Thursday, October 15, 2015

What a Nutritionist (Me) Ate in a Day

A few days ago an article started popping up repeatedly on my Facebook feed.  It's from the Australian Business Insider, and involves Dietitian and author Ruth Frechman bravely sharing her daily eats in an article titled "A Nutritionist Shares Pictures of Everything She Eats in a Day".

My first reaction to Ruth's example day was a predictable knee-jerk: No greens! Hydrating with hot chocolate?!  Chewing gum in the afternoon then curing her 'hunger and tiredness' (because.. undereating?) with M&M's? Measuring out her spongy carbs popcorn so she doesn't 'eat too much' ?! What?? Is this satire? Does she even nutrition??

Naturally, I proceeded to stalk her Facebook page and Amazon reviews and slowly climbed off my grass fed high horse. For sure, her approach is not like mine, but she's doing her thing, and she's been doing it for 20 years. Her book, 'Food is Your Friend' is co-authored by a comedian called Jackie Fabulous and is about losing weight and eating a more healthy diet than you were while maintaining friendly contact with your favourite food friends. It's about chilling out about food and yourself and I can see how that might work for some. In fact, now that I'm being less judgey, it's what worked for me way back when I had heaps of weight to lose, was riddled with food issues and wasn't in the headspace to stick to a wholefoods plan, or any plan that felt like a diet. It was a good transition point from which to learn the skills I needed to eat the way I do now.

Product placement aside, and ignoring for a moment my feelings about a lunch that leaves you hungry two hours later, I think the Business Insider article is an imperfect but authentic day's eating by one Nutritionist. Here's another. Please feel free to critique my style and substance. Try not to use the work 'oink'.


My habitual breakfast these days is some sort of porridge. I get up around 7.30 and start it cooking while I throw on some clothes and check my schedule. 

Today I had buckwheat porridge (half a cup dry weight) and while it was cooking I added some frozen berries. Once it was done, I added a large chopped banana, stirred through 2 tsp of ground flaxseed and poured a little maple syrup over the top. The milk is cashew that I made in the nutri ninja yesterday. That was eaten while catching up on essential Facebook happenings, checking email and getting sorted for the day.

Then I grabbed a cup of green tea and headed to my 'standing desk' home office to do uni work. I tend to top up my green tea all day, so that it gets weaker and by 5pm is basically warm water.

At about 11.45 I was getting a little hungry, plus I wanted to be at the office by 12.30, so had an early lunch.

Those are black bean burgers, left over from dinner last night, and they are huge but, I admit, not very picturesque.  The salad has a cashew dressing but you can't see it because I tipped it out of the storage container and so the dressing is mostly on the bottom.  

So, we have the burgers (these are plant-based/no animal products), salad with spinach, carrot, beet, almonds, cashews.. there's sauerkraut, horopito chutney and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

I also had a shot of water kefir to check the fermentation progress of this batch. I've been off coffee for nearly 10 weeks, so it's nice to hold an espresso cup.

Then I headed in to the office and got busy on some supplement design work. At about 3pm I felt snacky and ate what happened to be in my apple, a couple of medjool dates and some dark chocolate. 

I have to say, when living a low-caff lifestyle that Green and Blacks 85% gives quite the kick. In the interests of science I logged everything in Cronometer today and to this point, I'm at about 1300 calories. Once upon a time, that was my calorie goal for the whole day. No wonder I had difficulty meeting it! One of the best things I did when recovering from binge eating was set a goal to have eaten at least 1000 calories once lunch was over, even though doing so scared me to death every day. It makes a huge difference to my mental state and hunger levels in the afternoon. 

I always eat a mid-afternoon snack, but almost never snack in the morning. Dinner for me is usually 7.30-8.00 pm or sometimes later, so a midway munch stops the crankies and the urge to raid the fridge if dinner is taking too long to cook. My snack is not usually as sugary as today, but sometimes it is, so let's just keep it real.

At around 4, I headed home and busted out a very short (~15 mins) core workout in my work clothes, then headed over to my mum's for a family dinner - my sister is visiting from Europe.

Here's where the one day example falls over.  That meal (beef stew on pasta with kumara, salad and wine, two glasses actually) contains three things that I hardly ever eat. Red meat - which I've eaten about three times in the last year, pasta - an 'almost never' food, and wine, which is a very rare thing these days.

I was tempted to fake this meal out with a picture from another day, but I knew that I couldn't keep a secret that big. One day I'd blurt out the truth and lose all my credibility.

The whole day came to about 2200 calories. 80g protein, 300g carbs, heaps of fibre, and due to the kumara, about 1500% the RDI for vitamin A. I didn't meet my targets for calcium, vitamin D and a couple of the B vitamins on this particular day, and that's why you need to take a broader view over a week or a month in order to get the full picture for nutrient intake.  

I'm keen to see some more 'What I Ate Today' posts. If you've done one, please link it up in the comments, or on Facebook and I'll add it to this post. Inspire me! And, what do you think about Ruth Frechman's day? A terrible example, or a fair call if you're just not ready to say ta-ta to the M&M's?

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