Monday, January 29, 2007

On Eating . . .

It seems, like most Americans, I am unintentionally eating too much for nearly every meal. I’ve lost sight of the traditional serving sizes, but I also don’t check in with myself to see how much is enough, how much is slightly too much, how much makes me want to vomit, and then, lastly, how much will keep me up at night, burping food tastes into my mouth well into the morning. This is a problem. Though I am eating a meat-free diet, my health habits have taken a sort-of plunge lately. I do not know how to balance my plate anymore, since I can’t fathom eating a giant side of any of my new protein sources just straight out of the can or box or whatever. And eating a huge plate of beans isn’t an attractive option for later, if you know what I mean, and I do actually like beans. More than this balancing issue, though, is the problem of serving size.

I have a handful of friends enrolled in the Weight Watchers programs, so I have detailed information about how everything works. I know that portions are going to make all the difference, plus I can logically deduce this one from the way my stomach puffs out uncomfortably when I’ve over-eaten. But. Always a but. Since I am consuming less protein at meals, I’m hungry much faster. So I either eat more at a meal than I’m used to or I eat smaller things more frequently. The end result being that I’m consuming more calories even when I’m not full for long. Does this make sense? Add a couple of workouts to this, and you’ll see why I’m starving but eating more than my daily caloric intake “should” be.

My problem seems to be balance. I’ve begun to take a daily vitamin. And it’s been suggested that I consider a protein supplement, which would add the fullness I’m looking for without the fat and high calorie count of some of the snacks I’ve been eating. I’ve tried several of these chocolate-flavored powders that you mix with water, but there’s a graininess I cannot stand, no matter the flavor. Perhaps there’s a pill I can take instead?

Part of the issue, not to blame George at all — this wasn’t his choice, is that I have to make vegetable sides more attractive to George at mealtimes because the main course isn’t what it used to be, a slab of meat. This means that what I used to serve steamed or roasted or pureed or in a salad, I am now turning into a cheese-covered wonder dish, like I’m wooing children into eating something they hate. I feel it will be easier to quit doing this once we have a few staple meals in our repertoire, but for now I don’t know quite what to do. If I serve an experimental tofu something with a side of steamed broccoli, I know he’ll hate everything on his plate, and that’s really not fair for him. This is my compromise, the scalloped zucchini and butter-glazed carrots. I just hope he’ll be able to make the switch back to grown-up vegetable sides once we’re okay with main courses. But, then again, I have a lot of hopes.

In the meantime, my personal things to work on are finding more balanced snacks for when I'm starving. Breaking down at Starbucks to eat a giant slab of coffee cake with a huge latte isn't a long-term solution, esp. when the sugar shock leaves me slumped in a few hours and I'm feeling bad about myself. I need to sneak in more fiber and more protein, hopefully in a natural way that also helps me consume most of my vitamins from valid food sources. I have a new book to help me, "Veggie Revolusion: Smart Choices for a Healthy Body and a Healthy Planet," by Sally and Sara Kate Kneidel. While it looks to be a huge planet-hugger, I'm hoping for a little advice on balance that I can use in the months ahead.

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