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WIAW: “Correct” Diet?

It’s finals week in the wonderful world of graduate school, which means grading, grading, grading, writing, grading, writing, and occasionally stuffing food in my face frantically. And by “occasionally,” I of course mean frequently.

Sorry I’ve been a bit out of date with the blog. No Week in Review this week–my apologies. It’s finals week, and I’m working like a…not like a dog (a lot of dogs I know are pretty lazy)…like a spider. I feel like I spend all day building my “web” just to be able to make it through the day. No long term architecture here–no time. Then I sleep, wake up and start a new web.

When I was an undergrad, our student newspaper put out this “story” in which two undergraduate students listed everything they ate in one day. It was kind of like WIAW. Except nothing at all like WIAW because then they had this dietitian re-write their daily menu to make it more correct.

The dietitians probably wouldn’t have articulated it that way. They probably would’ve said they were adjusting the menu to make it “healthier.” But that assumes that there is a kind of objective, universal standard by which someone is “healthy,” and that if you eat something that deviates from this standard, you’ve made some kind of “mistake.”

I remember, for example, that the dietitian told one of the students to drink 4 oz. of orange juice for breakfast, rather than 8.

Drinking 8 oz. of orange juice…who knows what could happen to you?

(Disclaimer: I have nothing against dietitians. Many dietitians are wonderful people who understand that diet is not something to be “perfected.” It was this particular feature story in the newspaper I found pretty icky.)

DSCN1080At breakfast on Sunday, I was feeling bored with Cheerios and banana, so I cooked up some quinoa flake/quick oat porridge in almond milk. Occasionally I think, “You know, I should eat less sugar or try to get more protein with my breakfast.” But when I make oatmeal for breakfast, I honesty just top it with a big clump of sugar and dried cranberries. And a little cinnamon for sass. ?

I read and commented on blogs for a couple of hours and realized I was starting to get hungry. I had some strawberries in the fridge that probably weren’t going to last much longer, and the thing I wanted with that was chocolate soy butter. It might be a bit healthier than Nutella–it has some protein, after all–but it’s still more or less Nutella.DSCN1081 DSCN1084A “healthy snack”? Heck, there was fruit. That counts, right?

I finally got around to grading, doing my laundry, and got a mother’s day phone call from my mom. (She called from Germany, where she’s gone to visit my Dad, who’s on sabbatical writing a textbook. And riding his bicycle.)Dad in GermanyMore Mom in GermanyAt about 1:30, I started getting hungry for lunch. What did I crave? Macaroni and cheese. The kind with real pasta (gluten-free), real cheese, real butter, real milk. I hadn’t had mac and cheese in a long time, and frankly, it just sounded good. I did eat a few veggies–cauliflower and carrots–on the side.DSCN1088I graded a few more papers at grabbed at a snack at about 4. Since re-introducing some kinds of FODMAPs to my diet, I’ve been all about Luna BarsDSCN1094Speaking of re-introducing FODMAPs, though, my tummy’s been really mad at me the past couple of days. I’m starting to suspect the mannitol, or maybe I’m hoping it’s mannitol. Cauliflower and mushrooms would be way easier to minimize from my diet than onion and garlic. Either way, it’s been a rough couple of days tummy-wise.

But anyways…

Our neighbor and friend, Darcy, was really sick. Basically, she defended her thesis and then crashed, in bed for almost two days. Because she was sick, and also because cooking is how I cope with stress, I decided to run to Trader Joe’s and get her some stuff to make homemade chicken noodle soup. What’s more wonderful when you’re sick at home on a rainy day than chicken noodle soup?

With homemade broth. Because homemade broth is so much better than the stuff that comes in the carton.DSCN1107I also decided to bake her some gluten-free rolls, the kind with plenty of real butter. She has gluten intolerance and doesn’t get homemade bread very often.DSCN1105By the time I finished the soup, I was hungry, but also still pretty queasy from the IBS. The middle roll had an ugly burned-looking spot on it, so I nibbled that one up for my supper, with scraps of the chicken off the bones that hadn’t made it into the soup.

Yup. I had bread for supper. Just bread.

I hung out with Darcy for a while, petted her adorable cat, and talked about the joys and challenges of teaching writing to college freshmen. When I got back, I tried a new experiment: homemade lemon ginger tea. By which I mean I put a little cane syrup in the bottom of a teacup, filled it up with water, popped half a lemon and a couple pieces of candied ginger in a strainer, and let it steep for a couple of minutes. It was actually quite tasty, and a nice tummy soother.DSCN1111Despite my unhappy tummy, I felt pretty hungry again in a couple of hours. I could have had chocolate or a few gluten-free brownie bites…but I decided maybe I’d had enough sweet treats for one day. So I finished off the baby carrots I had in my fridge, with peanut butter.

Sometimes I do intentionally choose to eat more nutritious foods rather than desserts. Sometimes.

I definitely ran out of carrots before I felt I had had enough peanut butter–so I might or might not have used the spoon-in-jar method of peanut butter consumption.

DSCN1112So that was my day of eats. Lots of starches, a fair amount of sugars, lots of fats. Not much protein, not much vegetables. Some fruit.

Yeah, I try to eat healthy. But no, I don’t want a dietitian “correcting” my diet. My diet is not something to be perfected. Some days I eat processed foods. Sometimes I eat cheese and butter instead of avocado and nuts. Sometimes I eat super-salty food. Sometimes I hardly get any vegetables in all day.

Once upon a time, my eating disorder would have punished me for all my eating “mistakes.” But they weren’t “mistakes,” because there is no “correct” way to eat. Maybe more and less effective ways, but no “correct” way.

Are you a sweet or savory breakfast eater?

Do you ever eat the ugly roll/biscuit/cookie/muffin etc. when you bake for friends?

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  1. I love that you called out the OJ example. It’s like when people ban bananas. They’re actually GREAT fuel.

    And I do the same thing with peanut butter more than I’d like to admit… mostly not even bothering with a spoon. 🙂

    1. Joyce says:

      Peanut butter on fingers FTW!

  2. Ellie says:

    I am a sweet breakfast person all the way. I love bananas with some kind of nut butter or something like that for breakfast. It just fits what I crave.
    I always eat the ugly ones when I bake. I need to taste the recipe to make sure it’s good, and no one will eat the ugly one anyway so I might as well 🙂

    1. Joyce says:

      Definitely gotta make sure they’re not poison. 😉

  3. Cora says:

    You – are the most fabulous friend. Homemade chicken noodle soup and homemade gf scones?! If Darcy didn’t feel better after that drop off I don’t know what else would.
    I can’t waste anything so of course I eat the burnt/broken/ugly baking ducklings.
    I seriously need to know how you made that mac and cheese. Or better yet, bring me some?
    PS your Dad sounds pretty damn cool..

    1. Joyce says:

      For the mac and cheese, I followed the directions on the Jovial gluten-free fusilli box.
      My dad would appreciate being called pretty damn cool. : )

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Sometimes the things I read in the paper/magazines about what a ‘healthy’ diet looks like, and a ‘let’s-take-a-look-at-my-food-in-a-day-‘ type articles are actually appalling. Like, unsustainably low calories. I get that there’s apparently an obesity epidemic, but that ain’t everybody’s problem.
    What a lovely thing to do, food for a sick friend!

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