This year (so far) I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to track what I’ve been eating. Although I’m not dieting (so far), I’m hoping that it will lead to better food choices. In case you missed it, I explored how the app works in this post. I don’t have a fancy phone, camera, lights or set, but I thought it would be instructional or at least interesting to share some more photographs of what’s been going down my gullet. Granted, it’s not going to make me Instagram influencer famous, especially since I still haven’t ever joined Instagram.
I share these knowing full well that it’s a privilege to have enough food to put on the table. Plenty of people are doing with less, or not nearly enough, even before the pandemic. As a kid I got reduced-rate school lunches, and years ago I even received food stamps twice. In lean times (like the pandemic) I’ve not been too proud to go to food pantries. Meanwhile, I still struggle to lose weight and be an athlete instead of a fathlete (fat athlete), due to a combination of factors. Genetics and health challenges I can’t do anything about, but there are things I should be better at, like not eating late. That’s very hard to do, especially after my daily bike ride. I’m doing better about biking earlier, but I still get hungry. It’s a journey and I’m a work in progress.
Being a late to bed, late to rise
unemployed bum starving artist who enjoys the quiet of night-time, first breakfast is usually just my morning chocolate; the dark master and a banana. Ideally after the morning ablutions I eventually get out on a walk and bike and then return for second breakfast, Hobbit-style. For breakfast #2, I tend to alternate between oats and dairy one day, and eggs the next. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, while some people drink coffee and eat nothing until lunch to do intermittent fasting. When I used to join early morning group bike rides, I’d try to carb up and save the protein for later. Now, I’m just trying to get some healthy calories in me to make it through the day. Food is fuel, but it can be appealing and appetizing, too.
Three years ago, starting January 1, 2018, I gave up almost all flour products. I say almost because food manufacturers sneak it into all kinds of things. Halfway between then and now, I wrote this post, I Eliminated 99% of Flour Products from My Diet for 18 Months, and Guess What Happened? I began with this answer: “Nothing. That’s right: bupkis, nada, niente, zero, zilch. I lost 0 pounds of weight.” I continue that practice to this day, with the same results — at least none that are visible. Eating whole grains is better, I still believe, and I do allow for popcorn, puffed grain, cereal and rice cakes. I don’t know where I found the discipline and dedication to avoid bread, bagels, cake, cookies, naan, (ba)nanner bread, and more. But I somehow did and do, for better or worse. If there’s one thing I’ve missed, it’s pizza.
I recall I scraped the cheese, toppings, and sauce off a few slices once. But otherwise those delicious Italian pies have not crossed this dude’s lips. Until the other night, when I prepared a pizza with, wait for it… an almond flour crust! Yes, ground up almonds with some other stuff that is not from a grain like coconut-something. I applied sauce, pepperoni, onions, olives, and three cheeses, and BAM! I was enjoying the sweet, forbidden taste of ‘za.
It was good, but actually not as great as I remembered, and not because of the crust. It had been so long since I made it verboten that I still felt like maybe I was cheating. And by the time I started eating it it had cooled down. But the good news is I have another crust waiting in the freezer. I may even make a pesto sauce and add some anchovies or something exotic to kick the flavor up a notch. Someday maybe I’ll go back to the real thing and that will be okay, too. Food is fuel, right?
Of course, I still have a long way to go to be eating as healthy as I can. My weakness lately seems to be kettle-cooked potato chips. They’re a whole food, but full of fat, even the low-fat kind. And I also discovered Dove Dark chocolate covered rasberry sorbet bars. Only 150 calories but all kinds of delish. Of course, more vegetables would be the best thing for bulk, fiber, minerals and general nutrition. Somehow I got away from cooking delicious vegan food after trying that diet again and suffering through a bout of anemia. Not having a personal chef or someone else to cook for, I keep it simple and do my best. When I don’t feel like cooking though, I revert to the bicyclist’s habit of portable snacks like protein bars and powered hydration. But I’ve also started making or getting smoothies, and retrieved my old Juiceman Jr from storage. Put an apple and a lemon in with any vegetables and the juice almost comes out as tolerable. I haven’t quite got myself to using it yet since it’s a pain to clean each time, and I believe smoothies with the plant fiber are healthier.
That’s all for now. For some great recipes, often vegan, or baked goods, check out fellow cyclist blog Sheree, View from the Back The Musette series of posts (not that she is hurting for followers). That link goes to her latest, mac and cheese. (Which I guess part of my brain misses, but then I just eat more cheese and I’m happy.)