Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Food Freak

It has begun. I'm turning into one of those food freaks. Y'know... the kind who reads every single label on every single product on every single shelf. I can tell you all about the difference between sucrose and fructose, and why you should really be consuming NATURAL sugar-alternatives like xylitol or stevia/ chicolin instead of white or brown sugar. And forget about chemical artificial sweeteners altogether.

And since I've been turning into this food freak, I'm starting to realize how much crap there is in every single product you buy from the stores. OK, technically because I'm on this detox cleanse, I'm only looking out for sugar, wheat and yeast and all their by-products... but practically everything is flavoured with sucrose, fructose, maldextrin, or has vinegar or tomato paste or yeast extract, or preserved in some form or other (yes, that includes everything with sulphur).

When we're out at restaurants, I have to order the simplest thing on the menu as goodness knows what they put into all those gloopy sauces and gravies - are the tomatoes in the Napolitana sauce fresh or canned? (No canned or preserved foods as they're likely to contain mould). Did they use starch, yeast or flour to thicken the sauce? Even a simple dish like a salad can't have any dressing (they're full of vinegar, sugar & yeast extracts), just a squeezed lemon wedge for flavour. I ended up picking out all the olives from my Greek Omelette coz I forgot olives were preserved (once again, coz preserved foods contain mould). And oh yes, I'm suddenly OK with eating eggs again. FREAK!

The up side to this though, is that I'm realizing now how FRESH, FRESH, FRESH everything you eat ought to be. Nowadays, everything comes in cans, bottles, powders, and with these shortcuts come more additives and other crap that shouldn't naturally be going in your body. DUH. But for someone who has never studied food labels as closely as I'm doing now, I'm amazed at the extent of CRAAAAAAAP I've been ingesting. Check out the crap in chocolate biscuits and French Dressing labels, found off the net:

At the same time, because I've also got to learn to regulate my blood-sugar levels and eat 6 smaller meals a day, I'm deathly afraid of over-eating (even though I'm liking the idea of eating so many times a day). So I'm also trying to figure out the percentage daily values. That's the other label on the side of all boxes:

For a Singaporean, and in case you didn't know - Singaporeans LOVE food and are passionate about everything to do with food! Or rather, Singaporeans are just plain greedy. We can be having dinner tonight and talking about what to eat for lunch the next day already. Life revolves around food - a typical greeting/ salutation could be "Hi, how are you? Have you eaten yet?"

So as you can imagine, the biggest switch I've had to make is to see food as medicine and fuel first, and a means to pleasure second. It's still a big mind game I'm playing with myself and coz I don't want to get obsessive about it (somehow that makes me laugh at the irony of it), and neither do I want to feel like I'm depriving myself of the stuff I like... coz that's when all best-laid plans go belly-up... I'm trying to find other natural alternatives. Hence the xylitol, stevia/ chicolin instead of sugar and carob instead of chocolate, 100% wheat-free, yeast-free Rye in everything to do with bread... and I'm still finding out about chicory instead of coffee and how that works... it's like an extension of yoga, being this completely aware of what goes into the body; aware of what's nutritionally good for my being.

It'll be interesting to see if I'll keep this up after the month-long cleanse is over. My love affair with experimenting with food seems to be never-ending... being vegetarian doesn't seem to be my thing, I'm O+ after all and there may be something in eating right for your blood type.

I've re-introduced fish and seafood about once or twice a week, and still toying with the idea of eating a bit of chicken or beef again. I'm still off the taste and texture of meat though, but when that day comes of course you'll hear all about it.

Oh, being healthy is also pretty damn expensive. In the one week since I've been put on this detox cleanse, my food bill has doubled. Guess that's a small price to pay for a much healthier gut. Ha. But seriously, I'm starting to feel loads better already and it's only been one week!

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