Food Rules

Food does indeed rule much of my life.  I love food.  I love reading about it, talking about it, cooking it, photographing it and eating it.  It is a pleasure that I truly enjoy but sometimes it can get a little out of hand.  Not because it’s an obsession (though some friends and family may beg to differ) – the issue is what I’m actually eating and drinking.  I’ve lamented before that my penchant for alcohol is often times not a healthy one.  I definitely don’t drink that much anymore (by general Australian standards) as I’m now a total light-weight when it comes to liquor – not only do I get intoxicated quickly but it takes very little to give me an enduring hangover (3 glasses of wine the other week left me feeling shite for 2 days).  I put this down to a couple of things a) the liver treats alcohol and fructose the same way – so if I drink lots of something containing both, it’s a double whammy on the toxins entering my body and b) I’ve always had an issue with anything containing sulphur dioxide (most wine and beer) and having cut out most toxins from my diet some months ago, I’m simply not as tolerant as I once was.  Also, when I drink, I’m more likely to eat things I shouldnt – like lots of bread.

Dean Dwyer’s recent post really got me thinking about when I last felt really good about myself.  It was back at the start of the year – I was eating wholesome healthy foods, drinking very infrequently and doing kettle bells x3 a week.  In the last couple of months, I’ve put KBs on hold (due to recurring shoulder/neck problems), my diet is the most ‘relaxed’ its been in the last 12 months and I have alcohol 2-3 times a week.  I haven’t gained any weight (thank god) but I feel unhealthy and lethargic and generally unhappy with myself.  A hard reset is most definitely required.

I feel great when I’m eating good food and drinking very little, but I find 100% paleo too restrictive (I like having some dairy and occasional home-made honey sweetened treats).  So I’m going to focus on one of Michael Pollan’s food rules – Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.  He actually has quite a number of rather good rules, such as “Rule No. 19: “If it’s a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” while being realistic “Rule 64: “Break the rules once in a while.”  Also, “don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” and “don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.”  So I’m going to make sure I eat more veg, drink less (mostly none, but if I do drink, no more than one glass of wine a day) and see how that goes.  I do like dairy, but it doesn’t like me a whole lot, so I’ll keep it to yoghurt and the occasional bit of cheese (not allowed to buy blocks of cheddar as these seem to end up as ‘meals’ rather than ‘treats’).  Butter in my coffee is another occasional treat (love bullet proof coffee) that is really handy if I’m short on time and need something to tie me over for a few hours but it makes me feel ‘full’ which I think is a reaction to the lactose.

I also need to get my exercise routine back on track.  Tomorrow I start yoga two days a week – 6.30 AM (there’s an AM now?) Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When I stopped doing KBs I was so excited by all my ‘free’ time, but free time just makes me lazy and ultimately I fill that time with nothing of importance, or worse, I drink and eat shit I shouldnt.  I need routine, I need regular exercise.  I also need to stand up more.  My job involves working at a computer, which means I usually sit down for most of the day.  Mark Sisson is an advocate of standing up at your desk, and I was reminded of this practice in a recent post by Tim Ferriss.  I’ve got an adjustable keyboard stand already, so I’ve put this up as high as it will go, mounted my computer monitor to eye level (while standing) and taken the back off my computer chair so that I can kneel on it when my legs get tired from all the standing.  Hoping that this will help resolve my lower back problems as sitting is not what our butts were designed for (see here).

My shoulders and neck are still quite screwed, but not doing KBs is only helping to a small degree.  So small, that I don’t think not doing it is benefiting me more than the strength/fitness benefits gained from actually doing it.  I love kettle bells.  I like being able to lift heavy things, and when its done properly, the movements are graceful and beautiful to watch.  There is an elegance to it and I really want to be able to do it properly, so I’ve decided I’m definitely going back to that next month and I’m really looking forward to it.

I need rules in my life.  Good ones.  Ones I can actually live with.  Rules help me be happy, healthy and strong.

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