I love to talk and read about food. It almost doesn’t even matter WHAT about food – health, nutrition, cooking, gardening, restaurants, recipes, cooking techniques, food cultures around the world, etc. If it involves food to any degree, I am fascinated.
Which might mean I think YOU are interested in hearing all about the minutia of my food life. If you are not, quickly avert your eyes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Over the last couple of months, our eating has really taken a nose-dive. Our CSA subscription ran out and between travel, minor surgery for the friend we split with, and a couple of other things, we hadn’t renewed. I felt like death pretty much constantly, and our sugar intake was through the roof. We weren’t so much doing two desserts a week as two desserts a DAY.
It was not pretty.
As the end of June approached, Bart and I started tossing around the idea of having July be a month for us to get our eating back on track. We didn’t want to do anything too extreme (especially since I’m pregnant), but we wanted to focus on the things we were a little concerned about in our current eating habits and give them a solid month to watch how it affected our energy levels, cravings, etc.
We went around and around about what we wanted to focus on but finally decided on these:
- No sugar (and this isn’t just dessert sugar. This is the sugar in cereal, in baked goods, etc, since in the past we’ve replaced desserts with. . .coffee cake or muffins or 10 thousand bowls of cereal). We’re having very small amounts of things like honey, but we’re talking very very small amounts, like a teaspoon in a main dish. (We did decide we could have one dessert per week).
- Huge amounts of fruits and vegetables. We both felt like this is where we’d really started to fall apart. We had basically lost the produce (especially vegetables) in our diets, and replaced them with sugar, refined carbs, and dairy. No good.
- Very limited animal products. As we’d switched over to a more vegetarian diet since last year, I’d noticed that we were eating many more dairy products, especially cheese. While I’m not opposed to dairy, I don’t want it to be simply a meat replacement in our diet. And it was just becoming too easy for us to rely heavily on string cheese or triscuits with cream cheese for quick snacks.
- More diversified grains. We eat a lot of wheat and I want to branch out a little more this month into other whole grains.
. . . . so all well and good, right?
You guys, I couldn’t hack it. I don’t want to think of myself as someone who attaches that much of my happiness to food, but after six days, even six days of quite excellent meals, I was just so despondent. A month has never seemed so long.
I love food. I love virtually every aspect of food and so this whole thing made me want to die because it felt so restrictive.
And so, on day seven, we gave it up. We still trying to up our vegetable and fruit intake while being a little more reasonable about dairy and sugar, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to find a breakfast that doesn’t include dairy or sugar. All I really want for breakfast is a bowl of wheat chex with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and some freaking milk.
Also, you know how everyone who gives up dairy or wheat or sugar or meat or whatever is like “and after three days, I felt amazing and my hair looked like a movie star’s and my skin was commercial-worthy and I could suddenly run marathons”?
Bart and I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt more tired than normal, and I was obsessed with food. I felt like it was ALL I thought about. I’d go to sleep dreaming about muffins or french toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.
I feel like we eat a pretty healthy diet and we’re constantly trying to improve slightly, but this sort of restriction was just bone-crushingly sad for me. Let me eat in moderation, friends!
So if you are looking for an excuse to not give up things you love, come sit by me and I will enable you. Sugar makes you happy. Dairy is delicious.
(Also, I learned how to make homemade Lara bars which were fantastic and also that dates don’t come pre-pitted. An important life lesson that, happily, no one in our family broke a tooth learning).