Adventures in clean eating
The challenge for me is to reduce my intake of sugar. I live with 2 teenagers and a husband who works at New Seasons Market the best grocery store in town! He brings home lots of tempting treats and I have no problem with this except I have begun to feel my pants get tighter, my energy get lower and other health problems start creeping in including more frequent and more sever migraines which I have suffered with my entire life. I don't believe that there is any one right way to eat for everyone. For me right now, it's cutting the sugar and the up and down roller coaster of hunger that carbs puts me on.
I didn't follow any specific plan, but I was inspired by the Whole 30, Dr Ann Childer's talks on blood sugar and emotions, Dr David Ludwig's book Always Hungry and Josh Turknett's Migraine Miracle.
I won't get into the ugly details, but the first few days were rough. Getting off the sugar roller coaster was ugly. I used whole dried fruit and nuts between meals to help with cravings and hunger pangs. These helped. I would keep dried apples and dried cherries nearby. I would practice mindfulness by being really aware of just how many I would need to eat to satiate my cravings rather than blowing through a bag while watching TV. By day 3 those were mostly gone. I couldn't believe it! My energy was intense and focused on the third and fourth days. I had to remind myself it was time to eat, which for a person with life long low blood sugar issues, this felt amazing.
The first challenge was a meal out with friends before a concert. the menu was filled with delicious stuffed pastry shell and meat dishes. The salads didn't have meat in them. Finally I settled on a burger without a bun. My first observation in eating this, is that my normal feeling of fullness after about a third of my meal never happened. I realized that full=bloated for me. Without the bun, the bloating never came! I thought to myself, this doesn't bode well for my waist line at all!
The next challenge fell in what to feed myself when my family loves on carbs. When I made lasagna for them, I cut up thin slices of zucchini and used the sauce to make myself a separate meal of stacked zucchini rather than noodles. I did the same with an enchilada casserole I've made for years. Both dishes were delicious.
I found breakfast to be the most important meal to set my blood sugar on the right track for the day. For this, I found a simple and delicious solution. Bacon! Bacon is an approved food on this eating plan. I would cook a couple slices of bacon, then I would add some mushrooms to the pan to saute. I'd slice up tomato and avocado and I had a delicious filling breakfast! I had lasting healthy fats to start my day off. And I had the whole day to burn them off too! Sometimes I would add sweet potato kale to the mix for added nutrition. Sweet potato is a heavy on the carb food, but most ancestral diet people argue that they are so full of nutrients it's worth the trade off. And I didn't notice any challenge with my blood sugar with them included.
Cravings for sugar during the day all but disappeared. I did find that my evening cravings were never quite gone. For some reason in the evening after dinner I would dream of healthy ways to make a cinnamon roll! Another approved sweet on many ancestral diet eating plans is dates. So I found myself thinking that a date or two was about the best food in the whole wide world!
My findings after three and a half weeks of eating like this? My energy has been much more sustained throughout the day. I needed a lot less food. After day 3, it just wasn't that hard. my body stopped calling for the sugar. From what I understand about the process, my body began using the healthy fats I was eating as fuel rather than glucose. This is called ketogenic diet. I don't think I was a purist about this, but the experience intrigued me. Another bonus is that as the Migraine Miracle professes, I have not had a headache this entire time! Now this is big! This is coming from a person who has gotten them as long as I can remember. Doesn't acupuncture help you might ask? Sure! It helps a lot to prevent or to lessen them, but for me, they never go away. A strange side effect of this way of eating that I never would have thought about is that my body odor has disappeared. I wouldn't say I'm a stinky person, but I certainly need to reapply my deodorant half way through the day. So those around me may say that this is a great side effect. Another side effect is that so many things taste sweet to me that really aren't sweet at all. My coffee and broccoli are two things that surprised me the most. Broccoli tastes like sugar to me now!
Is this way of eating sustainable for me? NO. I love my food too much. Did I reset my inner sugar monster? YES. I know that doing this reset on my carb and sugar cravings is a great thing to do every once in awhile. It's just so hard to get over that initial 3 days. Now that I'm here, it's tempting to stay here. I have decided that I'll enjoy a really good dessert once a week rather than having one every night! I'll keep you posted along the road! Thanks for your interest.