“I used to eat weird things,” a guest post from Slow Food USA’s Jerusha Klemperer

by SARA on April 2, 2010

Photo by Jerusha Klemperer

For today’s post, I’m excited to turn the floor over to Jerusha Klemperer, the Networks and Partnerships Program Manager at Slow Food USA, where she also edits the organization’s blog. As if all that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she writes about food for the Huffington Post, Civil Eats, Well and Good NYC, and her personal blog eathere2. She’s also part of Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant, a New York performance group that puts an innovative (and pretty delicious-sounding) spin on dinner theater.

I loved the topic (and title) Jerusha picked. From my own past, I can certainly relate (remind me never to tell you about the “castle” my college girlfriends and I built out of diet red bull cans one exam period). Click through to read her thoughtful–and funny–insights…

I used to eat weird things. I was a pescatarian, and I was a dieter and the combination meant I ate products like (wait for it) imitation crab meat chunks and tempeh bacon and tofu sausages. I drank only skim milk, ate only frozen yogurt, used only low-fat mayonnaise, and put Equal in my coffee. I think I even used to put Smart Balance on my bread.  When I was eating bread at all.  The South Beach Diet and I were in an on-again-off-again relationship.

I was pretty skinny, most of the time, but my weight fluctuated a lot. Especially when I would go off the South Beach Diet and eat an entire baguette in one sitting. Since then I’ve learned that exercises in extremes do not yield good results. Starve yourself of chocolate, and you can be sure the first thing you’ll do when no one is looking is dive into a kiddie pool of chocolate, roll around in it and then lick your own arms.

My food rule #1: don’t diet. Which is a really fun rule to have.

For a variety of reasons I started eating meat again a few years back, making an effort to know where the meat comes from and to buy directly from farmers when I can. As my awareness grew about food and how it’s produced, I grew less and less comfortable with eating food that was fake and highly processed.

My priorities shifted, and my notions of “healthy” changed. I learned that I’d rather eat a food in its natural state, that any time the fat is taken out of a food, they’re putting something else in there to make up for it. For example, lowfat mayonnaise is loaded with sugar. Sheesh, why bother?

So, rule #2: Don’t eat anything being marketed as “low-fat.” If a food comes with fat in its natural state, I want the fat. Bring it on.

For example all those soy sausages I thought I was being so clever to eat: I learned that most soy in this country is genetically modified, and that in order to be made into anything other than soy beans, it has been processed to high hell and back again. I read things like Nina Planck’s Real Food and had my mind bent and straightened again.  There’s a story behind your food, dontcha know.

Rule #3: always ask the question “do I know how this was made and/or where it came from?”

These days I drink full fat cappuccinos, put real butter on my crusty bread and allow myself the occasional treat of ice cream, which turns out to be created on a different planet from frozen yogurt. When I started eating real food, I assumed I’d gain weight and that would be a trade off I was willing to make.  It’s the funniest thing but I’m basically the same size I was back then when I was depriving myself of everything good. And my weight doesn’t fluctuate, and everything I eat tastes better.

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Kristin Conroy April 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

So glad to see other people talk about eating REAL food. Real butter, real yogurt, real milk, real chocolate…real food tastes better, is better for you, and nixes overeating in the bud! I’ve never been healthier, happier, and leaner (and more sane!) than I am now. Eating real food! P.S. Nina Planck’s book rocked my food world too!

Camille April 2, 2010 at 10:05 am

Kristin, I couldn’t agree more!

Erin Sykes April 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

I enjoyed this post and am looking forward to seeing you at Ohio U. later this month!

Myrnie April 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I’ve found the same thing- it’s so funny to see my mom’s face when she walks in the kitchen and sees bread, butter, cream (along with veggies, fruits, etc.) Great post, thanks!

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