Posted by: saramcglothlin | May 10, 2012

The Great Debate…But I Think It’s Pretty Simple

Ever since I can remember, the word “diet” was a frequently used four letter word in my household.  My mom was always on a diet (i.e. diets don’t work).  Eating fat was a sin, refined carbs were O.K., and “strawberry milk” was considered healthy .

I don’t even want to look at the ingredients…granted, it was the 1980s/early 1990s when I think people were a little more “confused.” Basically what I am trying to say is that my passion for health and nutrition did not stem from childhood, but rather the absence of nutrition in my childhood.  After finally going off to college, and out from under my mother’s influence, I was able to make my own dietary choices.  Like I have said before, it has been a long road, but I have since come to terms with the best way to eat (for me): real food.

I was approached by a co-worker today in the early morning.  He was holding up the latest issue of Newsweek:

Curious about my opinion on the cover article, he asked me to read it as he thought it took on a forward-thinking stance about how Americans should eat (this particular co-worker has come to me for nutrition advice more than once-I think it is because I often eat salads for lunch?).  So read it I did.  In short, the author asks some major FAQs:

  • Are all calories created equal?
  • Is weight loss as simple as “calories in-calories out?”
  • Can you even eat too much of the good stuff, and if so, what should we eat?
He goes on to conclude that it is the type of calories, not the number of calories themselves, that result in weight gain (e.g. refined sugars and white carbs and their effect on insulin and more scientific factoids that I don’t feel apt to discuss since I am not a nutritionist).  So having believed this to be true for some time now (but glad nonetheless my co-worker was doing some research), it was still good to get affirmation, especially considering it is the way I have structured my eating in recent years.  I will also tell you that I don’t like to count calories.  I used to.  Everyday.  It made me crazy.  Ironically, I feel like when I do, I even gain weight because I am so overly focused on what I consume, coupled with the fact that I probably miscalculate, that it backfires.  This is why I try to eat real as often as I can.  I will still eat potato chips, yes, but that is not what my body has come to crave.  I would rather eat an apple anyway.
On to today!
Dragged myself out of bed because I knew I had some after-work activities to tend to and I wanted to get some cardio in:
  • 30 minute treadmill session (10 min jog; 10 min walk/sprint intervals; 10 min hills)
  • 15 minutes stationary bike
  • 5 minutes of stretching

Breakfast was Overnight Oats once again.  Told ya.

For my mid-morning snack, I packed a Fage yogurt, carrot sticks, and some zucchini slices I had left over from last night’s dinner

Lunch today however was what I would call not  boring.

Green salad with grilled chicken, red peppers, goat cheese, spaghetti squash, vinaigrette dressing

My afternoon snacks consisted of a sweet and a savory.  It’s all about balance people!

After work, I headed straight to The Boathouse to meet the boyfriend, his brother, and their family friend, who was in from out of town, for drinks.  The Boathouse is one of my favorite spots in downtown Richmond.  It overlooks the James River and city skyline, and on a beautiful day like today, it’s ideal.  I started off with a Northern Lights IPA and a club soda

Whereas I do like a good beer, and usually a fan of IPAs (not to mention this one that I have had before), it was a little too hoppy for my taste this evening.  That’s why when I joined everyone for one more round, I switched to white wine.  Nothing like a chardonnay on a spring day in my opinion
After another tall glass of club soda, I headed to my roommate’s art gallery opening.  It was a great showing with metal sculpting and jewelry.  Thirty minutes later, my fatigue got the best of me and I started home.  For dinner, I picked something up from Ellwood Thompson’s, a local market a short distance from my house.
Sweet & Sour tempeh wrap with marinated broccolini, seltzer water
I think this might just be the first time I have ever had tempeh…and I like it.  But then again, I like anything with an Asian flare.
I’m off to crash crawl into bed. Goodnight!
Question: What is your stance on processed foods and refined sugars?  Do you believe them to be the culprit behind America’s obesity epidemic?  How close to “real” do you stay with your eating habits?


  1. I wish I hated processed food. I hate the idea of it, but my tastebuds love it. Mainly crackers and little stuff like that though, I do try to make my meals as whole as possible. Right there with you on the calorie counting. All work and no play makes Wesley a crazy girl.

  2. I think eating processed foods begets more cravings for processed foods. I’ve tried to cut them out as much as possible, and I don’t find myself craving them as much. I still eat a lot of packaged granola bars and I do use Splenda for some things though! I think they’re absolutely a culprit behind the obesity epidemic, but the problem is the the people who have access to/awareness of whole foods are the ones in trouble. When you’re trying to feed your family on welfare, the last thing you’re going to worry about is the nutritional value of the fast/packaged food you’re feeling them. It’s food, bottom line. It’s a toughie!

  3. Nerd alert! Ever since the newest IOM report came out I have been wrestling with/fretting about where the solution lies for the obesity epidemic in this country. I care about the general health and wellness of our people, but I also care about the financial and societal impact of obesity. No doubt, it is a hindrance to our success as a country. Are refined sugars and processed foods the culprit? Yes and no. I think that the high consumption of these foods is really just a manifestation of widespread ignorance in regards to the way our bodies work/are fueled on the most basic level. I find that some of my own highly educated friends and peers don’t understand what is “good” or “bad” for their bodies. As y’all know it is all about balance and listening to your own body. And sometimes my body wants a chic-fil-a sandwich and some waffle fries.–sector.html

  4. […] day, what we should be eating, etc.  I broached this topic in one of my first posts (read it here), about the mixed messages in the media pertaining to what kinds of food, and how much of it, we […]

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