Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Randomguru
Food Diary: Notes on Monitoring Food Intake
We live in a digital world where 0′s and 1′s make up our computerized, technological lifestyle.
Computer languages and software developers are all about pinpoint accuracy as far as developing code that runs our mobile apps and computer software. Sure, life has some grey areas and that’s what makes life interesting. But, we still live in a somewhat karmic world where what goes in, comes out as a result of the input.
Obviously, we humans are quite affected by our environment, affected by the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat. We are affected by each other.
Things We Can and Can’t Control
We can control who we interact with at some extent, to the benefit of our well-being, and we can control the air we breathe by moving to an area where the air quality is better (or sleep in an oxygen tent). But getting back to the food and water we consume, this is something that many of us might think we control, but we are influenced by our cultural heritage, the people around us, and our philosophy in life. As the medical statistics have proven, Americans are out-of-control when it comes to what we eat and drink.
I for one, am guilty as charged, of binging on some forbidden foods, totally losing control at parties, and yo-yo dieting as well as going from one diet to the next, and failing miserably.
Four Cultural Paradigms
With me, there are four cultural paradigms that have influenced me over the years when it comes to food.
1. Filipino Culture – My parents are Filipino so therefore I was raised Filipino. There are foods in my life that have influenced me, whether healthy or not, and this is what I’ve had to deal with. The Filipino cuisine is somewhat of a “comfort food” culture as the food definitely CAN be fattening and laden with high-glycemic starchiness! I have decided once that I would turn my back on this part of my culture because of this, and I still deal with it because it’s a strong influence.
2. Japanese and Asian Cultures – I have loved Japanese cuisine for as long as I can remember. My first introduction to anything Japanese were the rice candies when I was a kid. But overall, I greatly respect and love Japanese cuisine for its healthiness factor (as it is widely known that Japanese food is basically clean and healthy) and Japanese people have a reputation for living long healthy lives for the most part.
3. Vegan and Vegetarian Culture – This group has intersected with the previous two, as I HAVE eaten Filipino and Japanese vegan and vegetarian foods in the past. But, for the most part this includes the philosophy of committing no harm to animals. And I admit that I constantly struggle with the vegan philosophy and it CAN extend to the close one wears and other products that were made from animals. I personally believe one must eat a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet, or in other words, a mostly plant-based diet.
4. Raw and Living Foods – I have tried a 100% raw food, living food diet for a few years. For some reason my body couldn’t sustain it, but I believe it is a very pure diet and I was feeling quite healthy eating lots of raw foods. There is the other raw food diet where one includes raw seafood and raw milk, cheese and other animal foods. So, the raw food can go that direction as model Carol Alt has written about.
Notes on the Four Paradigms
In retrospect, I’m thinking that if I follow a diet that mostly raw fruits and vegetables, some steamed vegetables, eat a little bit of raw, baked or grilled seafood, I should be pretty healthy (especially as a musician who plays drums that can be physically demanding for my age). And, definitely avoid or minimize fried foods, overly fattening foods, red meat and poultry, processed foods, white sugar, white flour, white rice; I think I’ll be on the right track to improving and optimizing my health.
I’m also thinking about the social implications of diet, as being a raw food diet was too extreme and I found I couldn’t eating anything when it came to attending family parties, etc. To me, that kind of sacrifice affects one’s thinking towards food, because food is a very social thing.
I’m also toying with the concept of being a flexitarian, one who can be primarily a raw foodist, a vegetarian, and still be allowed to eat a little animal foods here and there.
For me, I’m intrigued by the 114 year old Japanese woman who said she mainly has eaten seafood and vegetables for much of her life.
The Dangers of Rice and Grains
As far as rice, I have minimized eating grains because based on my own experience it can wreak havoc on the body. I know that an Asian diet includes rice as a staple, but I think Americans in general have been misled to think that we should eat lots of rice as at Asian restaurants they serve Americans lots of rice. If anything, and because of its high-glycemic nature, it should be avoided or eaten sparingly. And the same goes for other grains.
My biggest challenge will be variety, as I have a tendency to focus on a few good foods when I should be focusing on a variety of good foods, especially the fruits and vegetables.
Macrobiotic, Grazing, Etc.
Also, I am focused on buying local produce as in keeping with a macrobiotic lifestyle.
I am committed to keeping a food diary, but for the most part this is a private journal. And, maybe in the near future I’ll share what I eat, but not on a daily basis. But the private food journal WILL be maintained daily for my benefit.
Another thing is the frequency and amount of food eaten at each meal, as I am planning to eat around 6 meals per day, focusing on smaller main meals. And I’m also influenced by the late afternoon meal between Lunch and Dinner, which would be “tea time” in the United Kingdom, and Merienda which is prominent in Filipino and Hispanic cultures.
A Sample Daily Menu
I will, however, give you a general model of what I plan on eating, and it will be highly Japanese-influenced and mostly organic:
Breakfast – 7am
Oatmeal – small bowl
Coffee – 1 cup
Mid-Morning Snack – 10am
Raw Cacao or Green Smoothie
Tea – 1 cup
Lunch – 1pm
Seafood (Sashimi or Baked Salmon)
Raw Salad or Steamed Vegetables
Miso Soup (if available)
Tea Time – 4pm
Herbal Tea or Decaf
Fresh Fruit or Nuts
Seafood (Sashimi or Baked/Grilled)
Steamed Vegetables (Broccoli, Carrots, etc) – 1 large plate
Miso Soup (or similar)
Fresh Fruit for dessert
Whenever thristy, purified water will be included throughout the day.
Of course, during busy days this sample menu might have to be altered or modified.
Caffeinated beverages will be consumed only during morning meals or lunch.