My kitchen looks like a freakin’ movie set right now. Jar after jar of fermentation apparatus are lined up on the bench like soldiers. They contain all kinds of carefully rotting vegetable specimens. Stacked high on another bench are plastic containers with many different coloured supplement powders, some seem effective, others don’t. Then there are the diagnostic machines: Heart rate variability, Body fat percentage, blood pressure, even atmospheric analysis tools. Is the air breathable today? Yes it is. My kitchen looks like a mix of the laboratories of CSI Miami and Dr Frankenstein, and tragically, it is just as exciting for me.
It’s fair to say, I am on a massive health kick. But why not! I have all this time on my hands now that reality TV dominates the airwaves. Might as well nerd-out over something.
Does baby food lead to obesity?
There is this theory that infants who are fed baby food grow up to be obese. Baby food has a mushy texture and lack of flavour. It seems that baby food is a “gate-way food” that leads to childhood rejection of hard vegetables and salad in preference of more of the same flavours and textures. As an adult, high calorie food also generally has a mushy texture and lack of flavour. Chips, nuggets, soft drinks, white bread, pasta… the list goes on. Even moderate amounts of these food will be deposited directly to your midsection, do not pass go, go not collect anything useful but possible heart disease.
So what is the opposite to these mushy, flavourless foods? It turns out the opposite is the stuff that is good for the slim version of yourself. From a very basic healthy diet standpoint the following is fact: salad, and vegetables are the Holy Grail. You could literally overdose on these items as much as you would like. You will not become obese, nor will you become unhealthy. If you are overweight and you switch your diet to be full of these foods, you will lose weight. It’s that simple.
Guess what? I really don’t like the texture and taste of salad and vegetables. True to the theory, I was brought up on babyfood. As a child all of my vegetables were mushed up and milk, sugar and fat was added to them. In a demonstration of misplaced motherly love, my mother made sure that I tasted nothing crunchy, nothing leafy, nothing sour or tart. Even strawberries were dipped in sugar! The narrow food palette I was weaned on was entirely in the ‘high calorie camp.’ The result? no diabetes thank god and a generally skinny body until the inescapable late twenties metabolic slowdown. Then BAM! I suddenly have an extra 10-15 kilos of new fat I have to lug around every day. I am still in the process of removing it at 34.
Is it just me or is this a more widespread issue? I have been doing my own little poll, where I ask friends “salad, yay or nay?” and “what were the 3 most common dishes you ate at home as a kid” and “was baby-food on the menu as a baby.” The answer is always the same, the salad lovers come from an upbringing with a broad food palette. The haters come from an upbringing of baby food and takeaway.
FACT: We have to eat healthy. But we don’t have to necessarily enjoy it. What if two big meals a day were “utility meals” whereby healthy foods are given an un-reluctant handshake and tolerated. Making dinner or supper almost guilt free? Further more, what if these utility meals were consumed the way you consumed them in early life? thereby turning what is a current disadvantage into an an advantage.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?
Babyfood for obese adults:
Experiment 1: Salad Smoothie
Gross!!! Salad smoothie!!! That’s what you’re thinking, right? Yeah, me too. But, what the hell? so I took the unseasoned salad off my plate and dropped it into one of those upside down smoothie makers. What did it taste like? GROSS? well, no. It tasted like a salad, in liquid form, quite mild in fact. So easy to get down in under 30 seconds. Surprisingly making for a belly full of a plethora of health benefits and virtuality no calories.
But it was more than that. This sounds completely crazy. But have you heard the Italian cliché “This pasta! It tastes just like the pasta that mama made?” Or “This Sunday roast is so lovely, just like grandma’s?” As Italians equate good pasta with being home, somehow salad in a blender feels like home. Try it.
Awkward video of me making my daily salad smoothies:
Experiment 2: Want to be healthy and eat nuts but they taste like ass? One Tablespoon Of Almond butter
Here is where it gets dangerous. Almond butter is like crack for me. It’s high calorie, but beneficial in moderate doses: one tablespoon is a decent snack and tastes pretty good. Put it on a rice cracker if you are so inclined. By the way, one tablespoon does not mean scooping out half of the jar and balancing it on the spoon.
Once again, it’s so easy for me to eat this stuff, because it’s mushy. As opposed to almonds which aren’t.
For those who aren’t up on the value of almonds: they are a great late night snack due to being a source of slow burning protein and they are apparently good at regulating blood sugar levels, meaning less waking up feeling lethargic. I have a tablespoon for midmorning snack.
Experiment 3: A warm, mushy breakfast
Breakfast. The one meal I have completely failed at my whole life. If I eat cereal, I feel lethargic and bloated by mid-morning. The feeling would be on par with being dragged through the mud, without a cart, by a flatulent mule. So I used to do the smarter thing: skip breakfast and fast with the help of the four cappuccinos I needed to keep my brain ticking until lunch. This fasting seemed completely brilliant until the absolutely unstoppable late night food cravings hit like a ton of bricks at 11pm. Food cravings of the sweet, creamy, high calorie and easily-digestible kind (Tim Tams, you know you’ve been there). So, why not just go to sleep instead? I couldn’t. It was impossible to sleep off the cravings due to the fact that I was now also a caffeine-fuelled insomniac. Midnight Torture! That’s how much I sucked at breakfast.
What’s for breakfast? Lentils with eggs, sauerkraut, salsa, sesame seeds and seaweed. The secret to not becoming a flatulent mule yourself is to rinse the beans several times before preparation. This dish would make great hangover food. If eating a warm meal for breakfast is hard for you, pretend you have one! This meal is a far better option than the calorie laden blood-sugar-clusterfuck of refined carbohydrates and god knows what else known as breakfast cereal and breakfast muffins.
At first it felt weird stuffing myself full of a dinner food before 9 a.m. But it rocks. I am full till lunchtime if not till afternoon, no mid morning every floppiness, no sweet cravings, and surprisingly my caffeine consumption has gone back to a safe level without any feelings of low energy.
So what are the takeaways from these experiments?
1. If you struggle to eat healthy, think about what you could deal with as a child and try and mimic it somehow. Be creative!
2. If you are bringing up a child, let them try a very small amount of a wide range of foods, with a wide range of tastes and textures, every day. Try to avoid baby food as much as you can, and use your intuition. There is a reason why you have it. If you feel you need some assistance, the method is called baby led weaning.
3. Liquid diet companies work! they are expensive, but the fact is it seems easier for people to eat healthy when things are presented on cue, with little fuss, in smoothie form.
Lifestyle aficionado, ice hockey student
MFAA Accredited Mortgage and Business Loan Broker
Director Exceptional Finance
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Photo Credit: Parker Knight – Reception – 0095