Monday, 29 July 2013

Week Two: There is no such thing as comfort food.

I'm going to start this off with a confession. I cheated. 

It was Friday, and I was picking the kids up from my sister in law's, and we started chatting, and she offered me a beer, which I accepted without even thinking. All I was thinking was "it's hot and it's been a long week and a beer would be great". I was about three quarters of the way through when clued in to what I was doing. I finished the beer and confessed to my partner-in-diet and my husband.

I forgot about it shortly after.

It took two days for my gut to forgive me for it. Whoops.

No Such Thing as Comfort Food

Besides the one slip up with the beer, I spent a lot of this second week examining my relationship with food. It made me realize that junk food has always been a source of comfort for me. Had a bad day? You need some chocolate. Something spicy for supper? You need something sweet. Movie night on the couch? You need chips.  Heading back to work in the rain? You should get a hot chocolate. Kids driving you nuts? You better shovel food into that mouth.  Bored? Eat. Tired? Eat. Stressed? Eat.

The absence of comfort food has made me realize how much I depended on it. Every time I turned around this week, when I would normally turn to something yummy to snack on, my choice was a piece of fruit and some nuts, or a yogurt. It was like expecting a hug and being faced with a brick wall. An apple does not make me happy the way chocolate does. Yogurt is not nearly the late night treat that chips are. I was never hungry in these situations, just needed that dose of food, that comfort, those happy feelings.

So this week I'm learning how not to use food as comfort. Don't get me wrong, I love food. I love a great meal. I love caramelized onions on my pizza... peanut butter smeared on a banana... espresso balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over feta in my salad. Love love love food. Just gotta not be so darned emotionally dependent on it.

Had a bad day? Yes. Hungry? Yes. Hungry enough for another apple? No. Get out of the kitchen then.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Wheat Belly Diet: Week One

Ahh, nice to be back after four months of silence. It's been busy, I guess. Started a new job, trained for another round of Tough Mudder, did some reading, tried to garden and enjoy the bounty (win: rhubarb jam, fail: strawberry jam) and just generally kept up after two whirlwind children. One started a fire in my microwave this week. Just your normal household chaos.

The Battle with Sugar

I had completely meant to do a blog post about sugar in the previous months, but got discouraged when another blog I read did a great post on it, so I didn't think I could do it justice anymore. Here is the article if you are interested: Why Sugar is Worse Than Darth Vader

It was around the time this article come out I think that I stopped drinking sugar in my coffee, and went from a double double to a double cream. Man the first few sips were gross. I made several faces. But a month later, I'm still going. Coffee has become less of a sugary treat, and more of a means to an end, but that's ok.

Ready for the Next Step

We were on the drive home from Tough Mudder Montreal when my brother started talking about the book Wheat Belly, and the claims it made. Like if you cut out wheat, it can cure diabetes, heart disease, schizophrenia, joint pain, etc, and when you reintroduce wheat, your symptoms and pain that you had previously instantly come back.

He explained that the author said that wheat is not bad, just that the wheat we are being fed today is bad. Today's wheat no longer resembles the wheat from our forefathers, or even from our grandparents. There has been so many "advances" in how to change the wheat's genetic code without doing any long term testing to see if these genetic modifications are even good for us. The book says: it's not. And, in addition to all the genetic modification going on, that we, as a society, have become too dependent on wheat...that grocery store aisles are full of processed foods that are filled with wheat or sugar or corn that is just waiting to wreak havoc on our blood sugar. Junk food and comfort food make us feel good, and so we eat more of it, and it keeps on making us sicker.

So even though I'm not overweight, or struggling with an illness, I do want to be healthy, I just finished my latest goal, and hey, I'm a sucker for punishment, so why not? The author, Dr. William Davis, also claims the Wheat Belly Diet will give you more energy, higher mental clarity, better sleep and better skin. Sold!

Sign Me Up!

I didn't think I would have much trouble with it. I rarely eat pasta, I can switch out beer for wine, and I'll just make sandwiches with spinach instead of bread. I should note here that Dr. Davis says that if you cut out wheat, then you are likely to start eating other food in its place, and you should make sure that other food is the healthy stuff, not snack food, or processed food, or anything that's going to make your blood sugar spike. He goes a little crazy with this list, including things like: ketchup, canned meat and curry powder. Incidentally, a few things I'm not willing to give up: ketchup, canned tuna, and adding a bit of curry to whatever healthy dish I'm cooking that needs some kick.

Therefore, I'm more doing an interpretation of the wheat belly diet...eliminating wheat completely, but only limiting the other foods. I feel like since I'm not struggling with any serious health issues, and I eat pretty healthy most of the time anyway, that I'm ok with having ketchup on my hamburger wrapped in spinach. I'm still avoiding things that will spike blood sugar, like oatmeal, rice and ice cream. Close enough.

Wheat Belly: Week One

Much harder than I thought it would be. My starting day coincided with another brutal day of the month (you hear me, girls?), which is usually a carb free-for-all time for me, so it was extra challenging. I had a friend decide to try it with me for 30 days as well, so it was nice to have someone to compare meals with. My husband also agreed to try the challenge, but lasted approximately 1.6 days.

Day One and Two were fine. Day Three was long and I just wanted to nap. Day Four was HARD. This was the day of the microwave fire. I didn't sleep the night before for whatever reason, so between that and the hormones, it was just a perfect storm for a bad mood and an itchy, nerved-up craving for something sweet and carby. Managed to survive Day Four unscathed and woke up to Day Five with a better mood, less carb-hunger and a flatter stomach. I ate like crap the week before and the week after Tough Mudder, and was seeing the effects of this, so even though I'm not doing Wheat Belly to lose weight, I was still very HELL YEAH when I woke up on Day Five.

I'm on Day Six now, and feeling much better. I made cauliflower crust pizza for supper for myself last night and it was positively decadent compared to the rest of the week. This morning I had ground flax seed and almond milk as a hot cereal, sprinkled with cinnamon, raspberries and sunflower seeds, and I actually enjoyed it.

The friend who jumped on board with me sent me this, and it is so fitting to my Day Four mood.

So that was my week one of the Wheat Belly Diet, or my interpretation of it, anyway. I have a whole weekend to get through now, including a few beach trips, hopefully. New day, new challenge. Wish me luck!