The Minimalist Diet Diaries, Days 3-6

Week 1: Food Philosophies

Day 3: Whole Food, Plant-based

I asked this question on my Facebook page: what’s the difference between a whole-food, plant-based diet, and eating vegan?

And I got the answer I was expecting, more or less. Basically, they overlap a lot, but the whole-food diet obviously emphasizes whole, natural products, while vegans can still eat a lot of processed foods, just made without animal products.

Here’s the thing about either of these “diets,” which are more lifestyles than anything.

I like meat.

So I keep going back to Michael Pollan on day 1. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

And I’ll totally give him that.

I want my diet to focus on including a ton of fruits and vegetables; hence, the blog title I Crave Color.

And I have real ethical issues with factory farming, for the poor living conditions of the animals, and the (often) inhumane feeding and slaughtering processes. I also have issues with how the workers are treated, how the environment suffers from all of the toxic waste produced by industrial meat processing, and how the farmers in general are treated.

In Virginia, I lived less than 5 miles from Three Rivers Farm, where I could literally see the cows grazing on the beautiful green hills. And I could buy that beef for around $5-7/lb. And while that was more expensive than grocery store prices, it was worth it when I could splurge for locally raised, sustainable beef.

Here in Alabama, I know I live by farms, but it takes a lot of effort to track things down. I guess I’m getting sidetracked here, but the point remains. I am not convinced that I need to give up meat or dairy. I’ve already dramatically reduced my intake of both, and I look for high quality proteins. If I can find local eggs and local meat, I will purchase them. But that’s just not often possible on a limited food budget with a growing family to feed. I will continue to make it a priority to look for better animal food sources as I shop. And I have switched to more freeze-dried meats, especially chicken, because I trust Thrive Life and their food is clean.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. a whole-food diet is for me, which I believe goes back to day 1: EAT FOOD. The “plant-based” part usually means “vegan,” or refusing to use any animal products, but I choose to use animal products. The important thing for ME as far as “plant-based” goes is to remember to ADD LOTS OF PLANTS. So, maybe “whole food, veggie-centric” is a better title for me. I know that doesn’t cover it all, because vegetables are only part of a plant; we also eat fruits, nuts, and seeds, but vegetables are the hardest for me to be consistent with, so I’ll stick with it.

Day 4:Getting to Yum and Shopping Saturday

I found a book at my local library a few years ago called Getting to Yum: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters, which is a kind of a sequel to French Kids Eat Everything by Karen LeBillon. I loved her straight forward approach in teaching that we, as parents, can essentially set up a “family food culture” that emphasizes “eager eating.” Eager eating is essentially the opposite of picky eating; you don’t have to like everything, but you have to try it, and as you do, you develop tastes for all kinds of different foods.

I was really excited to see Karen’s first book mentioned thoroughly in the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, and I agree it’s a nice segwey to eating real food as a family, rather than as an individual.

I write these notes to myself as my take aways from reviewing Karen’s work:

-Eating well is a skill that be learned, by children AND parents alike. It requires new attitudes and habits and skills, but it can be learned just like reading, writing, and arithmetic.

-Lesson: don’t give up. You can keep learning. Train yourself to eat how you want.

With these thoughts in mind, and a new enthusiasm from reviewing my favorite food philosophies over the last few days, I really enjoyed my shopping Saturday. Here’s what I got:

I wasn’t planning on doing such a large shopping trip on Saturday morning, but it turned out that I had a ton of fun tracking down real food ingredients. I checked out the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook from the library, and was thinking about Lisa’s rules and recipes as I shopped. I’m not quite ready to take a pledge yet, but here are some of the fun things I found. Most of these, believe it or not, were from Big Lots!

Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry flour (white wheat). I’ve done a lot of experimenting with whole wheat flours, and besides grinding my own, this is my favorite. I don’t like the intense, earthy flavor of red wheat, and this flour also lends itself to much better textures in baked goods.

Organic carrot and apple juice. I like having fruit smoothies in the morning, but I’m tired of just using apple or orange juice. Even better, the ingredient list was simple: organic carrot juice, organic apple juice. Sweet!

Grade A Maple Syrup. Just 1 ingredient. Yay!

Whole Wheat Couscous. I can’t say I know much about couscous, but it was 1 ingredient, and I thought it would work well with crockpot Moroccan chicken, which was on my meal plan for the week.

Balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I just want another taste in my life besides the same old marinades I’m used to. And this can help me in dressings too.

Tahini. This is just 1 ingredient: crushed sesame seeds. I know I’ve seen a few recipes, and even tried some, where tahini is important. I just need to track them down and try them, now that I have some on hand. (It was only $4!)

Ok, grocery rant over. I’m excited to be making better food choices. I think I might just buy the 100 Days of Real Food book, because it’s amazing.

Takeaway from today: don’t be afraid to change your grocery buying habits.

Also, I can’t wait until my Thrive Life foods come; I ordered a lot this month, and it will really help round out my pantry! More pictures to come.

Days 5-6: 

I was planning on taking day 5 off because it’s Sunday, and the sabbath is my day of rest. So it’s not surprise that I didn’t record anything to blog about on Day 5.

Day 6, however, I was mostly being lazy. I thought about reviewing the Whole30 approach or the 21-day fix. I’ve studied both before and I enjoy the premise of both. One is kind of cleanse, and one is mostly portion control. But honestly, after shopping this weekend and thinking about it some more, I think I’m going to stick with the guidelines I already have, and focus on real food first, and also keeping things simple and adding tons of plants. All of these seem to be working out well for me. It’s just when I ignore my own rules that I run into problems.

Also, I’m super excited to go through my recipes this upcoming week, although I’m also dreading it. Recipes bring me joy, but they also take up a lot of space, so it will be good to de-clutter them. I feel like if I can get down to the basics again, then I can build up from there. I just want to be able to FIND the recipes I want to use instead of always being distracted by recipe books or Pinterest boards. It should be interesting to see how this turns out. I’m glad I have some rules to judge my recipe by now.

 

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