I've been feeling the need to recalibrate my relationship with food. I don't want a food plan just to help me lose weight but to change my mindset towards food. I have never been a big fan of diets before, due to their tendency towards unsustainability, so when I started googling phrases with the word 'diet' I knew something needed to be addressed in my brain. This time didn't feel like a passing insecurity but rather a discontent with the current way I was living.
The Rice Diet was intriguing to me due to the type of food that makes up the diet, but is unsustainable (for me) due to such low caloric intake. I realized though that I was attracted to it by the simplicity of the foods consumed: mainly rice, vegetables and fruit with minimal additives, and the occasional fish and/or soy product. My next step was to google Asian diets, as that seems to fit the bill for these requirements. Japan is known to have some of the longest living people and diets such as the Okinawa diet have been exemplified for their great health benefits.
My primary interest in this regard was equally about physical health as it was about my mental relationship with and appreciation of food. As many people know, Colin and I really love food. We love eating out and cooking and baking and trying new things. I pride myself at being an expert of searching out the best places to eat in any new city we visit. But this has become the norm for us. We've started eating out so much that it's lost some of it's spark. Banh Mi has become such a regular "I'm too lazy to make dinner tonight" meal that it's barely special anymore. And beyond that, we live in that small percentage of the world that consumes way way way more food (in our own homes) than the rest of the world. I crave things like salt and sugar and processed junk in addition to the wholesome food I have which is already more than enough.
So my diet perusing came down to this:
- I want to eat simpler.
- I want to appreciate food for what it is.
- I want special food to be that: special.
Basically, thankfulness. Respecting those who eat less or simpler by not taking my plenty or variety for granted. Mindfulness. Considering what and why I am eating and how I am spending so that I am not wasteful: wasteful of my own health, energy, or money that could be going towards better things. I do believe that our access to food is a great blessing that we should enjoy, but I want to complement my enjoyment of food by increasing moderation rather increasing consumption.
So after understanding that this was the basis of my diet-change interest, I better understood my interest in rice in particular. Rice is the most commonly eaten food in the world. It is often the most accessible to those who do not have much food at all. It is filling and healthy. I could save energy on meal planning/making, save money on food purchasing, and hopefully gain some awareness of what the majority of the world consumes and lives on daily. And let me clarify that last point: I do not desire to gain this awareness in order to pity those who consume primarily rice but rather to learn from them. We as North Americans eat in such great excess that we have trained our bodies and minds to think we need to consume so much more and I would like to take steps to recalibrate that need.
My test week is beginning now and, while I generally don't like rules I have laid some out for myself in order to make it easier on myself. Boundaries lead to freedom right?
- Plan ahead
- Healthy carbs make up more than 50% of a meal
- Simplify by learning to be okay with eating the same food for more than one meal/more than one day in a row (It's embarrassing that I have to practice this)
- Eat all the vegetables
- Stop adding sugar, add less salt
- Drink lots of tea/water
- These constraints will not be put on while eating at other people's houses. Their food is a gift to enjoy!
This way of eating is nothing new in terms of healthy consumption, but I am more excited for the mental shift that will hopefully take place as a result of these changes. Simplicity and awareness are values that I desire as characteristics of my life, but this pursuit doesn't seem to let me off the hook with just certain areas!