I just finished the book Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting by Darya Pino Rose, Ph.D., creator of the blog Summer Tomato. Her blog is great, I wish I had found it sooner in my journey! In the book, she talks about many of the same things I have been blogging about, only she likely does it much better. So, now you don’t have to just take it from me anymore–she’s an author! And has a Ph.D.! In neuroscience! I recommend the book to anyone who would like to start (or continue) a journey into a healthier lifestyle (or as she calls it, a healthstyle).
Her number one rule in the book is that Life Should Be Awesome, and I totally agree. From that perspective, she talks about how to stop going on diets, since those are pretty much the oposite of awesome, and instead start appreciating how great real food cooked well can taste and make you feel. As I have talked about before, she discusses that you can still eat out at restaurants (and has tips for doing that as healthily as possible), and have those treats you just can’t live without, just in the right amounts, at the right times. She goes into how to break bad habits and form good ones, with some really great and insightful advice (hey, she’s a neuroscientist after all!) I have found her tips on how to eat more slowly and mindfully (the part I still need to work on) very helpful already. She has a lot of tips on buying and preparing good food, with a few good sounding recipes.
I can’t say I agreed with everything she said 100%. She seems to have ambivalent feelings about yogurt, and says to get full fat yogurt if you do have it. I happen to think nonfat Greek yogurt is one of the best things ever. Not that fat is necessarily bad, but there are mixed reviews on whether milk fat is healthy so I err on the side of no fat, and less calories. Plus, nonfat yogurt has more protein. She seems against all flour, even whole wheat, and encourages legumes and whole intact grains and seeds instead. While I agree those are ideal choices, we use quite a bit of white whole wheat flour in banana bread and granola bars, pancakes, waffles, flat breads, and couscous. Most nutritionists seem to agree that recipes made with whole wheat flour are a healthy choice, so I’m going with that.
She recommends that if you have a lot of weight to lose, you do a 2 week reset where you eliminate a lot of foods, including dairy and all added sugar, from your diet in order to reset your insulin sensitivity. If I had tried to do this at the beginning, it might have made me give up before even starting. So while I like a lot of her advice, I still say just make small healthy changes day by day. However, maybe cold turkey would be the way to go for some. Each person has to decide what is their right path on the journey.
She also recommends food journaling instead of counting calories, and I can’t say I completely disagree with her on this one. In a recent blog post, she listed 7 reasons journaling is better than counting calories, and they were all problems I saw with how most people used My Fitness Pal. I found the calorie counts pretty useful at the beginning to help me understand which foods were more calorie dense than others. However, pretty early on in my journey I found it much more useful just as a way to make myself more accountable for my food choices. She recommends only journaling for 2 weeks, however I don’t think that would have been long enough for me not to slip back into my old habits. Each person has to decide for themselves when (or if) they can stop tracking their food, in whatever format works for them.
Reading her book has made me realize that I enjoy food so much more now than I ever did before I started on this journey. That may seem strange to some, that I could have lost all this weight and be enjoying food more than before, but it really is true. My whole family is eating better quality food, and I spend more time thinking of how to prepare it both for taste and better health. We don’t eat out as often, so usually when we do go we are very picky about restaurants. Instead of going often to mediocre places, we go occasionally to really good places. When I do have treats, I pick really good ones, and appreciate them so much more than when they were an everyday occurence. Without eating the overly salty and sugary processed foods, my taste buds seem to have come alive to new and subtler flavors. And of course I feel so much healthier it would take a whole new post just to list all the ways my life has changed for the better. Life really is much more awesome. I am proud to declare myself a foodist!