Friends think I have this voodoo ability to eat whatever I like and still maintain my pre-college weight. Yes, bless genetics. However, my husband proved that it’s not DNA because he shed unwanted pounds using my diet plan. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where food choices were simple and sensible; that is the foundation of my diet decisions.
1. Prioritize fresh natural foods.
Food Rules, articulated brilliantly by Michael Pollan, increased my focus and motivation. Organic is aspirational, included whenever possible without going over budget. With processed foods (ice cream!), I’m label conscious, avoiding or minimizing buying anything containing unappetizing or scientific-sounding ingredients e.g. high fructose corn syrup, ammonium sulfate. But, it’s part of life that I break this rule on occasion with a hotdog, which I consume with my food account in mind.
2. Eat based on your body type and needs.
I have a small frame. I don’t do hard labor except for chores, kids and vinyasa yoga struggles. So I don’t need much food. I consider my Asian ancestry, applying cues from Asian cuisine to each meal which my family thrives on -- lots of veggies, ample carbs, meat or seafood for taste only, and protein from non-meat sources. If it took thousands of years to arrive at my genetic makeup, what are the odds of my body adapting overnight to eating American cuisine every day? After noticing my metabolism slowing, I reduced my portions, ate more fruit, and limited unnecessary snacking. Being only human, I sin with weekend homemade treats, intermittent bites of quality dark chocolate and one daily dessert no bigger than what my hand can cup.
3. Drink well.
Not alcohol, sorry! Water, loads of antioxidant-rich green and rooibos teas, organic milk and one daily cuppa joe. I find being hydrated enough helps curb excessive eating.
You’d think our family subsists on meals that are terribly austere, boring, expensive, or requiring long kitchen hours. Far from it! During each delicious post-meal moment of contentment, I give thanks for the privilege of eating so well within an affordable budget. Since New Year’s Day, our family of four has feasted at less than $115 per week. Besides lots of vegetables and fruits, we’ve enjoyed chicken, seafood, beef, lamb, sausages, stir-fries, soups, stews, salads, cereals, eggs, dairy, pastas, pancakes, waffles, cakes, pies, cookies, malts, smoothies, ice cream, and more I can’t recall.
Being inundated with nutrition facts and know-hows, one can be easily confused about how to eat. We are the richest country in the world armed with plenty of information. Yet obesity rates, related diseases, and healthcare costs are soaring and apparently, our kids will live shorter lives than us. It doesn’t make sense. I feel this can be turned around, starting with ourselves. So I’d like you to share your thoughts on how you and your family navigate the food system to eat well and healthfully. Think of it as giving back to the community.
*IMPORTANT! Given your unique physiological needs, please consult your doctor before any diet adjustments.*