I found myself wondering at a world full of such food choices. “All of this, any of this – and I can eat whatever I want?!” I felt as though there should be some rules, and I found that I had none. No guardrails. After practicing such stringent food discipline for three weeks, it struck me as lazy – even irresponsible – that something so important should exist unregulated in my life.
I also have a new appreciation for simple vs complex carbohydrates and how they function inside my body. I can do better than rice Chex with sweetened soy milk for breakfast. Simple carbs and highly-processed foods aren’t poison, of course, but… Well, why is it that I want to avoid them?
I guess I understand how it would make my body lazy to keep feeding it food that is so easy to digest. Work is good for a person. Work is good for our mind and for body. So doesn’t it stand to reason that work is good for our digestive system, too? Mustn’t our health be more robust, the stronger our digestive systems are?
I know this to be true but I shudder at the thought of giving up chocolate, cookies, and beer. Also, aren’t I in the middle of opening a restaurant based around white-flour dough and alcohol?
I remember that, before I gave up soda, I thought I could never live without it. Now, I can’t believe how syrupy and gross it is. I theorize that, after an appropriate adjustment period, I would feel even so much better with a healthy diet that I wouldn’t want to go back.
I ought to summarize my pre-fast attitude towards diet. I believed that, because I could physically outperform my peer group, I was healthy. As long as I kept trim and strong, I could eat or drink as I pleased. That is, the primary reason to concern oneself with diet was its correlation to physical performance. Secondarily, I knew that I felt better if I avoided overeating sugary foods, so I was marginally sensitive to my body’s sugar level. But overall I felt pretty good.
Today I am considering whether there might be a whole ‘nother level of feeling good, accessible via healthy diet. I am concerned with what I would be giving up, but I am also curious about what I might gain. I imagine I could wake up more easily, have more energy, and sleep even better. I could be happier and more cheerful! I could be more patient. I don’t normally think of these things as being diet-related, but I see how they could be. Consider, too, how I would be practicing more mindfulness throughout the day as I actively considered my diet, so this would increase my sense of presence.
Some old food habits I would like to change: I can do so much better for breakfast. No more Chex or sweetened soy milk. Possibly Grape Nuts cereal with unsweetened soy milk. … I know some people take issue with soy milk. Maybe I’ll try almond milk. But I am lactose intolerant. Maybe bran muffins. Maybe bran muffins with raisins. There are so many tasty options, actually!
My lunch of whole-grain bread sandwiches is not so bad. There is a lot of fat in them, but within this new system I will choose fat over sugars and processed carbs. I am pretty sure I can improve the quality of my bread.
Dinner: I need to cut out white rice. I have brown rice and, while I don’t enjoy it quite as much as white rice, I know it is better for me and am fine with making that switch. It is only that it takes almost three times as long to cook, so I have to decide what I am going to have for dinner well in advance.
Alcohol? Big question mark here. I’ve been dry for five weeks now and primarily miss the social aspect of drinking. Maybe a trial rule would be that I can drink as much as I want with friends, but no beers by myself at home. Let’s just see how that works out.
Chocolate? No more chocolate bars, but I can mix a small amount in with my snacks. I will need new forms of snacks. Nuts, I am thinking. Maybe I even try snacks without chocolate at all and just see how it goes. I know that if I don’t have these things around, I won’t eat them (funny how that works!).
Let’s try to avoid foods with added sugars for four weeks and re-evaluate then. No cake, donuts, or candy bars. But also no jelly, banana bread, or hot chocolate. Peanut butter, ketchup, and pickles will be acceptable. Fruit juice in moderation. It’s a wiggly line, but I know I can walk it.