I haven’t written about food in a while, and yet I eat it every day.
Real food now, exclusively. In fact, since I’m not eating any processed food, the lack of sodium combined with summer’s blazing heat and my naturally genetically low blood pressure caused me to almost faint twice a few weeks ago. Which led the chiropractor/nutrition guy I’m working with to give me an unusual dictum: eat more salt. So I added (check this out) – potato chips to my regime. The kind with just potatoes, salt and oil. Yeah, I know they’re fried. But that’s my only ‘junk food’ these days.
So I’m 5 weeks into this new regime I’m on, some of which I see as a permanent part of my life (the no sugar for sure, the no wheat most likely and jury is out on no dairy). The part about doing 2 nutritional shakes per day in lieu of real food – that’s a temporary gig, for sure.
It’s all giving me a chance to get WAY conscious about food and to change my mind while I change my body. Since I’m simultaneously working out 2x/week with a personal trainer my body has some opinions about all this change. At first there was a lot of protest, now there’s some acceptance and some delight even – and the need for more sleep. That last surprised me, but it seems to be true. I think the body – like the mind that thinks it’s the boss of the body – are ‘going thru them changes’ and adjusting to it all.
There have been some surprises.
Getting off sugar wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I have known since 1976 (when the book Sugar Blues came out) that sugar is a drug. I wrote about this in another post, so I won’t belabor it, but we even declared it as a drug as we crossed back into the USA from Canada way back in my wild hippie youth. Did not amuse Mr. Customs Man and didn’t get me to drop it when I’d outgrown the whole idea of drugs of any form being anything but a bad idea.
I had a lot of trepidation (me, the queen of hyperbole being so nondescript here! HA! let’s say – ‘near terror’) about letting go of one of my two final drugs (no plans – as in ZERO – of giving up caffeine…).
But it wasn’t a very big deal at all physically. Emotionally, I was angry, cranky and rancorous, which I sort of expected. But that too passed (well, now I’m no more ornery than usual!).
I’ve been surprised that I haven’t craved my old treats. It could be partially because I eat plenty of fruit – which I did in the past, too. I’ve been a fruits & veggies girl for quite some time – it was just that I ate cookies & cakes & ice cream and whatever in addition to my healthier choices. Now watermelon tastes crazy treat-like and a banana seems pretty woop-de-doo. Fresh berries – major yum!
What has been harder has been wheat & dairy especially in my favorite combo thereof, pizza.
Like I said, jury is out in my mind about dairy – I’ve never felt it was healthy to eat as much of it as I used to, but I”m not convinced it’s baaaaaaaad either. And no goat cheese? No brie? no Greek yogurt? Say again why we should go on living?
Wheat though. Hmmm. I have to say I love great bread. I’m not a sandwich person and most store bought bread is not worth much to me. But a good crusty bread – yum. However, I’ve been reading more in The Heart Scan Blog about the effects of wheat, and well, it’s disturbing. I need to do more reading, more research and more checking in with my body, but what I’ve read so far makes me think that a sensible person would at least radically cut down on wheat.
With sugar, as with heroin and the other opiates which it resembles in its effects on our hormonal systems, I don’t think “oh, just a little” is a very good solution. Just like a “a little line of cocaine” is probably not such a great idea for a cokehead or “just one shot and a beer” for a recovering alcoholic.
But that’s all future talk and I’m so into the one day at a time and what I’ve been noticing these past five weeks is how different my refrigerator and pantry looks. And while I don’t want to keep doing this 2 shakes a day craziness, I must say it makes meal prep and cleanup WAY easy :).
And I’m discovering that when I focus on real food, food, as Michael Pollan would say, that my grandparents would recognize, and I’m not dulling my palate with junk – wow, food tastes GREAT! Tonight I made swordfish, on which I put slices of mango. I sautéed some onions and garlic and Swiss chard from my friend Bill’s garden (and put my secret spice on chard —-shhh! nutmeg!). Boiled up some beets from Bill’s organic compost-only garden but by the time they were done, I was full. A few hours later I wanted a little snack and I had a small bowl of watermelon cubes. Yum!
We’ll see what I think of this new food-life once fall and winter come. But now, during the height of summer’s harvests, it’s just one delight after another.
Michael Pollan’s prescription is a good guideline for me. I’m starting with the first part: Eat real food. The “not too much” – well, I’m closer there…. The “Mostly vegetables” – sorry, Michael, I may never get there. But who knows. If you would have asked the Sugar and Dairy Queen here if she’d ever walk away from those major food groups I would have told you “no way!”
How about you? Are you eating differently? If so is it due to the desire for better health & vitality? The localvore and slow movements (and people like Michael Pollan) waking you up? the economy forcing you to cook more and eat less processed food or eat out less? What’s up with YOU and food these days? I really want to know!