Monday, February 27, 2012

getting ahead of myself

I've been so excited about how much better I've been feeling in recent months. Sometimes I go days without a reminder. Sometimes I just forget how stupidly sensitive my body can be. Sometimes, but never for long.

I really never think I "cheat", though maybe I do. It's a very thin line I have to walk, and I don't always do such a good job of it. While my diet is spot on 100% what many would call Paleo, it's not always perfect for me.

My herbalist of years ago used to tell me I was lucky that, like her, I couldn't cheat. That is not without paying an immediate and sometimes unacceptable price. Funny thing is though, and I know many of you also know this too well, we can get used to pain, get used to illness, get used to weakness and lack of energy, even get used to owning three sizes of clothes because we never know just which size will fit from day to day. That used to be my life. For years that was my life, and I'd often think of Nanette's words, "We can't cheat." I'd think of those words and wonder why I did it anyway.

All that changed in the last couple of years. I started eating better, started feeling better, started moving (though still only a little), started to enjoy my life a lot more. So much so, I guess, that occasionally I forget. The last few days have been like that, and as I write, I am lying in bed, in pain, with chills and a waist size 6" larger than it was this morning. And as I write, I can honestly say my diet has been and continues to be 100% Paleo. It's just that I can't handle a food just because it fits that criteria and I darned well know it.

I almost never eat sweets. Sugar demons are not my issue. Still, over the weekend I made a small, very small, batch of almond flour cookie dough. I'm talking less than a cup total. It had a bit of coconut oil, a bit of vanilla, and a dab of palm sugar and stevia with a few chocolate chips(the theoretically safe kind). I didn't eat it all. It was rich and filling after just a few bites. But it still made me queasy and threw my body for a loop. The next day I was longingly eyeing (though never considering buying) pastries and cookies and bagels and croissants. I wanted French fries. I made chili, actually a cool-sounding and tasty chocolate chili from Well Fed. It's not overly spicy; it's even Whole30 approved. Only it isn't whole-pamela compliant, I'm afraid. Let me be realy, really clear about this: there is nothing wrong with that chili. I am just not ready for it yet. I think I will be at some point. I even think I'll be able to eat and enjoy spicy curries and chile verde again. I'm just not there yet, much as I wish I were.

In two days, I'm starting another Whole30. Yay! I'm ready for a miracle or at least a little patience.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

getting ready for the whole30, part five

Looking at my series of posts, you'd think this is a daunting process, requiring all sorts of advance work. It is not. I just prefer shorter posts. The Whole30 is about as uncomplicated as you can get. Seriously.

And while we're talking complicated, what about living in a house with others---spouse, children, partner, parents, roommates---who are not up for a Whole30 right now? That's a bit of a complication, especially if you're the one cooking for everyone. It's a complication, but it's certainly not an insurmountable one. I live this way, and I think we're doing pretty well. When asked how to handle  people with special requests on one of his cooking shows, Bobby Flay used to say, "You're cooking it; they're eating it." I have always loved that line. Let me be perfectly clear here; this is not in reference to foods that could cause illness or discomfort. It is not in reference to allergies, other medical issues, or moral conviction. I would no more serve GK a pork chop than a fried clothes line.

No, we're talking here about the little stuff, the stuff we can manipulate in ways that do no harm and make everyone happy much of the time. In our house, I eat what most would consider a Paleo diet virtually 100% of the time. My diet is not Whole30 compliant all of the time, though it would probably register about a 95% without trying. I've mentioned we have an I cook, he cleans arrangement. The "he" in this case, GK, does not profess to follow Paleo guidelines and would eat a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, if he were choosing every dish. His foods of choice, if I were to ask, are likely to be beans, potatoes, more beans, cheese, more beans, and oatmeal. My diet is decidedly not vegetarian. And though meat does not comprise a huge percentage of the foods I eat, sometimes it seems like it does just because it's there. Like so many things in living with others, finding the overlap, the middle circles of the Venn diagram, the place where what I like and what he likes come together, has made all of this so very simple.

When I'm cooking, I don't ask if he'd like beans or pasta or bread or cheese sauce---ever. The only dairy products we keep in the house are heavy cream for his coffee and frozen, pastured butter that neither of us eats. No cheese, no sour cream, no ice cream. What I do when I'm cooking, usually, is make dishes that are just as good with a little meat as they are with a lot. I'm cooking; he's eating. I do cook foods he enjoys. I cook foods I enjoy. Most of the time those foods are the same. Not always. We stock up on the foods, vegetables, fruits, and meats that we both like.

There's some room, too, for different meals. I might serve him a larger quantity of vegetables without meat as a main course while I have them as a side dish. Occasionally, I'll buy humanely raised, uncured bacon. I would never serve that to him. And occasionally, he'll drop a loaf of Ezekiel bread in our shopping cart. He keeps this in the freezer and eats some, though not very often given how long it stays in the freezer, when I'm at work. I like to cook eggs in bacon fat, sometimes, and I do that for myself. I never, ever cook his in it. I don't even use the same pan. It's a courtesy and it's easy.

With children, it's just a little different. Still, you're cooking it; they're eating it. Most of the foods we'd be asking them to forgo by following a Paleo program are not really foods at all. One decided advantage of leaving boxed cereals, crackers, bread, lunch meats, peanut butter, and canned foods on the store shelves is their relative high cost when compared to unprocessed, whole foods. Still, start with the familiar foods that will either fit with the Whole30 or be easy to serve with just a slight variation. Though you may not prefer to steam a few cups of rice while the rest of dinner is cooking, it does not take a lot of energy or warrant a lot of expense. I'm sure Paleo Parents would have many more ideas than I in this regard. Check here and consider getting Eat Like a Dinosaur when it comes out later in March.

One rather interesting development in our household is a shift I've noticed taking place. GK has stopped eating bread when he goes to lunch with his friends. He says no to potatoes---even French fries. And he's complaining less about meat and fat. I still don't think he's ready for a Whole30, but that's his choice.

getting ready, part four

Before we can get all creative with our new food, we need to create some space for it. The best way I know to do that is to clear out the foods we won't be eating in the next 30 days.

A good starting place is the refrigerator. Some of us (I'm thinking about myself here) tend to let open jars and bottles accumulate on shelves in the fridge. I am so used to them at times, I don't even see them. Best practice is to pull all of these out and then one by one decide what goes back. Throw away without regret anything that's old or immediately questionable. Next look at each label, carefully. You don't want anything in there with sugar or its counterparts, ingredients you can't easily pronounce, dairy, grains, or anything that doesn't sound like food. You'll be the judge of what you keep. If it's a product you'll want after your 30 days, put it on a low or back shelf, preferably in a box, so you won't accidentally grab it in the next month.

For the freezer, you'll use the same method, pretty much. If you have frozen dinners or entrees, they really need to go. Give them away if you can. When you're tired or stressed, it's too tempting to grab something familiar just because it's there. And you'll want that space for the good stuff, anyway. Look at anything that has a label with suspicion. It may be fine, but you'll want to be sure. Be ruthless.

In the pantry or kitchen cabinets, remove cans, boxes, and jars. Apply the same criteria you used in the refrigerator. Either put foods you won't be using this month in a box for later or give them away. Be thorough here and you'll be glad later. Read every label or decide to remove anything with a label. I have so much less food in my pantry now, and I have spent most of my life stocking and organizing shelves, feeling good about having lots of cans and boxes and bottles and jars. It's amazingly freeing.

The thing about all of this, too, is that you don't have to do it all at once. A few minutes here and there are perfect. Too much at once is overwhelming sometimes. When you finish, though, you should be looking at shelves that will support you, not tempt you. Let me rephrase that. Any temptations will now be healthy temptations. We want nothing less than every bit of food we serve and every bite we take to be sheer temptation.

Other people living in the house who aren't doing the Whole30? We'll talk about that next time. In my experience, it's a lot easier than it sounds.

Friday, February 24, 2012

getting ready, part three

So now we've got our favorite frozen veggies, a few cans of tuna or salmon or whatever sounds good (and is safe), some aromatics that keep well on the counter, and a few of our favorite seasonings. Bottom line to make this easy and do-able is that you need your favorite everything. Favorite everything Whole30 compliant, of course.

I'm totally serious about this. This simple little adjective, favorite, changes everything. You can do the Whole30 and get great results without it. You can force-feed yourself cabbage even if you hate it. You'll get the results. It will not be fun. It will not be easy. If you like chicken thighs, do not buy chicken breasts. If you don't like the skin, don't eat it. If you don't love steak, skip it. There are so very many choices in meats and vegetables, that there is just no good reason to choose the ones that make you sigh with apathy. If money is an issue (when isn't it?), still go with what you love. Buy less. Buy chicken instead of lamb if need be. Every meal need not be lobster to be a treat. If you love it, it's a treat.

An important, extremely important in my opinion, distinction here is that stuffing yourself with high-end protein is not the point of this program. You'll eat way more vegetables than meat if you're following their directions. That is why your choice of vegetables really is critical. Some days I could eat three artichokes a meal and be happy. Other days the idea of an artichoke makes me yawn. I try never to eat boring and encourage you to do the same. That does not mean expensive. If you're buying in season, you're already ahead in the price game. If you buy produce you don't love, you are much less likely to actually eat it. That simply doesn't work, though your compost pile may thank you.

So, call it a cop-out if you will, but I will not give you a shopping list of veggies to buy. I don't know what you love. I will buy leaf lettuce, red butter is my favorite, broccoli, cauliflower, baby spinach, tomatoes (even though they're out of season), scallions, carrots, celery, and parsley. That's not overly exciting; it's just what I love this week. Buy what you love. Whatever you do, though, don't bring home 50 pounds of produce with no place for it to go. If you can shop every few days (I can't,) that's great.

Storage and prep ideas, as well as cleaning out the old stuff, coming up soon.

getting ready, part two

The two things I focus on when preparing for a Whole30 are (1) getting the foods I need and (2) getting rid of those I won't. That sounds simple enough, right?

Let's start with getting the foods we'll need. It's much more fun than step 2. I'm guessing most of us have started diets or detoxes or training programs and discovered we don't have the raw materials on hand. No amount of good intention is going to make up for a refrigerator devoid of vegetables when you need to fill your plate with them.

For me, protein was the easiest thing to have on hand. You can freeze meat and poultry for one thing. Cans of tuna and salmon and sardines stack easily in the pantry. Eggs will last weeks in the fridge. But fresh vegetables? Not so easy. And not so forgiving.

A few days (or hours if you plan like I do) before you start, head to the store to stock up on frozen (we'll get to fresh soon) veggies like broccoli, spinach, squash, green beans---whatever you like. If you don't pretty much love them, don't buy them. This is critical. Also buy several onions, whole heads of garlic, half a dozen sweet potatoes, a jar of coconut oil and one of olive oil, and a few of your favorite spices and herbs unless you're fully stocked already. If you can handle dairy, get a stick or two of pastured butter to clarify. I, personally, would skip this one. It's pricey and a bit of effort, but a lot of people love it. This is your getting ready to get ready shopping trip. I know, at this point we're all seeing dollar signs, so may I mention briefly the things you will NOT be buying this month? We're skipping prepared foods, breads, cheese, milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, potato chips, and pricey "gluten-free" foods. If this plan is starting to sound expensive, I challenge you to start adding up those products we're skipping. I cringe at the thought, myself.

During this first round of your shopping, you could also pick up canned protein that you love. This is dangerous territory. You have to read these labels like your life depended on it. Oh yeah, it does. Why anyone would put gluten or sugar in canned fish is beyond me, but they do. They also add some yucky oils and seasonings sometimes, too. Just read your labels. Yes, fresh, perfectly raised meat and fish may be a better choice, but you need a safety net. In your pantry. Just in case. Grab a few dozen eggs while you're at it, if you can.

One of the hardest things for me to follow, initially, was their suggestion that sticking with organic, grass-fed, perfectly raised, local, etc. not get in the way at this point. While you won't find Whole9 suggesting grocery store, factory farmed pork (quite the opposite, in fact), they say for now, for the most part, it's your food choices that matter. Eat the chicken breast or thigh, not the frozen "chicken dinner." Don't worry about organic, necessarily. Don't worry about grass-fed, necessarily. These words are hard for me to write, but this latitude makes these 30 days much more approachable.

Next post, we'll talk fresh stuff.

getting ready for a whole30, the easy way

First, may I say I'm starting a Whole30 on March 1 and invite you each to join me in this?

This approach to simple, healthy, and ultimately tasty eating is the best I've encountered, and believe me, I've tried lots. This is not the only approach; it's just that it's my favorite, so I'm sticking with it for awhile. This will be my second Whole30, and while I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject, I have found a few tricks (for lack of a cooler word) and tips for focusing on the good stuff and abandoning any sense of deprivation. I'd also like to share some money-saving ideas.

I don't know about every one of you, but I'd venture a guess that you are no more fond of spending more and more and more while you work toward your health and fitness goals than I am. The Whole30 and the information you need to complete it are completely free of charge. (If you'd like lots more detailed information, check here.) Yes, there's a Success Guide that you can purchase, and no, it is not needed to get results you will love. The whole cost thing can be scary, and protein, fresh vegetables and fruits, and healthy oils can be a bit pricier...unless you spend a little time in the kitchen. And I do mean a little; you won't have to live there unless you choose. What I have noticed is that when our purchases of processed foods and ready-to-eat meals decreased, so did our overall spending. I'm not suggesting any of you are buying junk food, though I have certainly been known to do that myself at times. Some foods that do not really do much for our bodies have somehow made it into the indispensable category for many of us. If you're not buying cheese or ice cream, frozen entrees, or jars and bottles of sauces and spreads for awhile, there's a lot cash freed up. I'm not even addressing cookies and chips. If you've been adding gluten-free or Paleo "treats" to your shopping cart, your savings will be even greater.

You won't be needing sugar or other sweeteners, processed foods, grains, beans, potatoes, juices, sodas, or liquor. If leaving some of these items behind sounds scary, remember this is the Whole30, not the Whole365, as its creators, Dallas and Melissa, often point out. You can do this for 30 days. We can do this for 30 days.

Now for the fun and easy part. We'll be eating meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, piles of fresh vegetables, some fruit, and healthy fats like nuts, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, and tallow. The food is good, really good, because it is comprised of your favorite things from this list. There's no reason in the world to add something you don't love. Okay, very few reasons and none really compelling. Still, don't like fish? Don't eat it. Like beef but not pork? You choose. And the very best part is there is also no significant reason to be hungry. Good fats are healthy and filling, and if you've ever done a low-fat diet, you know first-hand how hard it is to get really full on low-fat stuff. Goodbye, deprivation.

Next post will cover in detail some of my suggestions for making this as easy on yourself as possible. And, yes, it will be in plenty of time to get ready to start this with us on March 1.

Friday, February 17, 2012

birthdays are fun, getting older? hmm...

About this time every year, I really start thinking about my age and about my mortality. Not so much in gruesome terms, more like a startling afterthought, as in oh! forgot that for a moment. As much as I think, talk, and write about health and diet issues, I often forget that we are all transients on earth.

Obviously from my morose verbiage, I'm guessing one can tell my birthday is coming up, February 20th to be precise. I love birthdays---I think. It could be more like how I love giving parties and celebrating holidays. It's mostly the idea I like. The actuality, not so much. I love looking forward to birthdays, for sure. I love giving myself permission for little indulgences that I might forgo other times of the year. Yesterday for instance, I spent half the day at a spa after having breakfast with my daughter, Kristen, and followed all that with pampering from my hairdresser, Michelle. This whole day thing was a first for me.

Yes, the little indulgences part of birthdays is not the rub. The getting older part? It can't be all bad. It has it's good points. Compared to the alternatives, older is better. As I mulled this post over in my mind, I thought of talking about my age, my specific age in years, as part of a whole picture, full disclosure sort of thing. A this is who I am kind of thing. Then I remembered something my sister, Beverly, shared with us recently. She said a spiritual leader and teacher who we both respect said one should never tell her (or his) age. Not to be secretive or deceptive, not to pretend to be younger or older, but because we limit ourselves and others enough as it is. We label and define even without meaning to do so much of the time. He said not to add yet another meaningless bit of data to that limiting mess. So I am not talking specific numbers.  I may stop that entirely. For much of my life I have felt the need to reveal more than was needed, probably more than was wanted. For now I'll refrain and rethink those habits.

I will say, for me this is a significant birthday in many ways, my age being only one of them. In recognition of this, my daughter is planning a small celebration with my family. We met yesterday to talk about what we might do and what we would serve. As she started with a list of favorite party foods that we've loved and served over the years, I realized I could no longer eat any of those dishes. Wow! Times have changed. I now control everything that comes into my kitchen and as a result, everything that comes out of it. I focus on good foods I can eat and enjoy and all but forget about the rest. I tend to forget that not everyone cooks or shops the way I do. Not even those very close to me. Of course, if this were a party for someone else, I'd just eat first and no one would notice. Since the birthday celebration is for me, it feels a little different. We have worked it out, I think. Works well for me, anyway.

I love grilling or broiling shrimp even for cocktails. These are from US Wellness Meats.
So far we're planning lemon chicken sate with Sunshine Sauce via Well Fed, lots of beautiful fresh veggies like asparagus, cucumber, sugar snap peas, red peppers, grape tomatoes with a dairy-less dip as yet to be determined. We'll also have rare, grilled steak strips or chunks, shrimp in some form, baba ghanoush, mixed olives, our marinated mushrooms, fresh fruit, and a couple of versions of almond flour crackers. Did I mention this is a very small party? Well, my family is not all that small, but if we didn't overdo the food, we wouldn't recognize ourselves.

On what I find an interesting note, Kristen often says she's afraid to cook for me, even before I knew I had major dietary issues. She is especially hesitant to cook in my kitchen. I don't think I'm that picky, but we never know those things about ourselves, do we?

Monday, February 13, 2012

yes, we celebrate valentine's day

food is the best part
I know many people are put off by the silliness and commercial exploitation, not to mention overt sexism, that are the public face of Valentine's Day. On some levels, I am one of them. That said, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that we have a few Valentine's Day rituals that have lasted over the years, traditions I cling to tenaciously. Some change a bit, sadly no dark chocolate decadence with whipped cream anymore, others go from one year to the next untouched.

We don't do gifts or flowers. No poetry, no love songs. For us, it's all about enjoying together some of our favorite things: the food and the Champagne. As good Californians, we very much support our great state wineries most of the year, but on Valentine's Day, Champagne---the real stuff---wins out. We've had this year's bottle for a few weeks now. After some back and forth argument discussion over which to choose, he we settled on a Piper Heidsieck. I was pressing for one of my favorites, Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial, but the Piper's great, too. I really cannot complain. As usual, too, this year we'll use the beautiful Waterford toasting flutes Bev and Gary gave us many years ago. There's something incredibly romantic to me in all of this. I think where celebrations are concerned, I love ritual above all else, not including the people, of course. I do believe if we'd somehow developed the ritual of paper cups and cream soda, I'd try to hold onto that health risks and all.

And the food is my department. No arguments, no debates, no discussions. I get to chose it and I get to cook it. We became painfully aware many years ago, long before I had begun to identify my dietary limitations, that, for us anyway, the combination of restaurants and special occasions were risky business. Valentine's Day, like Mother's Day, restaurants are packed, kitchens are harried, wait staff is rushed and often inattentive. Nah, I'll take my kitchen and my sweetly set table. Maybe even a fire in the fireplace.

This year we'll start with a salad much like that pictured above. My current menu includes skewers of Alaskan halibut and salmon from Vital Choice Seafood (my favorite) served on cauliflower rice. This is the only part of the meal I've finalized. I will be forever in awe of those who can plan meals for the week. I often change the menu of a meal as I'm cooking it. I have not yet found the perfect-looking asparagus I had in mind, but the plan is a a tender green vegetable. If not asparagus, possibly snow peas. Mushrooms have to be in the mix somewhere, so I'll either stuff a few with an herb blend to serve as an appetizer or lightly saute them to serve with the fish.

And for dessert, a real rarity for us, I'm torn between large long-stemmed strawberries dipped in a blend of coconut oil and raw cocoa powder with a hint of pure stevia and pistachio nuts stirred into the same chocolate mix. Maybe we should have both.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

yet another struggle: sleeplessness

My diet is darned near perfect, as far as I can tell. I do not claim that it is perfect, but it's close.

I completed my first Whole30 in early November. Since then, I've eaten foods containing sugar on a total of three occasions, each was a special occasion, and each time I had a couple of bites. I have a couple of cups of black coffee early in the morning. The ratios of my foods aren't perfect. Sometimes I eat more protein or fat than I'd like, simply because it's easy. Fresh vegetables are part of every day but not always in the abundance I'd prefer. I've had a little potato with a meal a couple of times in three months. Still, primarily, I eat high quality meats, fish, poultry and eggs, fresh organic vegetables, a bit of organically grown fruit, and healthy fats.

My one more pronounced deviation from healthful consumption is wine, not tons and tons, just some wine.

Exercise is another story, and I'm working on that one. Well, I'm seriously thinking about it at this point. I'm also using the bar that GK installed for me for pull-ups. My pull-ups are pitiful, but I'm finally off the floor at least.

I'll do another Whole30 soon and see if I can banish the wine thing, though it's the ritual, not the alcohol that I find appealing. I've got to find some good replacements. We tried tea, but most hurt my stomach. (Interesting that wine doesn't.)

Still, I don't drink so much that it worries me. I know it adds nothing to my health, that's about it. My real concern these days, and for a long time now, is that I don't sleep. I certainly don't sleep enough.

We are notorious at our house for going to bed early and getting up early. Four or five AM is not unusual, but it's getting worse. Some nights I'm in bed before seven and wide awake by nine or even earlier. On a good night I may get four to five hours of sleep, though never in succession. I am sometimes awake, looking at the clock every 20 minutes throughout the night. Seriously. I read continually about the need for sleep, plenty of sleep. I just don't know how people do it. I would love to. On those nights when I get five hours, I celebrate. Those are the good nights. On the rare occasion when three of those hours are joined, I am ecstatic. I cannot even imagine nine hours, and I know I need that.

This is a less-than-veiled call for help. What's your trick for sleeping? Any special preparation?

Friday, February 3, 2012

maybe i'm a food snob

Okay, I suppose it's not a maybe, it's a resounding yes. Yes, yes, yes! I'm a food snob. I tried to deny it; tried to sugar-coat it; tried to justify it; tried to tie it up in a pretty package.

No more. I admit unequivocally that I believe without question and with definite prejudice that food should be---well, food.

At home I demand it. At work I am about ready to give up.

I teach at a small school, so our staff lounge accommodates about a dozen people, a few more if we squeeze them in. Our refrigerator is usually full to over-flowing with fast-food leftovers, pseudo-food condiments, bread, margarine, large plastic soda bottles, cheese spreads, and other similar items. The freezer is packed with low-cal or diet meals. People toast bread and bagels pretty much every morning, so I avoid the area if at all possible. If someone has a birthday, the obligatory box of semi-edible doughnuts makes an appearance. Pot lucks mean nachos or potatoes covered with edible food-like gook. Sometimes it's casseroles and fruit mixed with jello and cool whip. I used to try to attend without eating before I realized just breathing in that closed-in environment would necessitate leaving work early and in pain almost every time.

Today was in a class of its own. A well-liked and well-respected teacher is leaving. He will still be working with our program, though not with us. He's happy and excited and a bit sad, I'm sure. Today, the staff, a dozen or fewer people total, put together a breakfast for him in the staff lounge before work. I tried to get myself to go, but fear and a heavy workload convinced me to pass on breakfast. I did venture into the lounge at lunch. It had been a crazy-busy morning, and I'd simply forgotten about the breakfast earlier in the day. The large, very large in fact, table was covered completely with the remains of that breakfast. I will not, cannot, call it food. Several dozen doughnuts, a box of Mexican pastries, and a few low-end sweetroll type pasties covered with sticky white icing remained. An empty 3 quart baking dish held what had not been scraped off the sides of something akin to country potatoes, though  with cheese and milk and "butter." A half dozen pancakes made with Betty Crocker's complete mix (add water only) along with maple flavored syrup and margarine sat next to dishes of scrambled eggs (possibly) and a variety of fried patties of some sort (possibly a vegetarian offering.) Several large containers of different types of salsa, the closest thing I saw to food, were scattered around the table. Piles of flour tortillas were uneaten, and extra bottles of sugar-sweetened "juice" were waiting for snackers to venture in. Coffee here always has a variety of "creamer" options and artificially flavored syrups and other additions.

Did I mention that our school has at most 8 teachers, a principal, one secretary, one campus supervisor (security) and a few instructional aides? There was enough fake food in that room to force feed everyone many times over, and those were the leftovers.

Yes, I'm a food snob. Yes, I should be ashamed of myself. These are nice people. But these nice people deserve more than artificial food-like substances and a distribution system that makes all this seem desirable. As for me, as always, I don't know what to say, so I say little. I don't know what to do, so I do little. All I know to do is continue with my program, continue to eat as clean as I can, and answer questions when asked. It may be all there is to do; I just never feel like it's enough.