Get Out In That Kitchen And Rattle Those Pots And Pans

Beloved is reading Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America’s Obesity Epidemic by Eric Oliver, and while I won’t go into the book’s findings (to whit: the “obesity epidemic” is completely manufactured by the government, drug manufacturers, the bariatric surgery industry – yes, it’s an entire industry –  and researchers desperate to keep their government funding), we’re both getting a bit tired of hearing that “restrictive” diets – i.e. low carb/primal/grain-free diets – are not sustainable.

Hogwash.  There are plenty of people who have sustained such diets for quite some time, and are healthy and happy.

As we are.  I was somewhat surprised to find when I sat down to Thanksgiving dinner that the dishes I’d so looked forward to – the cornbread dressing, roasted garlic cheddar mashed potatoes and homemade rolls – had lost a lot of their appeal (neither of us even touched the sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar and marshmallows, although the kids ate every last bit).  The things we enjoyed were the brussels sprouts, squash soufflé, homemade green bean casserole, and of course the turkey.   The things made primarily with sugar and refined carbohydrates – the dressing, potatoes, rolls, pie – not only didn’t taste that good, but came back to haunt us for hours afterwards (the absence of gas and heartburn have been a couple of the nicest things about our new way of eating).

We were talking about this on the way home from work yesterday, and during the discussion about those people we know of who have been able to stay on a “restrictive” diet for any amount of time, it occurred to me that the people who do successfully maintain such diets almost universally have one thing in common:

They cook.

I recently posted about how pissed I was that the nurse practitioner at my endocrinologist’s office completely ignored me when I explained my diet to her and handed me a list of processed, low-fat, fake foods to eat.  After I calmed down and steam stopped pouring from my ears, I had to acknowledge that for many people – people who start the day with a Triple Venti White Chocolate Mocha and giant muffin from Starbucks, grab lunch from the drive-through at McDonald’s or KFC, and eat out 4 or 5 nights a week at Chili’s or TGI Friday’s; people whose idea of cooking consists of throwing a family-sized frozen Swanson’s entree in the microwave while opening a can of corn and making a box of Stove Top stuffing – such a diet is probably a vast improvement.

The fact of the matter is that when you let someone else feed you, either at a restaurant or from a box or can at the grocery store, to a large extent you give up control of what you eat.  I’m not saying that you can never cave to convenience or eat out again – even we do from time to time – but there is really no substitute for cooking wholesome, fresh food in your own kitchen.  Food that you control.

That being said, Beloved pointed out during our discussion yesterday that cooking doesn’t come as easily and naturally to everyone as it does me and that not everyone enjoys it like I do – it’s just another chore.  Fair enough.  But I’m not saying that you have to do things like make your own onion rings and mushroom sauce for a green bean casserole at every meal – simple is often best.  Learn the basics; you never know, you may find you really enjoy it.  And if you don’t, well, you don’t go out and buy new clothes or dishes every time what you use gets dirty, do you?  Chores are a fact of life, and if cooking is one then it’s a chore you can perform knowing it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself or your family.

So get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans.  You might be surprised at what happens.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday

43 thoughts on “Get Out In That Kitchen And Rattle Those Pots And Pans”

  1. 1. I get ticked when I read about how poor people are fat because food is expensive. Eating out well is expensive. Cooking is not.

    2. We just spent ten days in Paris. The food there is wonderful and we ate very well, but I am so happy to be home where I can do my own cooking again. For supper last night, I had mustard greens, butternut squash, and kohlrabi-apple slaw. For lunch, we pulled out Thai basil chicken from the freezer from a huge batch I made last month. Oatmeal for breakfast. Sure, I love pain au chocolat (who doesn’t?) and frites and buttery scrambled eggs, but that’s vacation food. I want my fruit and veg.

    1. I agree with you that eating out well is expensive and cooking is not. But buttery scrambled eggs are not vacation food in our house – they’re an almost every day experience. And we’re glad of it.

      Now the chocolate-filled croissants? Dude. Keep ’em away. ‘Cause I. Love. Them.

  2. Yes! It happened to me – I cut out pretty much all processed foods and sugar and refined carbs recently in an effort to lose weight. And it is definitely working and I feel more energetic and my stomach is much flatter. Even with minimal weight loss, I went down a pant size! So at the doctor’s office, the nurse also tried to hand me a list of foods, many of which I had cut out, and told me I could not sustain eating this way. She told me I should be eating 100 – 120 MORE carbs a day than what I am. But I am already having about 8 -10 servings of fruits and veggies. She told me to add in bread, sugar and flour. Why? Why would I go back to eating in a way where I didn’t feel as well as I do now?

    1. Oh, I can so relate! And thanks – I think you’ve just given me the subject for next week’s Fight Back Friday. I’m so quoting you, too.

  3. I travel for business often and out of necessity frequently need to eat in restaurants all week long. I am VERY careful with what I eat when I travel and have enjoyed some damn fine, albeit not cheap, food. But I always come home a few pounds heavier than I left. Restaurants put sugar in EVERYTHING including things they shouldn’t. I am convinced they add it to the bacon and eggs on the Holiday Inn buffet. If I order a salad I want vegetables not sugar. If I ask for a burger I don’t want it laced with white powder. You would think by now that restaurants would have some clue about eaters like us. I have started to become that a*%hole at restaurants asking a million questions – it is amazing how few waiters know what they are selling. And as long as I am bitching about restaurants, when I ask for a burger without a bun I did NOT tell you to hold the tomato, lettuce and onions!

    1. Yeah, we’ve become a huge pain in the tookus to the waitstaff at restaurants, but hey – they can deal (for a 20% tip, you’d think they would, anyway).

      But dear – it certainly says something about how we eat that even with all your travel, you’ve still been able to lose 35 pounds and keep it off. Hasn’t it become so much easier to recover from eating out 3 meals a day once you’re home? There was a time the weight would just hang around. And around. And around. And bring friends.

  4. One of my best friends cut out all grains and dairy about 5 years ago. She is still able to eat well, and eat out. I think sometimes we forget that AMERICAN food is one of the few based so highly on carbs. She can eat a lot of international cuisine without any problems!

    Also, I think sometimes people with families find it hard to get a meal on the table after work, in time for the kids to eat. We’ve taken to eating “leftovers” every night. I cook a meal after the boys go to bed (usually around 8:00) this way I can enjoy the process, and not be interrupted, or ignore them, or worry about who is near the stove, or the knives or what not. Then I put it in the fridge and we eat it the next night. Is it ideal? No, but it gets the job done.

    1. Because of that very thing, we eat late most weeknights – I’m talking 8:30 or 9:00 some nights. So I think your solution is perfect, frankly.

  5. I am so on your band wagon with you…they need us people to eat that way because they will profit from it. If people ate in the way you are speaking, they would be not only healthier but happier and spending less money on all these special foods, drugs, therepy…ect…they need us sick, fat, unhappy and numb so that they can profit from us. I have been saying this for some time and now I am starting to hear it more. If people had half a clue to the affects of what they put into their bodies they would be horrified. People that speak the truth get poopawed and made to look like their some crazy extremist…more and more are waking up and seeing the truth. So yes, get into the kitchen and rattle those pans! Happy weekend! XX

    1. “If people ate in the way you are speaking, they would be not only healthier but happier and spending less money on all these special foods, drugs, therepy…ect…they need us sick, fat, unhappy and numb so that they can profit from us.”

      Lori, you just said a mouthful.

      Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food. ~ Hippocrates

  6. Pre-prednisone I felt GREAT with the way I was eating. My skin looked great, I had more energy. I cannot WAIT to get off this drug and get my life back. I’m like a round, rolling, bowling ball right now – or at least that’s how I feel!

    1. I know what you mean – after my tonsillectomy when I was reduced to eating bland, soft and REFINED carbohydrates, I felt like crap. I was soooo glad to be able to return to my regular diet.

  7. Yah, endos. I can’t get two of them to agree, much less worry about their views on diet. One told my wife that she needed to avoid fats and cheeses to ensure not getting diabetes. Sure. Have some more grains dear!
    You know what though? The problem with today is that WE HAVE NO CHOICE on a lot of things that we eat. Sure, we can cook everything ourselves, but it is coming to the point where we are gonna have to grab our guns and go hunting (actually, that might be a problem here in Canada with that nasty gun registry and all) for any good meat. Grow our own vegetables, etc. Interesting that with civilization and progress come disease…

    1. If S510 becomes a reality here in the States, I may very well dig up my entire back and side yards for a garden and get a hunting license. I don’t ever want to go back to eating the products of industrial farming. EVER.

  8. Damn, I haven’t been reading your blog for as long as many but it has gotten me fired up and inspired lately. Lovin’ it. Another great book to read for any interested is “Trick and Treat”. I had a post a while ago that was similar to this one. http://escapetheherdblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/thank-you-mom-and-mom-in-law.html

    i have been eating what some call a restrictive diet for 4 years and I feel great. I am lean and have only missed work once due to illness in the last 4 years. I eat paleo and I eat a lot. I am reading Food Politics right now and have learned a bit. The stupid “everything in moderation” philosophy stems from the fact that our government doesn’t have the balls to stand up and tell the food lobbiests that the food they sell is not healthy and we will not recommend it to our citizens. If I hear one more person tell me everything in moderation I am gonna go nuts.

    1. Ah – there’s nothing I like better than gettin’ people all fired up. I’ll try to keep it up on a weekly basis for Fight Back Friday, especially since you don’t seem to be behind Ye Olde Work Firewall on Fridays. 😛 I should have also linked to you in my examples of people who have maintained a “restrictive” diet for awhile – an oversight on my part.

      I remember that post of yours, and am going to do a post of my own on why a healthy diet isn’t any more expensive than the Standard American Diet – in fact, can be less expensive – in the next couple of weeks.

      1. no problem…i actually figured out a way around the firewall so i can post comments here. i feel you need public praise when you post something that makes so much sense.

  9. And fruits and vegetables provide carbs. I’m mystified by what your doctor’s staff told you. I haven’t eaten food that comes in boxes – in years. Whenever I read a recipe that says something like, add a jar of this or that sauce, I’m aghast.

    1. “And fruits and vegetables provide carbs.” Indeed they do, and it irritates me to no end that when I tell people I’ve cut grains out of my diet that they immediately say, “Oh, but you need carbohydrates!” For one, NO you do not if you eat the right kind of animal proteins and fats (Mark Sisson did an excellent post about “zero carb” diets being deficient because societies like the Inuit who lived solely on animals ate ALL of the animal, not just the muscle meat).

      I used to not have a problem with cooking with canned ingredients, and can still understand the desire to do so. My big problem is, and always has been, things like cake recipes that the first ingredient is a boxed cake mix. Jeez – just make a cake and add the other stuff to it!

  10. For me cooking is a chore. A chore that comes with ‘constructive criticism’ from the ELPH (“chickens a little dry”…am I NOT eating the same chicken??) Although I do enjoy cooking when he’s away on business. He also makes it extremely difficult to change MY diet as he is all about the carbs, processed foods and refined sugars. It’s a constant battle for me to not eat the crap he buys. A battle I will continue to wage:)

    1. I’ll be the first person to admit that before Beloved jumped on the bandwagon with me that it was not unheard of for me to make two different meals – one for me and one for them. While I understand that’s not always practical, especially if there’s only two of you and you really don’t enjoy it anyway, you could always refuse to by crap when you shop – if he wants to eat it, let him buy it. You certainly can’t stop him.

    1. Yvette, I would pass on it. I am looking forward to Gary Taubes new book, “Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It”, due out Dec 28th. Eric Oliver just doesn’t quite put it all together. It IS an interesting book, but if you aren’t already familiar with the issues it can be misleading. He hits all the issues but draws a lot of shallow conclusions. The book is also poorly edited.

    1. Speaking which – I know that, like chili, there is no one true recipe for gumbo. What goes in an Irish Gumbo?

    1. SMB – you should. They’re a bit of work, especially the onions, but the dish will just blow your sock off.

  11. You and I may have different diets but in some ways they are the same; they both take work in the form of actually cooking; they both take diligence in choosing restaurants/menus that work for us, and they both get ridiculed by health professionals. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. I never (and I know that is a strong but but apt in this case) get sick, I don’t have stomach problems, (though I complain) I not overweight, and I don’t spend a boatload of money on groceries.

    What gets me is that parents are not teaching their children to cook. 4 years ago I taught my daughter-in-law to cook and now I’m teaching The Boy’s girlfriend to cook. I taught my boys to cook when they were in junior high, what is up with these parents?

    1. I was just thinking the other day that even though our diets are pretty much polar opposites, you probably understand better than just about anyone I know how I feel about it.

  12. I wish I could remember the name of the book I saw on Oprah several months ago in which the author was saying “Don’t eat anything or buy anything from the grocery that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize” as this is essentially the same thing you’re saying Jan. And i agee. If we could just stay away from the processed foods as much as possible, we’d all be healthier and lighter. So, while I’m not a born cook like you are my dear, I’m rattling the old pots and pans in my kitchen quite a bit more these days.

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