Thursday, 12 March 2009

Butter me Up, Baby!

What a way to start the day! Oatmeal that gives you a big smile first thing!

I was looking at the list of "fear foods" that Sam and I compiled over the weekend, and realised what all the foods had in common- NOT the calorie or fat content, but the fact that I enjoy them. I don't trust myself around the foods I really like because I have this intense fear that once I start eating them, I won't be able to stop. I should point out that I have no evidence whatsoever to support this belief, but there is this very real fear that I won't be able to control myself if I give myself unconditional permission to eat these foods.

And so I stick to the same old things, occasionally trying something new (different flavour, different combination, different brand) but for the most part, rarely branch out from the things I trust myself to eat in a controlled way.

There is also something to be said for the level of guilt I have when I DO enjoy what I have eaten. I have come a long way in managing to eat beyond the minimal amounts I ate during my lowest points, but I still struggle with the idea that food is more than just a life-sustaining substance. That it can and should be enjoyed. That it's okay to want things- let alone, need things. I go back and forth in my head about whether or not I really NEED something and it's virtually impossible for me to even contemplate wants without any valid reasoning behind it.

I can justify eating my "safe" foods because for the most part, they fulfill a certain criteria- either a decent whack of protein or fibre, a hefty dose of vitamins or minerals. It's hard to eat something with a lower nutritional value purely because it tastes better. I'll pay double the price for a yogurt that I hate, just because it has 5 calories less and 3g more of protein than the one I really want.

It's absurd and although a lot of the time it makes eating easier (less anxiety/more predictable), it's not how I want to live my life.

From social occasions to every day life, food IS essential for survival, but it's more than that. It's a way to let your body know that you respect it, that you deserve to be healthy and nourished through both all the chemical reactions that take place when you digest food to your taste buds. Food is more than just fuel. I have accepted the fact that NOT eating is not an option. Now I want to learn how to enjoy food and see it as a source of fuel, energy, LIFE- but also pleasure.

So that's a goal to keep in mind.

Anyway, back to the list Sam and I made. A couple of days ago, we took on the "liquid calorie" challenge. Today was BUTTER.

I think it's a pretty British thing- if you order a turkey sandwich here, it's pretty much guaranteed to come with butter as opposed to the US where mayonnaise is standard. In hospital, toast was always served with butter (in the US, we had peanut butter, cream cheese or butter). Even burgers are served with butter instead of mayonnaise half the time! It's something I have never really eaten- growing up with a mom on a never-ending diet, it was never on our sandwiches at home and I guess I always saw it as somewhat unnecessary. But I have to admit, I DO like it. Not in huge quantities, certainly not on peanut butter sandwiches (which yes- is pretty common here!) but on toast with honey? Or on a turkey sandwich? Hell yes.

So today was the day Sam and I did our butter challenge together...

I think malt loaf is a British thing too? I never saw it in the US. It's kind of a cross between raisin bread and fruit cake. And yes, it's good with butter! I have never bought a tub of butter in my life (!) and didn't want to go there today, but this met challenge criteria.

It was REALLY good! The malt loaf is dense and chewy, and I microwaved it to melt the butter in...mmmm... Great snack. Do i feel guilty? Kind of. My brain is tied up in knots trying to figure out what the purpose was of eating it. Being my schedule "snack time" isn't cutting it- so am going to hold onto my earlier ramblings about food that tastes good is also okay to eat. Not every snack has to have 50000g of protein or 800g fibre (owch- that one might hurt :P ). Taste is now coming into the decision making process when I choose my foods and this tastes awesome. So a good enough reason, right? (uh...little reassurance here?)

What are some of your favourite tasting foods/meals? (BONUS POINTS if it's something I can manage to cook without burning my apartment down/giving myself food poisoning!)


Cacti Don't Cry said...

It is so awesome that you're tackling this list -- even though it's terrifying!! (For the record, I've never heard of malt loaf...)

I think the same way about foods I might enjoy... being surrounded by things I genuinely don't like doesn't faze me, but if it's something I do or did once like, I'm always worried I'll eat it ALL myself. Though, like you say, that's never actually happened.

Anyway. Thanks for the inspiring post!! :)

ElleMigliore said...

I love reading your posts!! I want to get on the Food Fear challenge with you and Sam!! I added 2 teaspoons of earth balance spread to tofu noodles last night, which was a first for me as well (since before the ED). I totally agree with the taste factor that you talked about and the fact that we are so worried about overindulging in foods we enjoy! I have that problem with frozen yogurt so i figure, i need to just not get it.

My favorite foods that i'm still scared of include: quesadillas with a little sour cream, sushi, grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes.. yeah, i guess that's most of em.

Have a great day!!!

Lexi said...

Such a cute breakfast! and that malt loaf looks great! Good job trying something new! I'm glad it was good.
Stay positive--

Anonymous said...

I am the same about eating things for their nutritional value rather than their taste too, things that I enjoy scare me. That's probably a very good reason to eat them - they might not be 'healthy' but challenging myself to eat them has huge psychological health benefits! My favourite lunch is a homemade gluten free tortilla with marinated butter beans and a boiled egg. Other than the egg it's not particularly nutritious, it's all refined flour and oil from the beans, but it tastes so good! You've inspired me to have a go at making one next week :)

Danielle said...

Butter on PB&J!? Wow that's interesting!
I'm glad you tried and enjoyed the bread with butter. I've always had low fat butters growing up and continued that trend in my apartment, then I realized I don't even like that stuff and much more prefer the real thing, last night I went out and bought a tub of whipped butter. I'm actually a little terrified to eat it but thanks to your inspiration maybe I will!

Pammy said...

im so proud of you for having butter. A lot of the foods I am afraid of are ones that I enjoy too. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I have tried malt loaf before and loved it. My Aunt used to make it aswell.

Just butter on toast is a must for me. Love it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Ellie!
Butter does make everything taste better. I enjoyed my butter this morning. And I also noticed it kept me feeling fuller for longer.
Oddly enough, my mom used to put margerine on our ham sandwich...
I have never heard of Malt Loaf, but it looks good, it reminds me of like a sweet bread.
One of my favorite tasting itmes is a pita pizza with falaffel from a restaurant called Aladdin's--a small chain Middle Eastern restaurant with places in Ohio, DC, and PA.
Taste should mean something! And we should enjoy what we eat. We deserve it. Food is so much more than just nourishment.

Stef said...

Cute oatmeal! Food should definitely be pleasurable..and it will be for all of us one day soon! Butter on PB sammies? Strange! WHen/where did you live in the US? Why'd you move to England?

Nutritious is Delicious said...

Im glad you are taking on challenges one day at a time! That's awesome! Oh man! I have so much I like to cook! This week I will have a kitchen too, so I will be going at it! !:D

Pammy said...

I wanted to thank you so much for your comment on my video post. I am really glad to hear that you know the sense of freedom I am talking about. We just have to remember that time and keep fighting to get back there. I know we can both do it!

Elle said...

I love the smiley oats - such a happy breakfast!! One of my favorite fear foods is lemon poppyseed bread, fresh out of the oven with a schmear of butter on it. I haven't had it in so long (mainly because it's something my mom bakes and each time I've tried to recreate it, it just doesn't measure up).

Cheese is something I grew up loving but completely cut it out of my diet once I started restricting; I've readded cottage cheese but I'm still scared of sliced/hard cheese. I think I'm going to try to take on the whole "cheese on a sandwich" issues with a homemade vegetarian reuben sometime over break.

Have a great night, and keep on tearing through that list!

aussirish said...

hi hun
im so so so proud of you for all the progress your making lately, lots of realizations and challenging your fears :)
way to go with the butter!
have a great afternoon

Anonymous said...

I love the oats, just looking at them makes me smile!

Burp and Slurp~! said...

wow! this is an awesome idea of food fear challenge! great job on challengin yourself with butter! that is a major fear food for me!
my favorite foods? too much! but so far I really enjoyed the carbonara, monte cristo, black bean/pumpkin pancakes...arugh, too much!but I mostly love breakfasty-themed foods... you can check out my blog for some ideas.

Sheena said...

It's so great that you are re-introducing yourself to fear foods -- things that you LOVE to eat! Yes, it is important to remember that food is fuel, but food should be enjoyment. Hence the reason so many parties and social gatherings center around food!

For me, foods I LOVE to eat are peanut butter, ice cream, Girl Scout Cookies, cheesecake, fried calamari, honey, oreos and milk!!! And those are all things I am too afraid to eat :(

Hopefully with time I can get back to them. I am so proud of you and Sam! Keep up the good work. And take care!