Sunday, January 13, 2008

Switching to Organic

I started a new program at my gym, which includes bi-weekly sessions with a nutritionist, continuing to work with my trainer, plus a pedometer and a food diary. The nutritionist is very nice (much better than the woman who was there before). At our first appointment last week, she started suggesting that I lean more toward natural foods -- real butter instead of margarine, almond butter instead of JIF (waaah!), etc. She was impressed that I already knew how to keep a food diary, but after all these years on Weight Watchers, it's really second nature.

She took me to the (regular) supermarket yesterday, to talk about what to buy and what not to buy. We looked at organic everything, from apples to cereals to milk to energy bars. We talked about the nutrition content of the stuff that I had been buying, which was full of chemicals and preservatives. I always look at the fat and calorie content of the foods (to count WW points), but I have to start looking at the ingredient list and avoiding things like sucralose and MSG. This is harder than you might think -- what we used to call MSG (and avoided like the plague in Chinese restaurants), is also called hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, or protein isolate. Did you know that? MSG is everywhere!

Basically, I can eat foods that are slightly higher in fat or calories, as long as it's in moderation, and the ingredient list is made up of things I can pronounce! :) This is the biggest challenge for me - re-learning everything I've been taught about low fat, low calorie foods. Another example: she said "eat the whole egg!" I don't eat egg yolks if I can help it, except sometimes in scrambled eggs. Eat real maple syrup, just don't eat a lot of it. So this will be a real learning experience.

Here's a snapshot of what I bought at the supermarket... of course, the shock of organics is that I only got 28 items, but I spent $75! Ouch!

I should have taken a snapshot of all of the things that went in the trash/recycling when I got home -- "butter-flavor" lite syrup, margarine, barbecue sauce, Nabisco 100-calorie packs, Cheerios... I get the feeling I'll be buying a lot less of the big national brands from now on!

The pedometer has been kind of fun, too - I discovered that tapping my foot/dancing at Cedar Street for two hours (we went to hear the Spazmatics on Weds.) got me an extra 5,000 steps! I also racked up 2,000 steps walking around Costco (and avoiding the free taster stations). And it definitely makes me want to walk down the hall to talk to people at work rather than staying in my office and using IM.

I also noticed that Costco has a lot of Organic stuff... never paid attention before, but now that it makes a difference, I'll be checking it out.

Stay tuned!


Da Paulie said...

Costco organics == da bombe! Congrats on your move to the healthy side. I heard a good rule: only buy at the edges of the grocery store. The center tends to be filled with preservative-laced crap.

Organic Iron Chef, anyone? ;D

dani said...

I've heard the same perimeter rule. Doesn't mean I use it, but I've heard it.

I'm just not sure I can sacrifice the JIF.

mari said...

I love Puffins. Yummy!
Whole foods has some good organic peanut butter. Somewhat more Jif like.