13 July 2015
You have watched me testing so many diets in the past year - from Atkins, to Vegan, Juicing & even doing Ramandan last year. I always declarated them as 'food experiments' because I just wanted to know first hand of what the experience would be like, if it works or if it does not work. These experiments where mainly motivated by curiosity & because I wanted to clear up all the myths & write about them from my perspective.
So I realized its high time now to share the Eating Philosophies that I actually live by & believe in. Its that attitude towards food that I embody and which fullfill my love for eating & food. I discovered these concepts that I live by today one by one since roughly 8 years now - since I started my interest in healthy eating.
I will start with just the quickest introduction & tell you a little bit about myself and my relationship to food in the past.
As a child I was a super picky eater all the way until I was 13 - I was vegetarian, I did not eat anything mixed, or where I could not see the ingredients, I did not like milk, not a fan of cheese, I could not eat anything spicy (pepper was already too much), I did not like Mac Donalds or Mayonnaise - I was basically living on a mainly raw, high carb, lots of chocolate, vegetarian diet - and I was very skinny. When I was 13 I switched schools to an American School in Surrey which already offered pancakes for breakfast. On top of that I started eating more foods, including meat and within 1 year I was pretty chubby. I moved back to Switzerland at age 15 and I remember the boys in my class telling me I was a bit too fat.
At the same time we where having information weeks at our school about Eating Disorders, and I witnessed a girl in my class developing a serious case of anorexia. She went from being super pretty to being a ghost with all her hair falling out.
I decided that I wanted to find the 'right' way of looking the way that I wished to look - in a healthy way. I did this just for myself at first - I just really did not want to be either chubby or sick.
I was in need of a Master Plan
& as we all know - good things take time...
We all know Fast Food - so what is Slow Food?
& first of all what is actually Fast Food? Is Pizza fast food? Not necessarily...
Fast Food is the Food we get fast and eat fast - the food we have no time for. Its commonly linked to Mac Donalds, Pizza, Takeouts, Kebabs - but my favourite example of Fast Food is actually the Sandwich. The Sandwich people buy at the Kiosk to eat in the Train, Car, in front of your Computer or worst - as they are walking. In fact anything bought at a Kiosk or Convenience Store and eating without care is fast food. Cappuccinos & Croissants, Chocolate Bars, Chips, even Salads - you name it. Its all of that food you do not devote any time to. Its the food that will give you zero emotional satisfaction.
When giving people advice on how to improve their eating this is a Key Advice - stop eating Fast Food. Stop eating Fast. Never eat while walking, always sit down (except of course at Cocktails & Events), never eat anything out of your shopping bag on the way home, plan meals, plan snacks, no spontaneous convenience eating, no eating in a rush.
SLOW FOOD - its a mindset
Slow Food is the the Food we give time - therefore giving it value. SLOW FOOD is less depending on ingredients - its an attitude. The more time we take for Food - the more quality we acknowledge it, not only in sense of nutrition but also in an emotional sense. Going out to different stores and buying ingredients, slow cooking a piece of meat at home & then eating it with family or friends. Ingredients, preparation time as well as the way it is eaten are equal factors which define the term Slow Food. Taking the time for something means appreciating it - regarding it with a Value.
If we think anything is important we intuitively like to take our time for it - wether it is meeting a friend, watching a movie, having a phone conversation. In our lives - the most valuable thing we can do towards anyone or anything is to give it time. I highly value Food, so I like to invest as much time as I can to find it, prepare it, and to eat it. I like to spend ages in the supermarket looking through all the possible ingredients. Even before entering the supermarket I like to reflect on what I am in the mood for. I can be very uncompromising if I do not find what I am looking for I tend to not accept substitutes. I accept the fact that it is not available. I do not like to replace things in general. This leads me to appreciate when something I want IS available and possible. If I have a busy day with no time to eat a proper meal - I wont eat. I wait until I get the time to eat, and then I truly appreciate it. This causes me to get very exited about meals and great food.
Visiting Restaurants might not involve any time in buying or preparing food - but I do absolutely consider it to be a Slow Food experience - because it gives us the possibility to take the maximum time to enjoy food, without the rush of cooking and preparing. The food is prepared for us at a high level and ideally using best ingredients that do qualify the standards of slow food. To sit down with friends and eat together is one of the socially most valuable experiences we can share. One thing I like to do to up the Slow Factor of visiting Restaurants is to choose the locations carefully and to plan ahead of time. This way I am really looking forward to going. I also do not eat for couples of hours before I go - and I always like to check out the Menu's online first so that I ideally already know what I am going to order. This is because I follow another eating concept which is called 'Intuitive Eating' which involves me only eating the ingredient that I am actually really in the mood for. But I am going to talk more about that in a future blog post.
Home cooking is usually slow food as long as it does not involve any ready made ingredients. The longer the preparation time - the better. This of course in relation to the dish - a raw salad will never require the time of a soup - a grilled filet will never require the time of a stew; but if you take the time to enjoy them they all are equally 'slow'.
Slow Pizza Burger & Co.
Making a pizza or a burger at home from scratch is slow food. Sharing it with friends is such a perfect way to combine a soul food & slow food experience. Burger Patties are super simple to prepare with recipes all over the internet - they are great to take with you to barbecues or to throw on the grill at home. Once you get yourself to do a recipe from scratch you will get creative automatically - experimenting with toppings, sauces - side dishes. Perhaps adding some creme fraiche or a different mustard, using a ciabatta bread instead of the regular bun - adding different pickled vegetables instead of plain cucumber. Throwing different vegetables into your side salads. Trying out a different dressing. Once you are in your Kitchen you will spot all the things that are there and start experimenting with them. Its a great way also to discover your own taste - to get to know what you yourself actually like. You define how much meat you use, how much bread, how much dressing. You control what you eat - and you intuitively prepare what your body needs.
BENEFITS OF SLOW FOOD
There are several simple & straight forward reasons to why following a Slow Food mindset it great for your health & weight.
TIME: so starting from point zero as of the moment when you start to think about your next meal. If you choose fast food you probably will be eating something within 30 minutes if not less. By the time it takes you to cook a meal or even to select a restaurant and wait for the meal - by choosing the 'fast food' option at that time you probably will already be hungry again - looking for a next 'quick fix'. Slow eaters eat less, eat more consciously, eat longer, and eat better. Slow eaters look forward to the food more, and enjoy their food more. Slow eating causes you to appreciate your food, because you waited for it.
QUALITY: Its a given and very well known fact, that fast food and convenience food is of not bad - but miserable quality. In Switzerland we are protected by some laws, but abroad some of the food like cheese literally is not even real. Even in Switzerland a lot of artificial flavours and colours are used - artificial meaning FAKE! Its a substitute - made to look and taste like something that it is actually not. Additionally the Food that is 'real' but derives off mass productions and mono cultures is just extremely low in nutrition and empty in taste - making extra artificial flavours a necessity. These foods are however, unfortunately, NOT empty in calories. Thats about the only thing they contain, sugar and fats plus some flavourings & maybe some colour. Do not get me wrong - this food is not poisonous & it is not going to 'harm' you - its just empty. So naturally it will not satisfy you as much as the 'real food.'
DECISION: A lot of our appetite and eating behavior is happening in our brain - one dubious diet method I heard once was to look at food pictures on instagram or think intensely about food for 30 minutes to stop being hungry - okay DONT DO THIS of course! But I did try it just to see if it works, and it does. Its absolutely silly - but it does work. Our brain is largely responsible for our appetite - it craves the 'experience' of eating, as a carnal instinct. The healthy way to utilize this is to spend some time thinking about what it is you want to eat, before going and eating it. This way you give your brain the full experience of 'eating' - leaving you mentally satisfied after you have actually eaten it (& please make sure you do).
A TRIBUTE to SLOW FOOD is an amazing Food Ideaology, that allows you all the freedom & does not restrict you to any ingredients. It simply raises the awareness for food, its origins, and increases the amount we value and enjoy it. To honour Slow Food I wished to illustrate it in a picture. I have followed and admired the work of Federico Naef for some time now and I was super happy that he agreed to take this picture with me. The picture was taken in the Lalique Private Dining Table of Zurichs leading Panasian Fusion Cuisine Restaurant Alice Choo - also known as the Lalique Room. I am wearing Dress and Jewellery by my favourite Boutique Gassmann Zurich.
MORE SLOWFOOD - I am aware that these impressions provide only an uncomplete & subjective insight on the topic of Slow Food. For more Facts & Insight please visit the link below: