Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Eat!

Periodically, someone will express curiosity over why I don't eat certain things.
Curiosity is perfectly acceptable; especially if someone is genuinely interested.

Sometimes, however, people will even express dismay and/or disappointment because I am forgoing a specific edible morsel or two.  That can create some awkward moments; sometimes for the asker, sometimes for me, sometimes for both of us.  It also sometimes makes pot-luck types of gatherings a bit of a challenge, as I'm sure y'all can imagine.

Whether you are reading this blog post because that's what you do - read my blog (and thanks, btw!), or you were personally invited by me to read this specific post, or because you were linked here by someone else . . . or even if you've stumbled upon Swirlings while net-surfing . . . I hope this blog post will answer questions in a clear and gracious manner.

In the mid / late 80s, I weighed over 320 pounds.  I stopped weighing at 320, but I know I continued to gain a bit more weight.  I was wearing a size 32 pants; but the side seams were so incredibly stressed (as in separating), that I really should have been wearing a 34 or even a 36.

I embarked on a weight-loss adventure; but I wanted to make sure it was healthy.

THAT is when I began my journey into food, health and nutrition research.
The first step I took was to immediately give up all sugars (except what was found naturally in raw fruits), along with all processed foods.  ALL.  I was pretty tenacious back then!

A couple of months after I began my journey, I discovered veggie juicing.

Within 10 months, I lost 110 pounds and 10 sizes.

I accomplished this simply by eliminating many foods that, based on my research, I learned were unhealthy to eat and then incorporating more healthy foods into my daily life.  That, and exercising; although back then the exercise was secondary to what I ate and what I did not eat.   Today, both are equally important to me:  good nutrition and good exercise.  I heartily recommend that people use both in their weight loss efforts; both are vital, and they work in conjunction with each other.

For that matter, I encourage anyone and everyone to incorporate a healthy food plan AND an exercise regime into their daily life, regardless as to whether or not they need to lose weight.

There ya go.

About 6 months into this new lifestyle that I had created, I experienced the first grand mal seizure (not "my" seizure; "the" seizure).

This then took me down a new information path, and I started researching not only food, health and nutrition, but also how to use those elements in combating seizures.

It is because of my research over the years that I eat the way I do . . . and more specifically, do not eat certain foods.  Whether it's on a personal level  (i.e., combating seizures) or whether it is more encompassing and applicable to everyone regarding good, basic health, I have done my research, and I have adjusted my lifestyle to the findings of the research.  This is an ongoing, lifelong process.  I don't imagine that I will ever stop doing research of this nature.  One's health is far too valuable to just blindly go through life not paying attention to it; at least, that's how it is for me.

SO!  What are some of the things that I don't eat?

I'm so glad you asked!

Topping the list:
~ Soy.  I don't consume soy; of any kind.  Not as a sauce, not as tofu, not as an ingredient.  I don't even eat soy beans.  No soy.  Absolutely none.

Soy is one of the leading and more common seizure triggers.  It also is one of the more predominant culprits in exacerbating other neurological disorders; including migraines.

Incidentally, soy was originally never meant to be a food for human consumption.  But, it's a relatively inexpensive crop; and viola!  Over the years, the addition of soy in processed and packaged foods has risen and continues to rise at an alarming rate.  Not coincidentally, so, too, does the number of people developing various neurological disorders also continue to rise, along with other physical ailments and illnesses.

~ High fructose corn syrup is another item I will not consume.
~ Hydrogenated oils
~ Hydrolyzed protein
~ Iodized salt (I use sea salt; regular table salt is too highly processed)
~ Xantham gum (and for that matter, any ingredient beginning with an "X".  Seriously.  Tex just asked me if this means I won't eat xylophones; the goof!)

~ Other laboratory-produced "foods" or ingredients
~ Cellulose fibers (chemically-processed wood pulp - remember this the next time you buy a package of pre-shredded cheese)

~ Margarines and other types of fake butters (I use real, unsalted butter)

~ "Fake-fat" foods and also foods marketed as "fat-free 
(1) In order to make "fat-free" and "reduced fat" foods palatable, something has to be added to replace the fat that has been taken out.  The "something" is usually sugar in one or more various forms; and the added sugar(s) are also often accompanied by various types of unnecessary and often harmful chemicals.  This is simply not a good exchange.  Sometimes, the added ingredient is some type of starch (i.e., "reduced fat" cheeses).  Sometimes, both sugars and starches are added back in.  None of this is a good exchange; not in the least.

(2) There is no such thing in nature as a "fat-free" food; all natural food has fat, even if in trace amounts.

~ White sugar (While I do now, on the rare occasion, consume white sugar, I prefer to use honey or  also raw sugar that has not been bleached and heat-processed.)

~ Sugar-laden drinks (if it has added sugar, in any of its various forums in it, I most likely do not drink it; wine and champagne being the exception - and even then, I don't drink much of those neither.  In fact, the very vast majority of what I do drink is plain water.)

~ ANY sugar substitute . . . Sugar subs are as dangerous as soy; sometimes, even more so.
~ Foods or drinks labeled as "Diet" (too much harmful junk in those kinds of foods and drinks; and although I do not drink neither regular sodas nor diet sodas, diet sodas are much more harmful than regular sodas, because of the sugar substitutes.  Regular sodas have their own vices - all that sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup.  Diet sodas are even worse.)

~ A host of other ingredients that really should not be part of someone's food consumption.

Basically, for the very vast majority (say, around 98%), I do not eat packaged and processed foods.  The packaged foods that I do eat must pass my ingredient label test.  And . . . if I am someplace where ingredient labels are not available and there's any doubt in my mind as to whether or not it would be ok for me to eat something (based on my own parameters), then, I simply am not going to eat it.

If you're with me and see me not eating something, please don't take it personally; what I'm doing is taking care of my own health.

Now that I've given y'all a list (although, not a complete one) of what I won't eat . . . what does that leave that I will eat?  Plenty!

Mostly, I prefer to eat real food . . . real, whole, nutritious food.

I cook from scratch . . . completely from scratch; not "scratch from mixes".

~ Fresh, raw fruits and veggies
~ Slightly steamed veggies (please don't turn your beautiful veggies into mush by over-cooking them)
~ High-quality meats
~ Brown eggs
~ Real, full-fat unsalted butter (in moderation
~ Real full-fat cheeses (in moderation)
~ Plain yogurt
~ Whole grains
~ Fresh and dried herbs
~ Unsalted, raw nuts
~ A couple of condiment / ingredient type items that pass my ingredient label test

There's a few other things in there, but that's a pretty extensive list in and of itself.

I even go to restaurants.  Yep, yep, I do.  But, I'm pretty picky about which restaurants (i.e., I do not do fast food); and then, once at the restaurant, I'm pretty picky about my menu choices.

Wherever I am; be that at home, on the road, with friends or family, at a restaurant or somewhere at a pot-luck meal, I eat for nutrition and health.   And, as part of my own personal health, I also eat to help combat seizures.

I also eat for taste and enjoyment . . . I love ice cream; and with as much humility as I can muster, I make an awesome carrot cake and some of the best brownies ever.  Let me know if you ever want to come over and have some.  But . . .  when I do buy ice cream, I diligently read the ingredient label and decline many types and flavors because of what they contain.  When I bake, I use high quality ingredients.

I encourage each of y'all to do your own research regarding food, nutrition and health.  If you have a specific physical illness or disorder, I also encourage you to focus your research toward that specific topic.  Regardless as to whether you are wanting to focus on overall health or need to target a particular area, I hope you will strive to learn which foods can help improve your health and which ones can actually degrade your health.

Once you have done your research, read your ingredients labels and proceed accordingly.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Knowledge is power!  The application of knowledge is empowering!!

There is a beautiful, joyous freedom in knowing that what you are feeding your body is going to help build it up rather than tear it down.

One more thought I'd like to share with y'all regarding food . . .

Throughout the years, every now and then, someone asks me why I'm not allowed to eat this or that.

I would like to suggest that it's not a matter of "not being allowed" to eat something; but rather, it's a matter of choice.  I choose to eat the way I do.  And, I make such choices because I choose to be as healthy as possible.

Thanks for reading!

To y'all's good health,


  1. ~Rebekah (I do not TRY to be anonymous, google makes me do it).

  2. Thanks, Rebekah; I appreciate your reading it!