Photo by László Kiss
Hello and welcome to my blog!
Lateral Eating – eating outside the box, literally – is my food-centered journal, spiced by my ever growing interest in nourishment as opposed to mindless (and often harmful) food consumption.
What can you expect to find here? Restaurant and product reviews, recipes, travel notes, and random food- nutrition- or fitness-related blurbs.
If you’d like a quick intro of who I am, here are the facts:
- Born and raised in Lima, Perú.
- Metalhead since age 9.
- Used to play the guitar in a number of bands.
- Wear mostly black.
- Love to eat and cook.
- Like to read and used to be good at writing.
- Software Engineer: logical, analytic, introvert.
- Trained in commercial cooking with stints in the hospitality industry.
- Married, no kids.
- Moved to Sydney, Australia in 2009.
- Recently completed a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sydney University.
If you have a bit of time and would like to know more, read along.
My love for food started at a very early age, thanks to my Japanese grandmother who still holds the “best cook I’ve ever met” title (mum comes second). My earliest happiest memories involve watching cooking shows with her and eating her delicious soups (one with liver, yum!). I had the privilege of growing up in a country with fresh, flavourful produce, delicious dishes and the cultural traditions that generally help people develop a healthy relationship with food. From mum I learned to be excited about trying new cuisines, restaurants and recipes. Unfortunately, a hard-working mother of 3 is an easy target for the (then novel) processed food industry, and so our family started consuming a lot of crap on a daily basis. My natural shyness and lack of confidence meant I did as little physical activity as possible and thus grew up as a nerdy fat kid who alternated periods of mac’n’cheese and donuts with bouts of every single diet on Earth. Needless to say, I was still fat and started developing a number of chronic health issues.
In my early twenties I started going to the gym regularly and had my first ever consult with a nutritionist. She changed my diet to something more aligned to conventional healthy eating guidelines, which at that time was a step in the right direction. It meant less processed food and starchy carbohydrate, and more fruits and vegetables. I got hooked on the feeling of eating healthy and exercising, lost a bunch of fat and awakened my athletic side (or rather, dug it out of the layer of fat). At one point I was doing taekwondo 4 times a week, weights 2 times a week, tennis once a week and a bit of taebox here and there for fun. I was getting leaner and stronger but ironically also sicker. I had chronic knee pain and severe gastric reflux. I know what you’re thinking: kicking and receiving kicks in the abdomen must have been the cause, right? Well… no, even after I stopped taekwondo a few years later the symptoms kept getting worse.
And got really bad after I moved to Australia. I don’t want to sound like a paranoid but I think it might have to do with the type of wheat that is used here, which I suspect is more similar to the one used in the USA and other industrialised countries. Both my knee pain and gastric reflux got more painful to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night day after day. In 2011 I decided to finally do one of those things that I had “been thinking about” for 4 years: to try “the” Paleo™ diet. At that stage I had already read enough to know that paleo is not “a” diet, but rather a template focused on anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense real foods, that you can – and should – customise based on your individual circumstances. I jumped in with no more expectations than just see what happened. Turns out that many wonderful things did happen and I don’t regret making that decision. I keep tweaking my diet according to whatever is going on in my life and the n=1 experiments I like to run on myself, so in reality I don’t eat strictly paleo any more but I find the word is useful to summarize what I prefer to eat.
I’ve worked as a software developer for 15+ years now, and have been trying to make a career change since I was in first year in uni. Seriously. My love for food made me go to cooking school, but I was too much of a chicken to leave my job (and salary) and start working full-time in the hospitality industry. Instead, I did it on weekends, mostly for fun. My favourite subject in cooking school was nutrition, and after realising how much time I spent reading and learning about the topic, it made perfect sense to choose that career path instead.
I started a combined Bachelor in Science/Master in Nutrition and Dietetics degree in Sydney University in 2012. I know that the scientific community has flaws and that in many cases lacks the critical thinking it’s supposed to promote, but I’m not too worried about that. On the contrary, this motivates me to learn as much as possible to be able to contribute in making science better at helping people.
Training-wise, I moved from martial arts to mainstream-type gym training to Olympic weightlifting. It is one of the hardest sports I have tried and that’s exactly why I still love it: because it challenges me physically and mentally every single day. Lately I have also started doing some Krav Maga as supplementary conditioning training. I realise it would be more cost-effective to do some Crossfit WODs instead but I like contact sports way better. Right now my training looks like: lifting 3x week + KM 2x week. Hard training requires good fuel, and that’s what I mostly write about.
Thanks for stopping by!