Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I know about food

It’s that time of year when the lists begin for all of those improvements we want to make in our lives when everything starts anew. This year I’m going to take a different approach this year. Rather than listing what I want to do, I’m going to make lists that reminds me of what I already know. If I can remember my lessons learned and add to that list at the end of the year, it’s bound to put me on a better path. So here’s what I know about food:

1) Refined sugar is addictive and does little more for me than offer a temporarily tasty treat. I doubt I’ll ever cut sugar out of my diet totally, but I do want to remember that once I eat it two or three days in a row, I’ll begin to crave it. When I go without it for a week or so, that craving disappears.

2) Naturally sweet alternatives make me happy. I can make zucchini bread (with chocolate chips to get my chocolate fix) and one slice will satisfy that urge I might otherwise fill with ice cream or a candy bar. I’ve uncovered several recipes this year that work for me and incorporate some of the garden’s goodness, like sweet potato cake, pumpkin bread and butternut squash muffins.

3) Eating regularly fends off headaches and lethargy for me. I also feel better when I eat small portions rather than one huge plate of food.

4) Waiting before piling up a second helping works best for me. If I take seconds immediately after finishing one plate, I inevitably feel overfilled 20 minutes later. I do better if I wait that 20 minutes, ask myself if I still feel hungry then, eat just a little bit more if the answer is yes.

5) Growing the food I eat and being in the garden is refreshing for my body and soul. Every year I learn more about gardening and I don’t plan to stop.

6) Cooking gives me joy and a creative outlet. If I need to focus my creativity elsewhere temporarily, then I might want to plan ahead with leftovers so I don’t zap the creative well in the kitchen.

I’m game for sharing lessons with anyone who wants to contribute what you know about food. If you have a food lesson learned this year, post it as a comment and it might help us all become healthier in 2001.

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