It is great to be raised in the Mediterranean region and yet sometimes it is not good completely either. I don’t think there is any other kitchen in the world that serves so many varieties of veggies and legumes. I feel really lucky in this sense. Western part of Turkey is source of good quality olive. Therefore, olive oil is staple of our cuisine. Surrounded by Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea, we have great fish which you don’t have to season or marinate cooking to taste. You grill and they are just delicious.
On the other hand, we consume lots of carbs. Besides our healthy breakfasts, our pastries, boreks, bakery items are so amazingly delicious but not so good for the body.
The main reason why I was able to keep eating healthy is because I live in the US now. I don’t have a lot of bad foods that temp me when I am out there shopping or eating out. There is no proper bakery, there is no tasty junk food, there is only fast food stores. Seriously, I don’t like majority of the foods served in fast food restaurants and in grocery aisles, even when I am not thinking about healthy eating.
The threat for me was back in Turkey. I overcame that in my head. My mother now understands me and does not bother me at all when I visit. I don’t eat less. I don’t limit myself. I just make healthy choices. My mother might have made rice with butter, I am happy with my salad and veggies. As long as I do have a healthy alternative, everything is fine.
Despite the fact that i annoy everyone in my household, I am obsessed with the sugar, sodium and fat content of packaged goods. I believe sugar is the worst thing for your health, besides sitting, like I mentioned yesterday. I have concerns about sugar intake not just for my self but also for my children.
When you think it is okay to consume 5 grams of sugar here and 15 grams there, you end up consuming 50 grams of extra added sugar in a day. Considering one cube of sugar is only 4 grams then you are consuming 12 sugar cubes per day by eating crackers, cereal, granola bars, fruit yogurts, cookies, etc even though they might be labeled “healthy”.
When I started paying attention, I could not believe what I saw. You can compare the sugar content of fat free milk vs regular milk. Fat free milk is sweeter, obviously with added sugar to compensate the bland taste without the fat content. Here in the United States, doctors recommend fat free milk for kids 3 and older. What does it mean when it is fat free but with higher levels of sugar? I patrol like a police to monitor sugar and salt consumption in our home.
When you are talking about healthy eating and how you want to make sure your children consume healthy stuff, there are those who will argue with you. God save us from those people. They won’t care if you feed them junk or soda but God forbid if you offer healthy food or say no for candies or junk, they’ll go all kinds of crazy. Do not even bother reasoning with these types of people within the limits of the logic, stay away from them as arguing would be pointless and draining. Thank God I don’t have so many people around me like those, though I do hear lots of stories on this speaking on behalf of my readers, especially those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Please read this article titled Is Sugar Toxic? and watch the video The bitter truth . Diabetes, obesity, thyroid and some other immune system problems are all related to added sugar and sodium in the processed foods we consume. So let’s keep on policing for our children’s future.
In terms of my endeavors to eat healthy, I feel lucky because:
- I don’t like coffee, black tea, sodas, chips, nachos.
- I don’t buy junk foods.
- I can live easily without bread, pastas and rice.
- I love all veggies and love salads.
However, I struggle to stay on track in these areas:
- Even though I am doing better in consuming chocolate, I still am not free from it. I try to monitor the sugar intake in our home, my inability to fight the temptation for chocolate conflicts with my policing activities.
Today, I have healthy diet including good amount fruits and vegetables, no grain based carbs which raise blood sugar levels, little poultry and fish, no red meats. I drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I eat natural dried fruits (w/o sulfur) and nuts. I eat three big meals. I don’t eat anything after 8 pm. I drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day and a bottle of sparking water.
I know there are lots of tempting options around us. Take the word “diet” out of your language. When you say “We are eating healthy”, everyone, you, your family, people around you will change accordingly.