Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Diary: My non-processed food week

Lady Bird Johnson? Or Trisha Walker? Hint: Not me.

Monday, Oct. 27
Day 1
Dear Diary,

You know what's interesting? "Diary" and "Dairy" are pretty much the same, and yet so different. Words are weird. You know what else is weird? Purposely taking yourself off processed foods--I like to define that as anything with more than four ingredients, unless you're Fritos, in which case your three ingredients don't cut it, Mister--during this season of Halloween candy and gluttony and treats galore. I guess you have to do something to pass the time. Also, it's possible I'm a masochist.

Today I woke up with sleep in my eyes and resolve in my heart. Breakfast: Plain yogurt sweetened with homemade blackberry jam. One-point-five cups of coffee laced with milk because that's how I roll. Felt strong. Felt like I could do this thing.

Lunch: Asian pear, Braeburn apple, nut butter from the organic bulk aisle, and a lettuce-cucumber-cream cheese sandwich on a ciabatta roll. You may or may not count ciabatta as processed. It's from the grocery bakery, and claims to have six ingredients, one of which is water. Wait, what the hell is soybean oil? Oh. Yuck. Sounds like Monsanto has its hands on my buns.

Well, that's depressing.

Had a rather nutritious snack of whole almonds and dried apricots (both organic), which I was happy to have packed because I had a photo shoot at 5:20 p.m., and that is right smack when I should be eating dinner. I also had two cups of cinnamon-vanilla tea. Doesn't that sound delicious? Spoiler alert: It's not. Tea is just crappy water. Which is what everything tastes like when it's not coffee.

Oh, and confession: I had two coffee-flavored candies. Nine ingredients. Oops. But they are natural, and since I usually eat 10 at a sitting, I'm counting that a win.

Dinner consisted of leftover homemade black bean soup and a quesadilla (both mostly organic), and some leftover apple slices from lunch, and then two homemade chocolate chip, what?, cookies. It took all my willpower not to eat a third. Night is the hardest for me on the food front. Give me sugar or give me... well, salt, I guess, except I'd rather have the sugar when push comes to shove.

Who cares, sugar craving be damned, drinking water, yummy yummy water, just kidding, water is terrible, but on the upside, at least it's not tea.

And I'll probably sleep GREAT tonight without all that sugar in my veins, right?

Tuesday, Oct. 28
Day 2
Dear Diary,

Up all night peeing. Tired. Cranky. Made myself a cup of hot chocolate this evening because I needed a treat, too many ingredients to count, don't judge me, it's organic and practically a health food and I'm premenstrual.


Wednesday, Oct. 29
Day 3
Dear Diary,

New resolve! Can I just give a shout-out to my breakfast mainstay, Brown Cow plain yogurt, sweetened with maple syrup? Because that's my go-to, and it serves me well. The other day the store was out of plain yogurt, so I bought my previous go-to, maple flavored, and found it was too sweet. When I started with the plain, it was too sour. Now it's delightful. Taste buds are freaky.

So I've been trying to cut back on the coffee, which is why I bought the cinnamon-vanilla tea, and yes, I'm still drinking that. It might taste like crappy water, but it's hot crappy water, and my Ron Swanson mug feels good in my hands. But today, I made the trek to the coffee shop for my usual decaf Americano with room, and even though I was behind a couple of guys, the barista recognized me, asked if I wanted my decaf and put her hand out for my Kleen Kanteen. I'm not sure if that is awesome or indicative of a greater problem.

This morning before I left for work, I threw a pork roast and fingerling potatoes into the crock pot, so we had barbecued* pork sandwiches for dinner. Ciabatta loaves were on sale at the grocery bakery this week, so I bought a couple for the freezer. I'm afraid to look, but I'm sure Monsanto has its hands on my loaf, too. Dammit, you guys! Just quick sucking, okay? Jeez.

So not the worst day is what I'm saying.

*Barbecue sauce made locally by our one barbecue joint. More than four ingredients, but none of them is corn syrup, and most are spices. I'm calling it a win.

Thursday, Oct. 30
Day 4
Dear Diary,

For lunch today, I went to this cute little bakery and ordered the three-cheese panini (with caramelized onions) and a bag of sea salt Kettle Chips. And an Americano. Because I just couldn't face that damn tea.

And it was delicious. And I only felt slightly guilty. This bakery is all about fresh and local, so... that's something, right?

Friday, Oct. 31
Day 5
Dear Diary,

This day? Was a total fail. Ah, and I went into it so hopeful.

Since we're pretty much out of every foodstuff imaginable in this household, packing a lunch wasn't really an option. But I had a plan. I threw in an apple and some nut butter--that I did have--and hit the grocery store on my way to work, to pick up a croissant from the bakery (didn't read the ingredients because I'm afraid of the soybean oil), a cheese stick and a small carton of Brown Cow cherry-vanilla yogurt (mmmm!), but then I also bought one box each of crackers and granola bars. The croissant wasn't organic, but everything else was, and... I'm sorry, Diary, but I can only make so many good choices when I'm on my period. (TMI?) Plus I hadn't had breakfast yet and I was starving.

Back at the office, line editing, eating a granola bar, ignoring the pan of brownies inches away from my desk, feeling pretty good about myself. Then the general manager announces she's ordered us Subway sandwiches for lunch.

It's funny how something like this can break a person's resolve completely. Lunches were brought in, and I won't lie, I picked my sandwich based on the Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips included in the bag. The sandwich ended up being ham, and I can't tell you the last time I actually ate lunch meat; that's one thing I haven't really gone back to since Lent ended in April, and I haven't missed it, either.

Ah, but it was good.

The included cookie was a white chocolate chip-macadamia nut ordeal, and there's no way I could eat that, even if it wasn't non-processed week, so I passed it off to Adam in sports. There's nothing like giving away your cookie to make you a hit with your co-workers.

So that was one for the plus side, but then Baby Ben (not to be confused with Old Ben, who is probably 10 years younger than me but worked in the office before Baby Ben, hence the nickname) got permission to crack open the pop machine, and I kind of lost my head. I had a Pepsi in my hands before I even knew what was going on.

Lovely, lovely GMO corn! Irony: I voted yes on Measure 92.  Also, that was sarcasm, the lovely GMO part.

So between the pop and the chips and the preservative-laden sandwich, I was like, well, this day is screwed, so I ate as many coffee-flavored candies as I wanted, and then came home and ate two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups out of the freezer. When we took Johanna trick-or-treating (that's another post for another time), I ate two cookies at my parents' house. (Well, those ARE natural, they just don't count as non-processed because of the chocolate chip eyes the pumpkins were sporting.) Came home feeling like crap.

But I accept that fate. I knew what would happen. And there's always tomorrow to auto-correct.

Saturday, Nov. 1
Day 6
Dear Diary,

What was that I said about auto-correct? Just never you mind.

Because this day was also a total fail. It started out okay--I made Johanna and I scrambled eggs for breakfast, from a co-workers pet hens that seriously live the good life--but then dissolved into crap. For lunch, I had crackers with nut butter (again, organic, just not non-processed), and then a beautiful Comice pear... with leftover caramel sauce I'd made for Johanna's classroom Halloween party at her request. Technically not processed (it's just sugar, butter, vanilla and cream--I decided to forego the salt), but when you're coming off a sugar fest, probably not the best idea ever.

Yadda yadda yadda, throw in some more coffee-flavored candies (why do I buy those again? They're obviously made of crack), two more Halloween cookies at my mother's house, a lovely slice of New York-style* Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza, and another Pepsi, and you're just looking at a gut bomb of epic proportions. And it's all my fault, so I can't even be mad at anyone but myself.

Why, Diary? Why am I such a slow learner? Why is my resolve so, so weak?

*Keep in mind the farthest east I've been is Wisconsin, so I have no idea how New York this New York-style pizza really is, except Baby Ben seems to think it's decent enough, and he is from that state, so there you go.

Sunday, Nov. 2
Day 7
Dear Diary,

Here's what I learned from my non-processed week: My diet is far from non-processed, even when I'm actually trying. There's a prevailing feeling of if it's organic, it's healthy! in my general constitution, which makes no sense because organic crackers are still crackers.


Abby has declared today to be Vegetable Day, mostly because it's been Carb Weekend and she's thinking maybe enough is enough. We have a weird relationship with food in this household, I'm beginning to realize--we mostly eat very naturally, but we just can't help ourselves with the crap sometimes. And by "sometimes," I mean "daily."

Today is my grocery day, so that's what I put in the cart: Lots and lots of fruits and veggies. And then made sure those which could be prepared for ease of grabbing were thus prepared accordingly. Actually, because my choices were cook or clean, I chose "cook" (obviously!), so our fridge is now brimming with all manner of options, from homemade rice and beans to plain ol' carrot sticks to banana muffins. Abby might be on a carb cleanse, but I am not.

I don't know, Diary. I started strong, got depressed, revived, and ultimately failed. It's been a whirlwind of emotion in the Walker household.

Here's to next week's attempt.


I have linked a lot of product sites here, but that's just in case you're not sure what I'm talking about, my international friends. This is NOT in any way implying you should go purchase any this stuff. Actually, please don't. Thank you.

Um, but that caramel sauce recipe? I do recommend that one. That's just good stuff.

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