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Eleven Things

I love lists, so I thought you might enjoy a list of eleven kind-of-related things about me. Why eleven? I like the number eleven. It has an elegance to it that the number twelve completely lacks.

1. I was born in Russia and lived there till I was ten. I am fluent in English, Russian, and French and speak some Spanish too.

2. During my teenage years, I struggled with bulimia, and have also practiced food restriction at various times. Now I consider myself to have a very healthy and fun relationship with food. However, continuing to have a healthy relationship with food means that I am very serious about not taking food too seriously. That’s the reason for the “duty-free” in my blog title.

3. I love research, so staying away from rules is a challenge. The research on some ingredients is pretty damning, but avoiding all unhealthy ingredients would actually be unhealthy in my case (see #2). So I practice awareness to maintain the right balance.

4. That reference to “practicing awareness?” Yes, I am kind of woo-woo. Also, yoga is my favourite form of exercise.

5. I was a vegetarian for two years in high school, but it ultimately wasn’t for me.

6. Not only do I eat a lot of fat, but I am always looking for tasty ways to add MORE healthy, natural fat to my diet. Butter is definitely in this category. As is coconut oil.

7. I am super picky about sauces. I can’t stand the texture of most sauces in Chinese food, which is why the only Chinese food I ever order is chicken-fried rice. Ketchup and mayo really gross me out as well.

8. However, I love Japanese food, especially sushi! I load it up with wesabi and drown it in soy sauce. Soy sauce should really be a food group, no?

9. Soy sauce is the only type of soy I consume regularly. I generally try to avoid soy (see #3).

10. I love traveling. So far, I’ve been to the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Mexico.

11. I have only gone surfing only once (over two days in Tofino, B.C.). It was so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again. I got up once on the second day but we had to leave about 30 seconds later when my boyfriend popped his eardrum. Now surfing and I have some unfinished business to take care of!

And with that, I am off to go eat sushi for the third time in two weeks.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I am planning to try making macaroons, which I may or may not post about on Monday, depending on how it goes. Wish me luck!

November 5, 2010   8 Comments

My food philosophy in a nutshell

I’ve tried so many different ways of eating, it makes me dizzy just to think about it. One day I’ll definitely post about my not-so-duty-free past. But today, I’ll tell you guys about the way of eating I have followed for the past couple of years – I am pretty happy with it right now.

The Basics

I try to eat real food 80%-90% of the time, devoting the other 10-20% of what I eat to guilt-free pleasure.*

It’s kind of like what Benjamin Graham says about speculation vs. investing. Not that I am doing either at the moment. (But if I were, I would probably speculate 20% or less because a Soviet upbringing isn’t very conducive to risk-taking.) It’s the same way with food. If I stop eating desserts and nachos, my life feels woefully incomplete. But if I eat too many, I start craving vegetables. If you were to tell me ten years ago I would start craving vegetables if I ate too much chocolate, I would probably have had a very premature heart attack.**

So that’s it in a nutshell - eat healthy most of the time, and indulge without feeling bad about it afterwards. Because really, life is too short.

*This month, my diet consists 20% of pecan pie. This one was actually taken out of the freezer in the back for me by the gracious grocery store staff. Public Service Announcement: pecan pie is even better straight out of the freezer.

** That’s because ten years ago, I literally bought a cinnamon bun every third period and a chocolate bar every day for lunch. I was on a constant energy roller coaster. Usually the chocolate bar was a Hershey’s Cookies & Creme. So tasty! But I digress …

Some other mini-principles

  • When in doubt, I usually choose the fatty thing over the carby thing. I also try to eat butter at least once a day. It is heart-healthy, after all
  • I eat vegetables … almost every single day.
  • I think of “real food” as anything that occurs in nature with minimal processing. So olive oil is in, but canola is out. Butter is in, but margarine is out. Honey is in, but sugar is … oh who am I kidding, it’s still in, just not as often.
  • I eat carbs, but I do try to avoid sugar and flour as much as I reasonably can.
  • I don’t count calories or grams of any kind. I do aim to get enough fat and protein for my body, but I prefer to go with intuition over math on this one.

That’s it for me! What about you?

October 20, 2010   12 Comments

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