Friday, March 18, 2011

Guiness, the Canada Food Guide, Making an Eggs-ample & the Lamb Man

To celebrate St Patrick's Day is to rejoice in two of life's greatest gifts: the Irish accent and Guiness beer. Jen and I left work a smidgen early yesterday, desperately hoping the fifteen minute cushion would mean being able to land a table for ourselves and the gang that would be joining. Jen, lover of all things sunny and warm, even went so far as to wonder if the Olde Triangle would have its outdoor deck open (for the record, the lower deck was looking pretty inviting, but the upper tier was still smothered in the s-word). Turns out that a lot of Islanders spend St. Pat's Day at the bar, drinking and listening to fiddle music. We squeezed our way through throngs of baby-boomers and cougars (PEI demographics still befuddle me by times) and went upstairs, where we beelined it to the bar. Confession #1 - I ordered a pint of Guiness. And I liked it a lot. More friends joined and Luke took it upon himself to land us a table. Eventually he snagged a two-seater and six of us huddled around it, while Luke gave the poor waitress an order of greasy greasiness with a side of grease. Confession #2 - I love sweet potato fries...even the ones at the OT, which are only moderately tasty. So I ate some. Confession #3 - I washed it down with a cider. To be fair, by this time I believe it was after 8.00 so the sugary content was OK. One more Guiness and then I called it a night. I rarely drink these days, so with three pints I was feeling quite Irish. In fact, I felt so Irish I started speaking with an Irish accent. It was a Dublin accent, but when some gents at the bar asked where I was from I told them Belfast.

So that was Day 4 of my sugar reduction. Yes, I did indulge in beer and some greasy food, but kept to my rule of only consuming sugar after 8. I didn't feel fabulous this morning, but I didn't feel terrible either. I can't say the same for Luke, who declared an all-time high hangover factor. Do I feel bad about indulging in alcohol and sweet potato fries. Not a bit. If these were things I regularly ate and I was struggling to eliminate because of an addiction/strong habit towards eating them, then I'd probably want to kick myself, but that's not the case. I simply don't eat greasy foods very often and alcohol has become a very occasional indulgence.

At lunch the following day I joined a co-worker who'd asked me if I'd attend a free nutrition class being held on campus. I agreed, even though I kind of figured I already knew most of what they'd be communicating. It turned out the workshop was being held by 5 nutrition students. I"d accidentally missed yesterdays' class, which was all about the Canada Food Guide. In retrospect I'm glad I missed it, as I'm quite certain I'd not have been able to keep my lips zipped. Today, the focus was on label reading and how to fit healthy eating into a busy life. Well, it turns out I should have skipped the classes, because, as anyone who knows me well knows, I am not good at biting my tongue. I'd rather flap it. The first part of the lesson was about how to fit healthy eating into a busy schedule. At each of the tables in the room, there was a different sample lunch in the middle. We were asked to discuss what was good and what could be better about our sample lunch, which was: a juice pack with 100% apple juice, a small can of mixed fruit (Danone), a tiny tub of yogurt with fake fruit, and a slice of pizza with pepperoni and hamburger. When the nutrition student asked us about the juice, I said that an apple would be better. But she wanted to point out that since it was 100% juice it was better than Sunny D, which has no natural juice. And then she pointed to the can of fruit and asked us what we thought of that. The lady beside me declared that it shouldn't be too bad, since it was Danone. She read the label and found 'sugar' in the ingredients list. The nutrition student tried to prod us to explain what was wrong with it by asking 'well, what is it in?' and I said 'A can. Fruit shouldn't come in a can." Apparently that was the wrong answer (it was in 'syrup'). And I did ask a few questions about labeling. Oh my, I am sorry nutrition students! I just couldn't help myself.

This past week there was a crackdown on free-range egg producers here in PEI. An older couple who own a B&B in Tyne Valley were told they had to stop using their own chicken's eggs when preparing food for their customers, since the eggs weren't federally inspected. There's been a lot of backlash on this issue. A Facebook page has been created, and tonnes of people have written letters to the PEI government. Thusfar, the government's response has been discouraging, but the fact that CBC called me up for an interview today was a shimmer of hope ( I ended up passing the interview baton on to my co-worker who, coincidentally, had created the Facebook page in support of free-range chickens). This issue seems to have increased interest in A Local MEAL, the event I've been helping to co-ordinate, which takes place this Thursday at the Farm Centre at 6.30.

The weekend was capped off wonderfully, with the Steak Man turning into the Lamb Man and making me a delicious dinner on Saturday that featured leg of lamb, a spinach bacon salad, and a sweet treat (after 8!!). Sunday morning he made me breakfast (bacon and eggs) and Sunday evening we made a lamb stew. I am such a lucky gal!!!!

I also did my first weekly weigh-in since eliminating sugar consumption before 8pm. I'm happy to report that I'm down 2.8 lbs! For some, this may not seem like much, but I've been stuck at the same weight since the beginning of December, so I'll take this and run with it!


Rob said...

I remain stunned by how ignorant most "nutritionists" are. They really don't have a context that makes sense.

Having the Canada food guide that is based on nothing but lobbying is a sad joke

This is why I am so hopeful that the Evolutionary approach will help.

mattbg said...

Rob, I agree that the food guide is inadequate.

But I also used to think that it was driven by the food industry. When I went to see who sat on the board, there really isn't much direct industry involvement. One person from the seed oil industry. I thought there were more, but I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

"... and run with it". Did you mean that literally? Are we running PEI again this year??


Raeanne said...

Shannon, I have so much to say about this post I don't know where to start. Firstly, Canada Food Guide, I echo Rob's sentiments. Secondly, this whole egg situation, booooo. Thirdly, hell yes cutting out sugar will slim the waist line! I lost 5 pounds in 3ish weeks just from quitting eating past 7. All the little (or big!) things work. And finally, Lamb Man, I have one of those too, fantastic find aren't they???