Friday, April 10, 2009

Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

I enjoy food. Who, being in their right mind doesn't? I don't think I enjoy it the way some good food lovers do though. My palate is pretty limited and I came to realize this more acutely when I moved to a country that enjoys food found in an entirely different sphere of acceptable edible-ness. This does not mean I hide away in  my closet, stocking it with foreign imported goods. On the contrary, I've really enjoyed getting to know and actually have grown to love some ethnic foods I had not before been exposed to in my midwestern (and then east coast) upbringing. Like Korean food. Who knew that in moving to China I would actually be far more exposed to Korean cuisine? And Indian. I used to wrinkle my nose at the ceaseless smell of curry filtering out from our neighbors door in the first apartment building we lived in. Now it's my food of choice when we eat out. But all this to say that my palate is still limited, especially when I compare it to the bottomless gullet of my husband and his apparent inability to be grossed out or dislike anything- except canned tuna.

So, the Photo Food Challenge began not because I thought I needed to dislike food, but only because I need to eat it- as most of us would like to- appropriately. That of course means with the proper balance of nutrition and proportion. And even though this has been something I have always been interested in since realizing as a 9th grader that my butt would not get any smaller with the second helping of ice cream after dinner (nowadays I think girls are learning it quite a bit younger- too much younger), I became a little more conscious of it recently when I began to realize the baby weight from #3 was not melting off quite as effortlessly as I'd hoped it would. And for all you naysayers out there (again mom- thanks for reading)... I am currently living on two pairs of jeans that fit me- one with some serious holes creeping into an unacceptable area due to extrene overuse.

Thus began the pursuit to eat a little healthier. And one of the biggest areas for me is battling the nightly craving to stuff myself silly with sweets. I never thought of myself as having  a problem in this area but when I mentioned the fact that I think I might to Josh, he kind of reacted in a way that made me think maybe I'd been in the dark on this issue a little too long.

One recent afternoon as I hopped online to check my email, I noticed a link to something talking about using pictures to help curb your diet. I clicked on it and the Photo Food Challenge was born. The idea is that if you take pictures of everything you eat during the day, it will, a) help you to assess what you actually put in your mouth and, b) maybe urge you to think before eating something you shouldn't. I think if you do it, publishing it on the worldwide web is also a great facilitator of restraint.

So here goes. These are the fine photos taken from my entire eating menu yesterday. If they look strangely like a sorry, amateur attempt at a Martha Steward 10-easy (but really ridiculously hard to make with impossible to find ingredients)-meals-for-the-week photo shoot, that's because they are. I tried to have a little fun but am not expecting a job offer any time soon.

One last thing... though this is all a bit light hearted (and hopefully will help me eat in a way that is good for my heart), my reading of Miroslav Volf's book has gotten me thinking about giving... in every area- even food! So, the next post may get a little philosophical on giving and receiving- in the area of food. I know, exciting. Do try and restrain yourselves. 

Breakfast: the same for me, everyday- toast w/ butter and honey. And the best part, a steaming cup of deep, dark, strong coffee with cream. yummm. 

Lunch: leftover rice and stir-fried green peppers (capsicums for all you Aussies) from the night before. Usually I have a midmorning munch crunch but this particular day I was so busy I uncharacteristically forgot about it. 

Water: I have finally become a water drinker. It doesn't matter how many times I read about how good and necessary it is for our bodies to function... I just think it is boring, boring, boring. But nursing has motivated me and somehow when it's in a bottle it seems so much cooler.

Dinner: Curry with chicken and veggies and, what else? you got it- rice. And some spinach and carrots. One winning point for China is her super cheap fruit and veggies and the fact that all the pre-packaged foods are things I don't recognize and am too nervous to try. 

Evening Snack: Normally I would eat several more brownies than this lonely fellow- but thanks again to the worldwide web, I was able to restrain myself. I'd like to give a shout out to my father-in-law as well for inspiring the "fruit cup" which he created a lovely version of for his nightly snack attack and I have continued to copy. I ate it with a little jello actually but forgot to take a picture before gobbling it down.

The more you eat, the less flavor; The less you eat, the more flavor
-Chinese Proverb

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