Weight Loss Support - The chemicals in "diet" food literally make me sick

02-02-2011, 11:11 AM
I can't cook, so I have had to rely a lot on frozen meals. And I would buy Weight Watchers ice cream. But I notice that they make me ill. I get a horrible taste in my mouth, a bad headache, and nauseous after awhile when I eat them. So I have made the decision to cut back drastically and try to start cooking little by litte. Some people exaggerate when they say they can't cook, but I REALLY can't.

02-02-2011, 11:23 AM
Look at a slow cooker.

It's hard to mess that up.


02-02-2011, 11:23 AM
Anyone can cook, really. Do you have a friend you can cook with? Start out simple.

It's true, premade foods are crap and diet food chemicals are not things you want to be making a mainstay of your diet. Really... it's not hard. Follow directions PRECISELY and you'll get it.

Petite Powerhouse
02-02-2011, 11:30 AM
Those Weight Watchers treats have the sugar substitute sorbitol in them, which is linked to headaches.

Rice cookers (for brown rice), vegetable steamers, and slow cookers are a good place to start when making your own food. They do the work for you.

02-02-2011, 11:34 AM
Are you physically unable to cook? Or just haven't found the right recipes?

Try finding cooking classes in your area.

02-02-2011, 11:59 AM
I hear that you really believe that you can't cook, but what does that mean? You set things on fire? You lose appendages when you slice veggies? Cavemen could cook- over an open flame no less, I have a great deal of faith in you!

I agree with seagirl, take a class to increase your confidence in the kitchen or ask a friend or relative to help you learn. Until then, look for no-brainer recipes to try. Bean salad with canned beans and store bought dressing will do your body a whole lot more good than any frozen meal- it's cheaper too. Anything rolled into a whole wheat wrap works for a meal (eggs, sandwich meat, veggies). I know you can do that!

02-02-2011, 12:05 PM
I hear you on the headache front! I get full blown migraines with artificial sweeteners of any kind and I don't get migraines ordinarily. :no:

I swore of "diet" foods (non-sweeteners variety) because they made me constipated and lethargic. Best switch I ever made! But convenience foods (lean cuisines, protein bars, Slim Fast) got me through the first few months because they were easy to count.

Learn to cook one new thing a week, or even once a month. Your skills will deepen. ;) Chicken is pretty easy to start with. Stir fries are easy and hard to mess up. Just put a Tbsp of oil in a Wok or skillet, cook small pieces of chicken about three minutes after there is no longer any pink, then toss in favorite veggies, fresh or frozen. Sometimes I throw in spices (garlic, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, ginger) and sometimes I just leave it as is. Serve with brown rice.

Another easy chicken dish is to throw some BBQ sauce over chicken breasts and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I like to butterfly my chicken because 1/2 a breast is a serving, but you don't have to do that.

02-02-2011, 12:07 PM
Dutch Oven!!

I buy organic soup mixes with low sodium, add veggies and boneless skinless chicken breast...voila...a great soup. AND you can not mess that one up, even if you simmer it for hours :)

02-02-2011, 12:15 PM
Cooking just makes me kinda confused, too. I am working on upping my skills on this area. I started really small. The other day, I put in skinless boneless chicken breast, a cup or so of salsa, and some chopped up peppers, mushrooms and onions in a slow cooker. I put it on low and stirred once in a while - in a couple of hours, it seemed cooked, so I made some brown minute rice and fed it to my family, they loved it! SUCCESS! :) And then I tried a turkey meatloaf, which I messed up the cooking time on (it wasn't cooked) so I put it back in for a while. Then I forgot about it, and it burned. Anyways, I tried again, and the second time, it came out nicely! Anyways just to completely embarrass myself and tell you that others struggle in this area too! We can do it together! :)

02-02-2011, 12:19 PM
I agree with the slow cooker idea! I also love my steamer - it's just a steamer insert for any pot or pan which is nice and not expensive. I don't have a rice cooker, but I have heard only fabulous things about them - and several friends have wondered how they ever lived without one (so I might need to get one!)

I used to be terrible at cooking. But, once I started learning a little I enjoyed it. I followed recipes and it was a blast! Now, I cook ALL the time - prefer it over anything else, even going out to eat - and I create my own dishes now.

Try simple and go from there. It's fun! :D

02-02-2011, 12:29 PM
I think some diet foods also have selenium in them which makes my sister very sick. She can't eat them either.

I love to cook but am super busy so I take a lot of shortcuts. I buy that precooked chicken and frozen, steam in the bag veggies. Toss together and you have a super healthy meal with no cooking! If you want carbs with it get some boil in the bag rice...easy peasy... :)

02-02-2011, 12:31 PM
but, if you DO have the time, get a cookbook...if you can read, you can cook...seriously... The recipe doesnt always work out the first time you try it but then just make notes about what went wrong and it'll work the next time.

02-02-2011, 12:35 PM
When I was in my 20's, I used to say the same.

BUT I learned one thing, because I could read and measure, cooking was not that hard :)

Get recipes and follow them. You will be surprised :) :)

02-02-2011, 01:02 PM
I can't have most diet foods - whether its the Splenda or anything else, it just gives me a migraine and very similar symptoms to what you've described.

I can cook, but I don't have time, so I've started to rely on my slow cooker and microwave steamer bags. Very simple, very fast and non-diet.

For the steamer bags, you can just take a chicken breast and put it in one, and frozen veggies in another and throw them in the microwave. You have something healthy, low cal and low fat in less than 10 minutes.

I also use my slow-cooker over night. Before I go to bed, I throw stuff in there, set it on slow, and when I wake up I have my lunch and/or dinner ready for the week. They make cook books specifically designed for slow cookers, so you can check those out :)

02-02-2011, 01:08 PM
Google things like "easy chicken recipes", look for websites that do it all for you, like saving dinner-- I think they several free sample weekly menus from vegetarian, to lower calorie, to frugal, and crockpot their stuff comes with a shopping list, easy directions, nutritional information and substitutions. There are other sites like it- good luck! You can do this!!!

02-02-2011, 01:14 PM
It has already been said. if you can read you can cook . Get a basic beginners cookbook and start. Find recipes that use few ingredients and go for it. I am sure you can find beginners cookbooks by googling.

02-02-2011, 01:48 PM
I think that you are wise in your decision to learn to cook. Your reactions to the diet foods may be allergies and your reactions could get even worse. I am another person who likes the steaming bags. Here are some recipes from Glad (http://www.glad.com/pdf/glad_simply_cooking.pdf) and from Ziploc (http://www.ziploc.com/Recipes/Pages/RecipesHome.aspx). Cooking Light (http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/) has some good tutorials and videos on how to cook.

02-02-2011, 03:25 PM
I'll be the one person who doesn't say you have to cook. Weight Watchers has the grossest, most chemical-y food in the world and I would not eat it. However, I frequently eat Healthy Choice steamers for lunch and stuff. I work full time and go to school full time and I am not invested in making my own convenience meals. Some of the Healthy Choice steamers are not the most flavorful things in the world, but they at least aren't all filled with fake crap. And some are pretty good.

Petite Powerhouse
02-02-2011, 03:41 PM
A significant problem with living on even the healthier processed food, like Healthy Choice meals, is that they are high in sodium. Over-ingestion of sodium is something that is only now starting to get the attention that it needs. It is a real health concern.

In fact, even when you cook for yourself, you need to pay attention to sodium. If you buy canned beans, for example, you'll be amazed at how sodium levels can differ from one can to another. And bread, too, is high in sodium. To get sodium levels down where they ought to be, you really have to be vigilant.

02-02-2011, 03:49 PM
The average Healthy Choice steamer meal has <600mg of sodium. That's 25% of the RDA. Unless everything else you are eating is exceptionally high in sodium, it should't be a problem for one meal to have 25% of the RDA in it. I eat one for lunch every day basically and I rarely hit 1800mg of sodium for the day with everything else I am eating.

Petite Powerhouse
02-02-2011, 03:54 PM
^ Agreed. I was talking about getting most of your calories from meals like that—literally living on them, which it sounds like the OP is doing.

02-02-2011, 04:17 PM
If you're unsure about your cooking skills, I find it easier to cook on the weekends, portion out my meals and then just reheat. I will say i cook decently well, but my worse meals come when I'm stressed and rushed. So if you take more time on the weekends, or whenever you have time to dedicate to cooking, try to make extras to reheat throughout the week.

You also don't have to cook super difficult things. Cut up veggies to make sandwiches. Buy lunch meat to chop up for salads. Pasta is easy and rice isn't much harder. You can always buy pre-cooked chicken, although its not that hard to cook it. Buy veggies you like raw or invest in a steamer. Really, basic cooking is totally doable for pretty much anyone.

02-02-2011, 09:02 PM
I'm a "new cook" also. Well, I'm getting a lot more experience, but I've just really been cooking for the last year or so. I learned quite a few things as I started eating healthier, but even then, I'm content eating the same recipes over and over and over. I got married recently, and now I cook every night so I'm having to learn quick! I've actually made some pretty fantastic things though, and it can be fun.

My problem is I need things to be explained to me in an idiot-proof way, and a lot of recipes are written for an audience of experienced cooks. I don't know what a lot of the techniques and such are. I need them to explicitly explain every detail in the process. But if I come across something that I don't understand, I either google it (there are a lot of how-to videos on youtube) or just find an easier version of the recipe :)

02-11-2011, 08:36 PM
Thank you everyone.

02-11-2011, 11:55 PM
I think some diet foods also have selenium in them which makes my sister very sick. She can't eat them either.

Just want to clarify so people don't think selenium is something to try to avoid (unless you know for certain you have an intolerance).

Selenium is an essential trace element found in many foods, including chicken, beef, turkey, and tuna but the best sources are from plant foods (brazil nuts I believe are the by far the best source).

Most Americans don't get enough selenium from their diet (probably because many are not eating enough plant foods). Any selenium that is found in a food (diet or not) is most likely there because of the foods that contain it. Frozen dinners aren't really known for being overly abundant in the foods highest in selenium, so I'd rather doubt this would be an issue.