Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Food Rules

Do you love rules? Or hate them? Do you resist rules and rebel against them? Or embrace them and feel comforted by those guidelines?

I will freely admit, when it comes to food choices, I am a rule lover.

I know. So boring! It would be much more exciting to be an Andrew Zimmern type (from Bizarre Foods) and eat absolutely anything and everything. Roasted maggots and sheep anus for breakfast. Seal eyeballs with a glass of cow's blood for lunch. A dozen corn dogs for dinner. (I told you, he eats ANYTHING!) (There is a hilarious episode of his show where he is purposefully "stranded" on a "desert" island. I swear to God, the man eats NONSTOP the entire time, pulling plantains and coconuts off the trees, scooping limpets off the rocks, and I forget what else, all the while complaining that he's "starving" from lack of food.)

Anyway. Back to the rules.

Being a rule-lover, I am perpetually searching for those few particular rules that really work for me. Since we are all individuals, with unique needs and preferences, not everything that works for me will work for you. Bulletproof coffee is one example. My husband drinks bulletproof coffee every morning. (For complete recipe, see my blog with this title.) Basically, it is coffee blended with coconut oil and grassfed butter. For my husband, this works wonderfully. He can drink it, and eat nothing else for breakfast, and not be hungry until lunch time. If I drink it, I am starving in one hour. Even if I have a chicken and apple sausage WITH IT, I am starving in one hour. Go figure.

One reason that I love rules, and constantly search for better rules, or the perfect rules, is because rules make things easier. Or they should. Following good rules should improve your health, make you feel better, make you happier, and allow you to use your magnificent brain power on solving other problems, like world peace. If you had to wander down all of the aisles of the grocery store and examine every single product in order to decide what to eat each day, WOW! what a waste of time and energy that would be. You already have a bunch of rules in place which allow you to decide what to purchase, and what to eat, in general.

Here is my latest rule: do not eat anything AT ALL after 8pm. This is one of those typical dieting rules that you've probably seen in every magazine and Oprah re-run featuring Dr. Oz. You might think that 8pm is already pretty late for eating. Or you might never sit down to dinner before 9pm. For me, 8pm is a reasonable cut-off. I usually eat my dinner early, around 4-5pm. When I teach in the evening, I have to eat by 4pm. But I get home at 7pm and usually feel hungry. This is couch and TV time for me; prime time for mindless snacking and overloading on calories. Even if I am stuffing relatively healthy snacks into my mouth, the damage adds up to excess poundage around the belly region. Last night it was a mad race to stuff as many pistachios down my gullet before the clock reached 8pm. I was cracking like a bat out of hell. But when that clock chimed (not literally) 8pm, I put the bag aside. My tummy was talking to me, saying how about a wee bit more? But I told it to forget it.

A simple rule like this could save hundreds, or even thousands, of calories over the course of a year. And with menopause sneaking up on me, I just can't afford any excess anymore.

So what are your rules? If you have particular rules that work for you, I'd love to hear them. Please share!

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