It's been about two months since I made my family start eating a little better, so I figured it was a good time to stop and evaluate. Is this extra time and money we are putting into our food worth it? Survey says: YES.
One reason that the local/organic/minimally processed diet (read "food lifestyle" not "Weight Watchers") is awesome is that PJ and I have both lost weight without trying at all. He's lost 10 pounds, and I've lost 4 or 5. Neither of us were particularly motivated to lose weight, but honestly, I haven't seen 120 since my days of college cheerleading, and it feels great. Goodbye, baby bulge! I win!
Which leads me to the second reason that this diet is awesome: we don't overeat as often. I am hungry before a meal and satisfied but not stuffed after, and I think I had forgotten what that felt like. I believe without a doubt that processed food is addictive. McDonald's food doesn't really taste that good, but we keep coming back for more. And nobody eats just one or two french fries. I don't exactly have scientific evidence to back up my opinion, but I know how I have felt lately. Humans have a strong predilection for salt, fat, and sugar, but I think that your body responds differently to processed salt, fat, and sugar than it does to naturally occurring salt, fat, and sugar. Case in point: a week or two ago, PJ and I got Japanese takeout from Sake (if you live in RH, you know). Before I even knew what was going on, I had cleaned my plate. I was an out of control Sake Monster. Of course, I felt like crap, physically. I never do that with the food I cook. (Go ahead, make the joke about how my food must not be that good...) I think the issue is not so much the taste of the food, although my food is just as delicious as Sake's; the problem is the MSG and the white sauce. The processed stuff triggers something in your brain that messes with your self-control and hunger monitor, as if you are addicted. Maybe you don't believe me, but please go try to eat only three potato chips.
PJ and I also agree that we feel better after lunch than we used to. I am less tired after lunch, which means that I am actually productive during 4th block planning sometimes. No more food coma or carbohydrate crash. I would actually say that in general, I feel better. It might be my imagination, but I think my dark circles under my eyes have diminished a little and my skin looks better. Peej says that he feels like his body is running a little cleaner. I also feel good knowing that I am taking care of my family. It's a mental boost as well as a physical boost for me.
I have to admit, though, that it has taken me some time to get used to the extra cooking. I spend more time hunting for recipes, planning meals, shopping for food, and preparing food, but fortunately, I enjoy doing those things. I have gotten into the habit lately of spending some of my Saturday cooking ahead for the week and freezing extras when I have more than I need, being a little less wasteful. I roasted a chicken last Wednesday, and it became chicken salad, parmesan rice with mushrooms and chicken (enough to feed us plus enough to take dinner to another family celebrating a new baby), and homemade chicken stock.
I also need to confess that we do spend more on groceries now. Prepare yourself, I am going to admit how much I spend on groceries per week: $110 to $125. I know that sounds bad for a family of two adults and a one-year-old, but PJ estimates that we are NOT spending around $75 to $100 per week eating out. I'm talking about grabbing coffee, snacks, sodas, and other crap at work, picking up fast food on the way home from work, or going out to eat. It's not that we don't go out to eat at all, but we have definitely cut way down. Our grocery expenses would drop if we could just get that backyard garden going, but we're still too lazy.