What the Heck Did I Eat in January? Part II
Monday, January 1, 2012 – bring it on, all you sugar added foods! I know who you are and I don’t care! I don’t need you!
2:30 pm – What do you mean there’s sugar in wine? No wine? Really? OK. I can do it.
Then I found out as I grocery shopped the next few days that sugar is added to almost EVERYTHING. Everything prepared or processed, that is.
Did you know that if you see one of these 50 items listed under ingredients on a label that’s it’s really sugar?
Bread? Sugar in it.
Tortillas? Sugar in ’em.
Crackers? Sugar in ’em.
Tomato sauce? Sugar in it.
Lunch meat? Ham? Rotisserie chicken? Sugar in ’em all.
Cottage cheese? M-effin’ sugar in it!
Your mom? Deez nuts?
I was so sad! I saw my go-to lunch of a whole wheat tortilla with sliced ham and cottage cheese get flushed down the loo. But it really opened my eyes to see how much food we think is 100% good for us has stuff added to it to make it taste better, sit on the shelf longer, look more appealing, etc., and we really need to think if those additives take away from the goodness of the food, especially when there are cleaner alternatives out there.
So, I researched and found some crackers that don’t contain added sugar (Wasa). I used The Gracious Pantry to help me find recipes to bake my own bread. (OMG that could be a post within itself!) I made my own marinara sauce and froze it (hot damn it is better than anything I could buy in a jar with sugar in it). I started roasting my own chicken to cut up for lunch meat.
I did say eff it about eating cottage cheese. There was maltodextrin in the ingredient list of my low-fat cottage cheese, and I decided I was going to make an exception. I did not try to hunt down a version without it in it because (as I will get to), it’s been more expensive eating this way. It can’t be much, and I can’t be perfect!
So, what the heck did we eat that first few days? “Probably just crappy crackers that were mushy from your tears of pain because you can’t eat anything that tastes good!” some of you might be thinking. Nay, I say to you!
Here’s what I’ve been eating for breakfast (with grunts of pleasure, mind you):
- Protein pancakes – seriously these sound totally gross but are totally yummy!
- Broccoli slaw omelettes with cheese
- Bread with peanut butter
- Green smoothies: banana, tofu, almond milk, and spinach (!) with some combination of peanut butter, oats, berries, or cocoa powder
Here’s what I made for lunches and dinners those first few days:
- Cilantro quinoa salad
- Salsa turkey burgers (with crushed up Wasa crackers instead of bread crumbs, no buns)
- Chicken curry with peas
- Black bean spread
- Cabbage rolls
And – shocker – I’ve been eating more fruit and veggies since they don’t have added sugar (although I did limit my fruit to three servings as best as I could so I didn’t consume much naturally occurring sugar either).
I’m also training for a marathon while I’m doing this, and naturally all those little goos and gummies I use to fuel my longer runs are FULL of sugar. I have been using dried apricots instead, and they have been great!
Now, all these recipes called for new pantry staples and other specialty items that I cannot get at the local grocery store. I live 20-40 minutes from the nearest Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc. I found a coop about 20 minutes from me, and I nearly exploded when I saw the bulk foods section. It was so rad! I went a little nuts on grains and spices, but I’m glad I did, because now I can make tons of stuff with exotic flavors.
I did mention that this has been expensive, and it has. I didn’t have things like whole wheat pastry flour, and tortillas made with no added sugar are more expensive than the kind you find on the shelf in the middle of the grocery store. But, I see it as a great investment. Sure, I spent like $10 buying all the bread making supplies, but I don’t even know how many loaves I’ll be able to make with all of it. So far, I’ve made 6 or 7, and that’s way cheaper when you look at the big picture than the artsy fartsy 12-grain stuff I’d been buying for $3/loaf.
One way I’ve been able to make it cheaper is by using this cool little weekly meal planner. I find recipes that will use some of what I already have in the house, plan out the whole week, and go shopping once per week for the specific items I need. It’s been money-saving and time-saving. Win win.
Next blog: How I’ve Been Feeling (or even better, how I’ve been looking! Ow ow!)