It’s natural for us to be less than honest with ourselves about where we’re cheating on our nutritional plans. We workout and have the best of intentions for our daily menus, but we end up falling short of our goals for a balanced nutrition for various reasons. Some of the most common pitfalls can be avoided simply by being aware of them.
Food has long been a celebration of culture and happiness, and is a big part of everyone’s life. The problem occurs when the enjoyment of food turns into overindulgence and doesn’t leave you feeling good about yourself or what you ate.
Even if you’ve eaten well during the week by packing your lunches and cooking dinner at home, social situations arise where your control is put to the test. Not that a treat is bad – in fact, it’s important to indulge, but it has to be when you’re in control and feeling good about the decision.
With butter and animal fats off limits, vegan diets primarily rely on oils for baking and cooking. Vegetable oils, such as canola, are ubiquitous among commercially prepared vegan foods. You probably wouldn’t have guessed that a majority of these oils (unless labeled organic or cold-pressed) are refined — for a variety of reasons, including shelf life and cost.
Many people have a complete lack of structure to their daily meals – they actually never stop nibbling all day long. From bits of bagels and a bite of donut in the morning all the way through to chips in front of the TV for late-night channel surfing. Grazers have absolutely no set meal times, and end up shutting down their body’s natural calorie-burning cycle through the constant onslaught of fat and calories.
The fact is, most situations pose the potential to overeat — almost every activity and celebration involves a heaping pile of glorious food. Watching TV, attending a party, and even simply spending time with friends are often centered on food.
Keeping a food journal is the best way I know to determine whether you have unconscious-eating tendencies. One of my Drop a Dress Size challengers confessed that while keeping her journal, she would catch herself working at her desk and suddenly realize that she needed to jot down the cookie she’d just eaten at a coworker’s desk. Of course, avoid the bad stuff. Instead of vending-machine junk and food with low nutritional value, pack healthy snacks for nibbling. And make time for balanced meals that will satisfy your appetite so you won’t be reaching for whatever’s near.
When buying or ordering foods with corn, soybean or canola — or any of their derivatives — try to purchase “organic”. Better yet, cook your own food as much as you can and stay away from vegan packaged or boxed foods — products that usually require longer shelf lives or preservatives!
Choose “unsweetened” nut and rice milks, as well as vegan treats with as much unrefined sweeteners as you can. Don’t be shy to ask what sweeteners were used in your vegan cupcakes and cookies and look for more unrefined ingredients such as molasses, maple syrup, date sugar, brown rice syrup and rapadura.