Overfed but Undernourished.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Over the past couple of years I've tried to pay more attention to what I eat, incorporating more fruits and vegetables and eating fewer processed foods. I pretty much believe in all things in moderation, but lately I've been living the exception rather than the rule.

Lately I have been thinking more about what I put on and in my body, especially now that I'm 30 and nature starts taking its course. Yesterday I was turning on Netflix to find a movie to watch in the evening, and I  noticed that something that was recommended for me was a documentary called Fed Up. If you haven't seen it, in a nutshell it's about how the amount of sugar in processed foods is at the root of our nation's obesity problem. After that, I moved into watching Forks Over Knives, which is about rejecting animal-based and processed foods in favor of a plant-based diet.

Here's the thing -- I know that numbers can be manipulated to back up pretty much any point that someone wants to make, but the general gist of both of these documentaries is we need to eat real food.

And can't we all agree with that?

I appreciated a lot of what these documentaries had to say. For example, they stress that it's not as simple as "calories in, calories out." And that's true. We eat way more in a day than we can burn off, even if we combine exercise with our daily activities that naturally burn calories. The thing is a 100 calorie mini-can of Coke just can't have the same affect on our bodies as 100 calories worth of almonds. It just can't. Additionally there are just so many chemicals in processed foods that cannot be easy for our bodies to process. There are many stories about people who were able to go off many medications by changing their diet to natural foods. Have you ever thought that we take so many prescription medications every month yet continue to eat chemicals?

I don't mean to be preachy, because I sure don't know what I'm talking about and also that's offensive. I'm just sharing some things that have come to mind in the past couple of days after giving it all some thought.

My sister Erin is a vegetarian, and after watching Fed Up and part of Forks Over Knives last night I texted her to ask if she felt physically better since she switched to being a vegetarian. She said yeah absolutely and also that she's thinking about going vegan. The thing about myself is, I really don't need to lose too much weight. I have an average-sized frame, and several years ago I lost a bunch of weight because of a medication I was put on. (Before you ask me to tell you what so you can take it too, just believe me when I tell you I'd rather have my 15 pounds back.) However, I think I am what I recently learned is called a TOFI, or Thin Outside, Fat Inside. Meaning, just because I look thin on the outside doesn't mean that I have healthy insides. And I really don't think I do. The other scary thing I noticed about myself over the past year or so is that after I eat a large meal my heart starts to race like it's literally taking my body a massive amount of work to digest it all.

So late last night I took my trash can and disposed of about 1.5 bags of processed and other unhealthy foods I had laying about my house. This afternoon I went to the store and bought some more things to help supplement my new food choices. Another thing the documentaries said that I liked is that you can't think of it like "I'm going on a diet." You have to think of it like, I'm adding these new, nutritious foods to my diet and gradually the old ones with go away. Or think of it like I'm eating real food! And you get to eat a lot of food when it's real food.

I got some quinoa, couscous, brown rice, almonds, leafy greens, squash, grapes, raspberries, Greek yogurt, broccoli, colorful peppers, brussels sprouts, red potatoes, green beans, dates, and many other things. You'll notice from the Greek yogurt I haven't gone vegan like Erin may be doing, and I'm not even saying I'm going completely vegetarian, but I'm putting more focus on things that come from the ground.

I hear you now -- Anna! There's beer in there! Darn right. Because I'm a person. Not a machine. And my intention is not to declare my hatred of things like cake, wine, and Chick-Fil-A. Because what kind of life is that? But on a daily basis, the best bet is for us to nourish ourselves with actual real food. The thing that really stood out to me in all I watched was this line: We're overfed but undernourished. WHOA. That's so true. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and also the heaviest. It doesn't matter what you put on your outsides if your insides are dying. Also I don't make much money at all, and I can't do a lot of things like shop or go to the movies, and yes, it would be WAY cheaper for me to have stocked up today on things like frozen pizza and chips because that stuff doesn't cost as much money. But at what personal cost to my body and future would I have done that?

The truth is even as I'm sitting here I'm thinking how good some cookies would be. (I mean donuts are my favorite food.) And that's to be expected because sugar is a drug. The more you have the more you want. And it takes time to detoxify yourself from sugar and processed foods. Like I told my sister last night, this languishing in the headache, processed foods, sugar, etc. lifestyle seems easier than changing. Which means I need to change. And if I don't do it now, I never will. It'll be super hard for a while turning away from old habits, but I am praying that it pays off with more energy, healthier insides, and an all-around better feeling.

For dinner tonight I made myself roasted red potatoes and green beans. I loosely followed this recipe, meaning I used it to tell me what temperature the oven should be on and how long I should leave everything in there. But here's what I personally did:

- 6 small red potatoes
- Some french-style fresh green beans
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil
- rosemary
- fresh garlic

This is the first time I've ever used by rabbit garlic press (is that even what it's called?) that a friend brought me back a couple years ago from her trip to Prague!

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cut the red potatoes into eighths.
3. Place the potatoes in a bowl, and drizzle some olive oil on them. Add salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and rosemary to taste and mix around.
4. Place the potatoes on one half of a cookie sheet you've sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes.
6. While that's baking, throw your green beans in a bowl, and drizzle some olive oil on them. Add salt, pepper, fresh garlic, and rosemary to taste and mix around.
7. When the potatoes have been in about 15 minutes, add the green beans to the other side of the sheet.
8. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.

It was so good! Now that I'm thinking about it, I should have added some slivered almonds to the mix! Next time.

Oh look! I also had dessert. :) I made a little parfait of plain Greek yogurt, raspberries, and some organic dark chocolate granola. That was super good too!

I tried to help myself out by washing my grapes and bagging them up in individual baggies and making some yogurt raspberry parfaits in tupperware containers. I'm about to sit down and plan a couple meals too because I feel like I do a lot better getting my fruits and veggies in if I actually plan what I'm going to eat in advance.

Anyways, these are just some thoughts that I've been having lately about what we put on the inside of our bodies and how we really need to think about what we're filling ourselves with.


  1. This is something that I have been working on as well over the past few years. Good recipes are a must. Here is a website that I use all the time. It has helped me really get into cooking. I feel better eating sweets that I made because at least I know what is in them (and I couldn't cut out sweets altogether). I just made this one last night. Good luck!

    1. Oh I definitely can't cut out sweets either! Thank you for the tip. I always am on the look out for easy, healthy recipes I can handle.


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