this changes over time as medical science improves.
The way I eat now is very different from the way I ate as a child. I ate biscuits and cakes (which were home cooked) three times a day. I had some at recess, some at lunch time and then after school. There was always dessert at night - always home made. Meat was always the main item on the plate for dinner, accompanied by individual vegetables which had been boiled until they were soft and mushy. By the time I had my own children, cakes and sweets were much more limited and dinners more varied.
One of the results of post-war immigration has been the changing nature of our diets. It has widened to include Asian foods such as stir fries and European foods such as spaghetti bolognaise. Both these dishes are now 'everyday' dishes on our dinner tables. These days the sky's the limit, as the range of ingredients available increases.
I have tended to follow general healthy food fashions, always choosing whole grain over white bread; cutting my red meat consumption and eventually becoming pescaterian (the only flesh I ate was fish); choosing low fat where possible; and at one stage virtually eliminating eggs.
During most of this time I have battled with my weight - losing weight and putting it on. Losing weight and putting it on. Over and over again. I always maintained a reasonable weight (In fact when I look back I was quite thin) until I was 40, when I started taking anti-depressants.
One of the problems was that I now started eating breakfast. Before that time, since my teens, I had always been too anxious to eat breakfast in the mornings (although I didn't realise this was the problem until I stopped feeling anxious) and now this was extra calories. And the other problem is that unless you are careful it can be easy to put on weight when on some types of anti-depressants. Before I knew it my weight had increased majorly. I just didn't seem to be able to lose a significant amount. In fact as I grew older I found that the 1500 calories (6000 kilojoules) I used to lose weight on didn't work any more and that I needed to stay around 1500 calories just not to put on weight. I was tired of dieting all the time to stay overweight and just not put any more weight on.
A few years ago I tried the Paleo or Primal diet. I found this didn't work for me. I wanted to keep my diet as a pescetarian,
and I probably didn't look into it enough so my diet was just too limited.
Now 7 years later I am trying the Plant Paradox diet.
So far I have been on it for 7 weeks and it seems to be successful. It is all to do with gut bacteria and something called lectins which are found in foods. I gave myself a few weeks to organise foods and then began by substituting one meal at a time. There is no calorie counting.
I began with breakfast. Breakfast is now a cup of frozen blueberries; 3 tablespoons of coconut yogurt (not coconut flavoured yogurt); 2 teaspoons of hemp seeds and 2 teaspoons of flax seeds for Omega 3; 4 teaspoons of psyllium husks for fibre; and 2 teaspoons of stevia to sweeten it.
This keeps me satisfied for quite a few hours.
Virginia Woolf wrote, One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I have found this to be true. When you are hungry, it becomes all consuming. When I have dieted before, I just lived for my next meal and all I could think about was food. But on the Plant Paradox diet I don't find I am hungry and don't particularly miss the foods I can't eat. I have lost 5 kilos in 7 weeks and I don't count calories. Hurrah! I will write a little more about it next week.
The past week
Last Wednesday we went out on Lake Illawarra in Peter's boat. The water was very calm.
The pelicans were out in force.
It was a hazy day looking out across the lake to the mountains.
We motored down toward the lake's entrance.
In my reading I came across the poem below. It brought tears to my eyes. My father died when I was 10 years old - eleven years before I was married. This poem made me think of him and how wonderful it must be to have a father who felt like the father in this poem. It is a beautiful poem so I thought I would share it with you.
And I thought I would share a photo of my father as he is someone who deserves to be remembered.
“Heirloom of Love” (Poem from the Father Of The Bride) by Angie
There she sits before her mirror,
Primping in excitement, her face flushed.
Today is her day; she will never know
How much I hurt, how scared I am
Of the void she will leave behind.
Will she forget me? I’ll be replaced
By someone new, someone who makes her heart
Dance in her chest, a drumbeat.
Will he, can he protect her as I’ve done?
I have no choice but to trust…
I seethe with an almost-rage,
An unfounded, illogical jealousy, an anger
For what he is taking from me.
I am selfish. She is my joy, my life
I would die for her.
Today I will. A thousand times.
Then she turns to look at me.
In her beautiful face I see worry.
For me? She sees the unspilled tears
She knows. Of course, she knows.
She comes to me.
And with the smallest kiss, the subtle smile
All is well. She is still mine.
She will always be mine
In a different and wonderful way.
She is a part of me.
She will move on, she will give others joy,
And I am comforted knowing her goodness
Will be shared by everyone she touches,
And I am okay and proud, and I take her hand
To give her to her love, her new life.
I swell with almost unbearable pride
To have created something so perfect!
She was never mine to keep, this supreme being
Perfect to me. Shining, golden, priceless…
My heirloom of love.
And there he goes, that handsome, kind man
With his new bride, my daughter, my soul.
Does he know what has been passed to him?
He could not know, not yet,
But time will show him; he will realize.
Someday it will be his turn.
He will have to pass her essence on,
In his daughter, my granddaughter,
Our heirloom of love.
Will he weep? With loss, with anger?
Will he sit alone in his daughter’s room
Filled with love and happiness…sadness?
No, content. A deep breath will help him stand
As I do now, and I walk with trembling lips
And chin held high. I leave this room.
I close the door.
I read this poem and it makes me sad as I think of how much I missed not having my father over the years.
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2. Helping children with spelling
This is an interesting article suggesting that we should teach children the origin of words to help them with sprlling. Click here to read more.
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