Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good-bye, girls--part six

Dear daughters,

Good morning. I am sitting here in my study, virtuously drinking a smoothie made of nothing but homemade kefir, frozen strawberries and stevia powder.

But I have no right to tell you about nutrition because yesterday I blew it.

You see, yesterday, like most days, I started out with tea, followed by a fairly late breakfast. That is just how I do it. I eat with Dad while he is working at home in the mornings, and then I wait until somebody comes home from school before I eat again because I just don't like eating by myself. Ever since the old days when I never ate without company, I have trouble eating when I am by myself.

So yesterday when Jon arrived home from school, I had not yet eaten lunch. This was normal, but yesterday it was very poor planning.

Jon gets home from school at about 2:45. But yesterday he had a trumpet lesson at 3:30. And I needed to go to the bank to get money to pay for the trumpet lesson, so we needed to leave the house at about 3:05 to be sure to have enough time for everything.

By the time I realized what was going on, it was 2:50 and I had 15 minutes to think of something to eat, prepare it, and clean it up.

And then I realized that Jonathan had a doctor's appointment in the city at 5:30, to which we would have to go directly after the trumpet lesson. And directly after that I had Bible study at church at 6:30, for which I would certainly be late, followed immediately by choir practice from 7:45 to 8:45.

As I stood there realizing that I was not going to be able even to start making supper until sometime after 9 p.m., I totally panicked. I ate an apple, some almonds, a spoonful of chicken salad, and grabbed another apple just as Jonathan hustled me out the door, complaining about being late.

The trumpet lesson went until 4:45 because Mr. Coble is a generous teacher. That left us 45 minutes to get to the downtown appointment, and Cobles live closer to downtown than we do, so I was in a quandary about what to do about time and food and schedule. Would we be early? Would we be late? Did we have time to get food?

In the end, I swung into the Rite Aid at the corner of Bear and Buckley, and Jonathan and I bought a package of plastic spoons and a pint each of Edy's ice cream. Jon worked on his on the way downtown, and I started mine when we arrived 12 minutes early in the doctor's parking lot.

It was a good thing we had old Panera napkins in the glove compartment.

Here is the thing about a pint of ice cream on a warm fall day in the car, far from home: there is nowhere to put it. Unless you eat it.

It was right there, in my hand, and there was no freezer where I could tuck "the rest" away for later. Besides, I certainly wasn't full. It was good ice cream, and it wasn't particularly inexpensive. So you see, I did not want to waste it.

I did not waste it. I ate the whole thing, the whole pint of Edy's ice cream, 3.5 servings, the carton said.

By the time I got to Bible study, I was literally quivering from the sugar rush.

After 9 p.m. when I finally got home, DJ said, "So Mom, what did you have for supper tonight?" Sometimes living with DJ is like living with an extra (and fairly brutal) conscience.

I cringed and said, "I had a very bad supper tonight. A terrible supper."

"What did you do?" he pursued.

I spewed out the words, "I had ice-cream."

"Why did you do that?"

And I could not tell him, because I had no idea. He asked me, "Why didn't you at least get a granola bar? Why in the world did you get ice cream? Rite Aid has better choices than that."

So here I am trying to tell you about nutrition, and I failed yesterday.

But anyway, here are some guidelines that you ought to follow as well as possible, understanding that there will be some days... and we must have grace for one another and for ourselves.


Eat more than 25 grams of protein per day. This is not too hard. Milk has a gram of protein per ounce, which makes 8 grams in a cup. Eggs have 6 grams per egg. Almonds have 6 grams per 1/4 cup. And then there are your chicken, beef, pork chops and peanut butter.

Eat less than 25 grams of sugar per day. This is hard. Especially if you eat anything that comes with its own added sugar, like flavored yogurt or sweetened iced tea mix. A banana alone has something like 17 grams of sugar (fructose). So it is hard to eat less than 25 grams of sugar per day, but you will feel better if you do. I felt awful after I ate that ice cream. In fact, I still feel pretty bad this morning. When it comes to limiting sugar, some sources say you must limit your fruit consumption, but I find that counter-productive. I find that if I satisfy myself with fruit, I have less craving for sweets that are bad for me. However, you should try to eat more vegetables than fruit for your daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Eat your vegetables. Vegetables are the bomb. They only do your body good, not harm. Nobody ever got fat on vegetables. The fresher the better--raw is best--but even frozen and canned vegetables are better choices than most of the food options out there in the American landscape.

Super foods. Just thought I'd list a few of the very best things you should eat, and things you should buy up as much as possible when you find them on sale: grapefruit, celery, blueberries, fresh organic baby spinach, raw almonds, avocados, lemons. Eat as much of these foods as you can, as often as you can.

Whole grains. I think you already know to eat whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice. White bread has basically no good use except in egg bake (which is not very healthy, but man, is it good). Here is a wonderful hint... you can substitute whole wheat flour in most of your cookie recipes! It is very good with chocolate chips, and it makes the cookies chewier and more flavorful.

Beware of foods marketed as "low-fat". Foods marked "low-fat" often are actually high in sugar, and generally speaking, sugar is worse for you than fat. Fat is actually pretty good for you. Besides nourishing your brain and helping your body absorb many important nutrients, it makes you feel full, so you stop eating. I believe in real butter, whole milk, and salad dressings made with real olive oil. I eat an avocado for lunch whenever I have the opportunity (yes, a whole one, by myself). However, there are bad fats, most notably the ones in which they cook donuts and french fries, the hydrogenated vegetable shortening in pie crust (or in anything else... bakery "buttercream" frosting, for instance), and whatever it is that they use to make Velveeta.

Eschew white flour and white sugar in any form. Enough said. This is not easy to do, and there will need to be exceptions, but give it your best shot.

Eat one small piece of high quality dark chocolate every day. This is good for you! Dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants, it balances hormones and mood, and if you take a bit every day, you forestall dangerous cravings that would lead you to overindulge. Enjoy!

Coming up next: the supplements I recommend. (I'm sure you can't wait for this one.)

Other posts in this series:
Good-bye, girls--part one,
Good-bye, girls--part two,
Good-bye, girls--part three,
Good-bye, girls--part four.
Good-bye, girls--part five


Hope T. said...

Mmmmm...Dark chocolate. The darker, the better. I have been enjoying a bar of Green & Black lately. What is your favorite brand?

Ruth said...

We have a grocery store here called Wegman's. I don't know if you have it where you live. I usually get their brand of dark chocolate. They carry some pretty great stuff. But recently a friend gave us a bar of "Newman's Own Organics" sweet dark espresso chocolate, and that is pretty delish, too! :)

Shawn said...

I hope that wasn't MY car you ate that ice cream in...

Ruth said...

I believe we were in the van that day. I remember tucking my ice cream in the net between the seats under a jacket to insulate it.

Ruth said...

(while I was driving)