Saturday, March 16, 2013

My new favourite smoothie or Riot... Don't diet!



I haven't been posting many recipes lately. Essentially, I have been trying to kick some weight that I have put on over the years and have been focusing on salads, green smoothies and clean foods.

About 6 years ago, I quit my physical job of being a school photographer where we were constantly running around lifting heavy objects. I swapped this job for a desk job thinking I would have more stability.

I certainly had more stability. I also had less opportunities to move. At this time in my life, sadly I was in a relationship with someone who's personality clashed a lot with my own and neither of us were very happy at all.

I put on 20 kilos that year.

It was then that I ended the relationship. I changed jobs and became a carer and started uni and was on my way to becoming a nurse. Throughout my life, I had always had employment where I gave back to the community and having a desk job for a corporate company did nothing whatsoever to warm the cockles of my little heart.

Instead of staying in a job which I did not find fulfilling, I changed my career path. On a side note, I have met so many people who are unhappy in life and when probed further, it seems the basis of this unhappiness is their job. Ultimately, we are only here for a short while and we must follow our hearts and dreams. If you spend the majority of your time in a place that makes you unhappy, you will be unhappy.

If you are like me and seem to lack any particular direction, choose one. I do enjoy nursing and it gives me a good outlet for my art. It's a job where I can travel, make enough cash to be comfortable and also one where I can help people. It's not the most glamourous job and it can be quite draining and lead to many an existential crisis, but ultimately, it's for the greater good and I don't feel the soul destroying crush that big business can cause. Also, the hours allow me to have many a side project. I take drum lessons, DJ and paint portraits. Those are my true passions but admittedly, when I worked as a photographer I felt like it wasn't "enough" if you know what I mean. I love helping those who are somewhat neglected by society. Having said that, my skin has also become thick from dealing with those who rudely take more than they should. Oh, the ups and downs of nursing... But that is a different story.

When I changed jobs, I slowly lost 10 kilos. I was getting more exercise and not eating for the sake of eating. I learned more about nutrition and instead of living only on bread, I began to try new nutrient dense foods and quite enjoying them.

Having grown up with a family that focused on dieting but still had a mentality about food as if it was the Great Depression, my idea of food was somewhat skewed. We were often expected to have seconds and thirds at family gatherings whilst the conversation swirled around ideas of "being fat and needing to loose weight".

"You must eat all of the food on your plate. Think of the children starving in Africa."
I'm sure we've all heard this before. This saying has never made sense to me. As a smart arse child, I would offer that we take what was left on my plate and help feed those starving children. Those children will still go hungry regardless of what I eat.

We are not living in the Great Depression anymore, as my grandparents did. Our food is not rationed. In fact, we are privileged in that we can buy food in abundance.  This does not mean that we should gorge ourselves for the sake of not wasting food. We no longer need to think as if we may not have food on our plates tomorrow.

What does it mean to "waste food"? Is gluttony not wasting food? The only real way to not waste food in this day and age is to not buy too much, not cook too much and if you do have left overs, save it for your next meal.

My beloved often teases me for the fact that I often take leftovers home from restaurants. He calls me a "Nana". But do you know what? That is my lunch for the next day. It's not wasted and I don't have to spend any more money or use any more resources in buying more food. I am also loosing weight. Plus, I don't see being called a Nana offensive at all.

Here in Australia we make and receive massive portions of food. None of us want to "waste it". This is why we are having an obesity epidemic. We have been taught to think about food by those who grew up during the Great Depression when sources of food were scarce and little treats were rare and special.
We no longer need to worry about starvation and yet we still have a mentality that if we do not eat everything on our plate, we are wasting it. In what way are we wasting it? If we were to eat more than our bodies wish to receive we become fat and unhealthy. That in itself is a waste of a beautiful, energetic life.  Is it not a waste to eat something that you do not need? It doesn't make any sense to me. Up until recently, I have had rescued pet chickens and rabbits that we fed our leftovers to. We also compost. This is not a waste.

The people who taught us not to waste food are the same people grew up and went through all of the diet phases of the 80's and beyond. Talk about conflict. The idea of the diet actually started in the 1920's when for some reason, society went from thinking that a robust figure was sexy to idealising a more straight up and down figure. This idea of the diet strangely coincides with the beginning of cinema and popular culture.

I have heard every diet hint and tip spewed forth from the mouth of my grandmother who has been a member of weight watchers since before I was born. She has been overweight since I can remember and this weight has an adverse affect on her health. Being that she has this conflicted idea of food consumption, she doesn't seem to understand how food effects the body and has many emotional connections with it.

This can be generalised to many of us that grew up with these ideas being thrown at us.We all seems to think that being thin will in someway make us happy. I suppose given that food is essential for survival and somehow the human condition is all mixed up in survival mode and the emotional state, this is somewhat understandable. Perhaps focusing on eating is a way to not deal with deeper emotions that may be plaguing us. Therefore, over eating or under eating can be seen as an emotional focus when we can't figure out answers to the bigger questions.

Lately, I have been focusing on avoiding mindless snacking. I have not been drinking alcohol. I have been buying only what I need regardless of what is on special and I have been eating until I am full and no more. I have been recognising that if I just need something to do, eating is not the answer. Filling my life with things that I have always wanted to do and often put off, like study and make art.

Eating is not the answer. Unless of course, your body tells you it's hungry.

Having said that, I have lost 4 kilos in the last week without really doing much. My nails have gotten stronger, my existential crisis is resolving and I have more energy.

I feel good.

Above is my recipe for this weeks favourite smoothie which I have been eating for breakfast or lunch. x



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