Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can You Spot The Oxymoron?

Since beginning this blog nearly six months ago, I have done my very best to incorporate healthy choices into my menus. I am not perfect and will never aim to make fabulous selections one hundred percent of the time, but I am eating better right now than I have in my entire life – by a long shot.

I used to be the queen of the processed, pre-packed foods. If it wasn’t instantly edible out of the box or bag, or at least ready after five minutes in the microwave, I pretty much had no interest in it. With such habits, it’s not hard to imagine the copious amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat that I ingested on a daily basis.

So when I talk about how I now generally aim to have whole foods in my diet, what I mean is that I am doing the best that I can given that this is still quite new to me. As a rule, I travel more along the outside of a store when I need to get groceries rather than trekking through the aisles that are heavily laden with less than ideal packaged options. The deli, bakery, produce section, and dairy products are typically stocked along the walls and I find that using this guideline helps me make better decisions about what to put into my cart (and body).

Yes, I still eat some items that are likely over-processed and I will probably always feel the need to have a small amount of my dressings and dips to accompany my vegetables. I eat out sometimes too; although, even then, I try to find restaurants that provide options which include fresher products instead of frozen ones. With some other stuff I don’t doubt that I am fooling myself as far as what the ingredient list would illuminate if I bothered to check, but I am really okay with that for now. Like so much in life, when it comes to change, it’s all relative – and I am leaps and bounds away from the unhealthy habits that I used to sport.

All of this prefacing is so that I can explain why I felt the way I did earlier this afternoon. Today and yesterday I tried a few different nutrition bars since I have recently been reading about the amazing ones other people seem to be enjoying of late. I was only able to locate one of the specific kinds I have heard about, but I actually tried three different brands over the last two days.

They were very tasty and I honestly enjoyed every bite that I had, yet after sampling the last two types today I noticed a short while later that I felt both full and empty. It was the strangest feeling, but at the same time something that seemed very familiar. I had the sensation of being weighted down in my midsection – as if I had eaten too much – but I was still hungry.

Then it hit me! I felt preserved. I felt like I did when I was eating all of that other pre-packaged and over-processed stuff. It was as if I could feel the preservatives and abundance of ingredients making their way into my system and complicating the inner workings of my body. It was an unexpected epiphany, but one that was very welcome.

I still have a few of these bars in my house and, I admit, they won’t be going to waste. I did enjoy them and will likely have them again very soon. However, I am definitely going to be spreading them out over a longer period of time and viewing them as treats and not staples.

This was a good lesson for me today. It reminded me that I really don’t want to go back to the unhealthy eating that I demonstrated so regularly before. My body is happier because of what I choose to fuel it with now, and I can no longer imagine switching back to the foods which left it in a state of perpetually detrimental preservation.

- 8 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 3/4 cup fat free blueberry yogurt with 1 cup whole grain Cheerios
- 1 wrap on a soft tortilla shell with deli turkey breast, cheese, spinach, dried cranberries, fat free Miracle Whip, mustard, and pepper
- 1 apple-cinnamon crisp bar
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 1/2 almond and coconut nutrition bar
- 2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 1 pink grapefruit with honey

- 1 hour and 15 minutes of walking completed in 2 outings (35 minutes long and 40 minutes long)
- 15 squats
- 15 lunges for each leg
- 8 push ups
- 50 stomach crunches
- 15 bent leg donkey kicks for each leg
- 25 side lying leg raises for each leg
- 5 sets of walking up and down stairs


  1. Very interesting post!!! I have that feeling sometimes too...thanks for sharing the revelation!

  2. I'm not a fan of the bars either.
    For some reason I keep thinking I ought to buy them because...well, not sure there. lol Luckily, I look at the price, the calories & the funky ingredients & usually walk away. ;)

    My weakness though is the Vitatops. Sorta like "healthy" chocolate muffins. Still, for 100 calories they do leave me feeling full & are satisfying. I can't afford to buy them often so I'm not eating them 7 days a week either...but I know I probably should just walk away for the same reasons you listed.

    Best wishes,

  3. Always something new to learn about ourselves & the journey... life long! :-)

    Did you see this post over at Cranky Fitness:

    I was thinking of your lost of enthusiasm & this would be a good read.

  4. Just found your blog. Great post!

  5. Interesting that you felt you could feel the preservatives. I'm going to have to remember that when I eat a lot of processed food at once. I think I know what you mean, though--it's one reason that I've never really liked fast food. I find the idea of processed chicken (pretty much only chicken for some reason) an absolute turnoff. And I think it also has something to do with that feeling you mentioned, of having eaten but feeling like you didn't get any nutrition out of it or something.

  6. Actual Scale, I've never tried the Vitatops although I've heard a lot about them. It's probably a good thing because they sound addicting!

    Jody, I went and reread that post - thank you. It's a good idea to remind myself that I am not the only one struggling right now.

  7. I will have to keep that in mind as I read about so many bars lately I was going to try some. Maybe I will just skip them.