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sharing of random dietary behaviours

Here are a random selection of behaviours I have tried, with various degrees of success, to incorporate into my lifestyle over the years.

  • Try to drink 500mL water as soon as I get out of bed
  • And to a lesser extent, try to drink maybe 250mL water before going to bed (getting up to pee in the middle of the night is a bother!)

Where did this come from? Well, I know I don’t drink enough water anyway. And when someone forwarded me that e-mail about this Dr from India (I think) who was advocating a “water diet,” well, it made some sense even with my grains of salt put in. He wasn’t saying to drink nothing but water lah, but he was saying we all didn’t drink enough water, and that “a lot of diseases could be cured if only we upped our water intake”. I remember he was recommending drinking a large bottle of water (1.5L) in the morning and before going to bed. No way! One morning I’d tried to force lots more water into me, and ended up puking water when brushing my teeth. No thanx. And an ex-officemate of mine declared that the only way to be able to stomach 1.5L before sleep is if you had a very light (and early) dinner. So yeah, in the end, I (attempt to) practice the gist of the water diet’s recommendations.

NOTE: this is probably the source of the email:

  • Take fruits (& raw vegetables) on an empty stomach
  • To a much lesser extent, take only fruits in the morning

This "fruits on an empty stomach" is one of those things that struck me when reading Fit For Life a long long time ago (1995, I believe).

For those who haven't heard of Fit For Life, well, I don't know how much you are missing... a lot of what the authors claim in their book sound kinda outta this world... and like so many diet/lifestyle books of that time, they use a lot of sensationalism and not much scientific support. But like any other book out there, it doesn't hurt to read and see the big picture, and get the main gist of what they are trying to say, and not get too bogged down in the details.

Anyway: so back to the fruits on an empty stomach thing. The authors were big into the whole food combining thing, and had this whole reasoning and justification to not mix protein and carbs when eating, because the combination is extremely difficult for the stomach to digest. So eating protein and veggies ok, carbs and veggies ok, but NOT protein and carbs. Wait... aren't veggies carbs? Just simpler / "good" carbs, but still carbs?? Uh-huh. You see where I had some trouble swallowing (haahaha) what they claimed...

So, it seems that fruits are so easily digested (within 20mins) if taken by themselves, with extraction of the full nutritional benefits; but if you take fruits after dinner, as dessert, or on an otherwise non-empty stomach, the fruits get processed together with the rest of your food... and that poor stomach that has to process all that protein / carbs is not going to be able to extract any of the fruit's nutritional value.

Yeah. Not sure I buy all that reasoning. But somehow I *do* like the idea of taking raw fruits/veggies on an empty stomach, for easier digestion. SO I try to practice that. However, this has sometimes resulted me in me NOT eating them instead… when I’m really hungry and want something substantial I’ll probably grab something substantial (bread, cheese, cup-o-pasta, whatever), and only once I am munching on that do I contemplate a salad, but won’t take it cos my tummy's "non-empty". Kinda why the ready-to-eat salad in a bag is SUCH a great idea: leaves me less excuse to not grab a bowl of greens first :-)

And related to that too: If someone loads my plate with let’s say spaghetti&meatballs, and THEN asks me if I want salad with that, on that same loaded plate: my answer is NO. I’d rather not literally mix the greens with the other stuff. So I’d clear some of the plate, and only then allow the salad on there. Of course, it then violates the eating salad first, so I’m not a happy camper.

Ah, the rituals one develops over time.... :p

  • Try to have carbs/protein Zone-balanced, or at least, to have protein in a meal
Before you start wondering why I would need to make it a point to have protein in a meal, let me explain that in Malaysia it is all too easy to go for days without eating any real protein. Think about it:
  • roti canai is just carbs & grease unless you order roti telur, and, well, I think that’s still a hopelessly unbalanced meal.
  • If you take chicken fried rice, that’s a HUGE amount of carbs and just a smattering of chicken!
  • Okay, so if you take nasi lemak with chicken, you get half a boiled egg, chicken plus the fried anchovies so that's more protein than usual, but is that enough to offset the “fatty rice”? And yeah, it’s all the “wrong / bad” carbs too!
At one point, during my Zone-strict days, I would just order a piece of fried chicken, and figure that my glass of the tarik would provide more than enough bad carbs to Zone-balance thath “meal”.

Yes, at one point, I was very much into the Zone lifestyle. Unfortunately the uphill battle of finding Zone-friendly meals in Malaysia, plus friends who totally pooh-poohed and did not support my efforts to eat properly, and my discovery of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Ultimate Vanilla Ice Blended all contributed to my decline :-(

  • More fruits & veggies
  • less processed carbs like pasta, bread, pastries, ice cream… {yeah right!}
Well, I * try *!! But I certainly do suffer from rewarding myself with food, or having some comfort food in mind when I’m feeling down. DQ’s Srawberry Cheesecake or French Vanilla blizzards! Ben & Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide! Entenman’s Cheese Danish! MmmmMmmMmMMMMmmmMMm!

I certainly am not a fan of rice: growing up in a country where too many people are just too hung up about getting their rice every day, where we were forced to eat a heavy rice meal late every night when my father got back from his golf game, I’m more than happy to go without it! And I’m not a big fan of pasta either tho I prefer it bigtime over rice. And bread: not a big fan of the sliced crap stuff. But like when I was in Switzerland recently, the habit of eating bread, and copious amounts, emerged from outta nowhere. Helped that it was all real bead, and fresh daily! Dangerous, that… cos with the bread I would then have honey / jam & butter… things that I usually can go forever without :p

But anyways... if you take a step back from the various diets out there today, you'll see a common thread:
  • reduce consumption of bad carbs & starches
  • increase consumption of fresh fruits & veggies
  • exercise regularly

That's right: nothing earth-shattering at all.

And I'm doing all that.
The exercise is the toughest to keep practicing... but since I've been back from Switzerland, so far so good :-)


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