Day 6&7: 30 Days of Unprocessed Food

 Yesterday was the first day of our 30 day challenge that truly felt like a challenge. We went out of town for the day to celebrate my sister's graduation. We had a great afternoon and enjoyed some cool weather.  I packed our lunches and snacks so that we wouldn't have to resort to any convenience foods. My family decided  that we would go to a Thai restaurant for dinner after the commencement ceremony. I called the restaurant ahead of time to ask them a few questions such as what type of oil they cook with, if their sauces contain sugar, and if they use MSG. She told me that they cook with only sesame and fish oil which are both perfectly fine. Although they don't use any MSG, pretty much everything contains added sugars. There were only about 3 items on the menu that were considered unprocessed.  My husband ordered a spicy chicken and green bean dish with chili flakes, and I ordered an eggplant dish and had them make it with no sugary sauce. We both ordered brown rice.  Our greatest challenge was in the fact that my family ordered some crab puff appetizers and Sophia threw a fit because she was starving and wanted a bite. We decided to let her have one very small bite because it only seemed fair considering James and I will be having a splurge day this week for our anniversary. I was a little aggravated that we had to give in, but I feel at ease knowing that her bite was teeny tiny and this is the ONLY processed food she has eaten all week.
Chicken with Eggplant, minus the sugar in the sauce. Chili paste with chicken and green beans.

 Happy Mother's Day to everyone!
We went out to eat at P.F Chang's to celebrate with my husband's family this afternoon. We had a great time visiting with everyone. I didn't know where we were going out to eat until an hour beforehand and when I tried to call to ask specific questions about the menu, the chef was too busy to talk to me. We knew that appetizers would be off limits, but we had a very hard time finding items for lunch. I ordered Sophia steamed vegetables with brown rice, but I was disappointed when they came drenched in sauce. James ordered Salt and Pepper Prawns which came deep fried even though the menu made it appear that they were steamed. I panicked and didn't know what to order. Being with a large group made it difficult for me to break out of my shell and ask the waitress specific questions. They were also very busy due to it being a holiday. I ordered the Ginger Chicken with Broccoli because I seem to remember it not being very saucy. I was wrong! The dish came drenched in sugary sauce! I tried very hard to not eat a lot of the sauce, but it wasn't easy. Sophia impressed me a lot today. She ate a ton of steamed veggies and brown rice, and she didn't ask for anything else.  She also enjoyed her maple syrup peanut butter cookies and didn't throw a fit when I wouldn't let her have any cheesecake.  Although we technically "failed" today, I am so proud of James and Sophia for making such a strong effort. I conclude that it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to eat a truly unprocessed meal at a restaurant. Don't even get me started on the factory farm chicken that is full of hormones and antibiotics. YUCK! Yesterday I was in a really bad mood about all of this because I knew that we would "fail" today. I am feeling a little better today because I know that we made our best effort considering the circumstances. I am trying so desperately to prove that we can eat unprocessed, organic foods without sacrificing flavor. I conclude that this is true only if we eat at home. James and I will still be indulging for our anniversary, but we decided that for the rest of this challenge, we will not be going out to eat under any circumstances. Even those dishes that appear to be healthy have hidden sugars and processed ingredients. Maybe we failed today, but it was most certainly a learning experience. Oh and to leave on a happy note, my favorite part of today was when I heard the sweet sound of James making me pancakes this morning. Truly the sweetest gesture ever :)

Rachel Melissa  – (May 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM)  

next time try somewhere like chakra or pomegranate. Mainstream, corporate restaurants are all processed food, You might also check out somewhere like center bistro?

Delia  – (May 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM)  

Thanks Rachel. I have been to Center Bistro and I love it. I think the hard part is when I am not the one who has a say in where we go. I love P.F Changs, but for the sake of eating "real food" it is definitely not a good option. I really want to try Pomegranate Cafe! thanks for the tips:)

Lisa Clouse  – (May 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM)  

I haven't heard of any of those restaurants Rachel listed. Sounds fun! I'm slowly becoming more aware of what I'm eating, thanks to your blogs!

Sorry you had a "set back", but it's helpful for us to know about how tough it is. Bringing awareness to the restaurants is how change occurs. I've helped with Pure Fashion in the past, a group of Catholic teens who want to look beautiful and fashionable without compromising their dignity. So they go to the malls and give the major stores scores based on if they had pretty yet modest clothing. Perhaps Phoenix needs a grassroots system started for processed food ratings.

If restaurants lose business because we realize the crap we're eating, they will start to offer healthier options. Just look at what the Gluten-free market has had to do! :)

Great job, Delia. You are doing something wonderful for your family, and a few speed bumps are to be expected. Don't let it get you down!

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