In my 70th year I now “see the light”–food is truly medicine. Why did it take me so long to embrace this truth? I’ve come to accept that we humans are, well, a bit set in our ways and changes are made only when we’re ready and not before.
Today’s North American diet is truly killing people. Packaged foods contain chemicals, preservatives, and all sorts of nasty ingredients. Why do we eat them? Because we can; they’re cheap, fast, and satisfying. Our bodies have been programmed–yes, programmed!–to crave those fries, that double decker burger, those cheese balls, that Diet Coke.
I have always struggled with emotional eating. I eat when I’m sad; I eat when I’m happy. Food = love, comfort. So for years I, too, ate fast food regularly; I always ate potato chips which I still crave, but I’m learning slowly that the changes I’m making in my food choices are giving me results I’ve desired for years–weight loss, more energy, and less body pain–three huge issues I’ve wrestled with for far too many years.
I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions but after investing a chunk of money to investigate and treat one of the root causes of some of my health issues, I decided to conduct an experiment. On January 1, 2013 I cut out sugar, dairy, and all animal products. Yes, I went cold turkey, so to speak! I needed to know if food elimination would work for my issues. First thing, it didn’t take long for the weight to start dropping. In the first three months I lost 32 pounds without dieting! Yes, the first two weeks were tough but I was making this sacrifice for ME, intent on living out my remaining years in good health. Here’s what I ate:
Breakfast: two small or one large boiled egg and a piece of toast with Earth Balance spread (no white bread; only gluten-free bread, and definitely no margarine)
3hrs. later: 1/2 cup yoghurt with fresh or frozen fruit or my homemade GF granola
Lunch: Stir-fry veggies with rice noodles (or rice) and lots of fresh seasonings!
3 hrs later: my staple “green drink” with an apple
Dinner: More veggies prepared as: Coleslaw* (fresh cabbage, carrots, radish) with tahini dressing, sprinkled with sunflower seeds; cooked or roasted beats, straight up with some s&p, just as I like them; roasted veggies like onions, garlic, peppers, asparagus…anything really.
3 hrs later: Almond butter on a rice cake or straight up. This combo provides protein and helps you sleep.
I MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BUY IN SEASON, FRESH, ORGANIC, preferably from a local farmer.
IMPORTANT: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day (I drink more just because my body craves it but many people need eight glasses to replenish the loss of their body’s water). No plastic bottled water unless you absolutely have no other choice, and then try and buy spring water. Never leave a plastic bottle in your car on a warm day and then drink it when you return. It’s deadly. You can make your own water AT HOME by filtering tap water to make healthy water you can trust, water that hydrates, and is good for you. Check out www.tiny.cc/RebeccaKool if you want more information.
Before embarking on this journey I set myself up for success. I cleaned out my fridge and my cupboards and either threw away or donated the foods that would sabatoge my plan. This is very important. If chips are in my home, I’ll eat them. Yes, I will. I learned to read labels. If there are ingredients I cannot pronounce I put it back on the shelf. You will soon learn to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, staying away from the center aisles where packaged foods reside.
I can’t stress preparation enough; stock your fridge with the good stuff–plain (not flavored) yoghurt (use a little honey or cut up fruit to flavor it). Now that you aren’t buying packaged foods you can afford organic fruits and veggies. I hear you mumble “no I can’t”. I thought so, too. But once you stop buying expensive packaged foods, you’ll be able to buy organic. Eating organic means you are putting the purest food into your body. Please understand that our food is under attack by big corporations like Monsanto who want to GMO everything and control the farmers. A clear and present danger to the health of you, your family, your neighbours. Educate yourself and protest. Ask your local grocer how they identify GMO produce. By law they have to label. Ask what the prefix is on that label and steer clear of it.
My key is to eat every 3 hours. Eat small satisfying snack meals over the space of 12 hours. Mix it up but say within the boundaries you set for yourself. You will never feel stuffed again. You keep your blood sugar stable and don’t “crash” after eating empty calories. Again, being prepared is crucial.
Lastly, please go at a pace that’s comfortable. Living on my own, my withdrawl crankiness only affected me. If you have family and other responsibilities you might want to go slower. Begin with one thing, such as eliminating soda pop and you will make a huge contribution to your health. Next, try sugar or dairy. Go at your own pace.
Next post I’ll introduce you to “raw food”, you know, those cut up veggies and dip you dig into at parties? Raw. Stay tuned. You’ll be amazed.