The Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend followed 4 non-stop days of eating, drinking and celebrating with family. I awoke from another night of disrupted sleep and weird dreams, staggered to the bathroom on tender and achy feet, peered into the mirror at my puffy face and declared “I gotta do something different. I’m too young to be feeling so achy and blah. I’ll do whatever it takes to feel better.”
This crystalized everything I’d been feeling. Diet effects everything you do and I wanted to try that route. I tried several diets to help with inflammation, but they weren’t sustainable. When I used to teach smoking cessation classes, we were told it takes about 7 attempts at quitting before it finally sticks. I had been reading the Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry, MD, and decided to give it a try. It seemed to be a combination of several other diets I had followed in the past, so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar territory.
Main criteria: it had to be sustainable over time. Once I decided I’m going to do this, I went all in. My kitchen and refrigerator looked like a gardener’s nightmare: multiple vegetables in various states of preparation, an overflowing compost pail (rinds, skins and seeds of plants), numerous jars and bottles of pickled veggies and herbal vinegars scattered about the kitchen. I went crazy experimenting and preparing all sorts of veggies to see which ones I liked. Ease of preparation and the ratio of effort to taste of the final product determined the keepers.
No sugar coating this: The first few days were rough. I’m a sugar bunny. I use it to ‘fortify’ myself before starting an unpleasant activity. And as a reward for finishing said unpleasant activity. No sugar challenges me to be creative in dealing with its’ absence in a healthier way. Bitters and non-synthetic sweeteners such as powdered Stevia (inulin is listed as the first ingredient which helps feed good gut bacteria), Monk fruit and a chicory root-based sweetener called Just Like Sugar have become my go-tos.
Bread was another tripping point. I like the texture of bread. I grew up baking bread as part of my rural 4-H club activity. Saving grace? Being able to use non-gluten flours to make nutrient dense pancakes that satisfied the texture issue. Texture and using a tiny amount of honey to sweeten my morning tea balanced my concern regarding sacrificing the pleasure of taste for health. I ignored the tiny voice saying Are you sure this is worth it? You love bread and sugar. How about bread fresh from the oven? Ok, throw on some sugar and cinnamon too. You know, when you use the two together, the cinnamon reduces your blood sugar levels, right?
Maximizing my efforts, I use a mix of bitters before meals (plus a couple extra squirts on the tongue if a sugar craving rears its’ head), a daily probiotic and herbal teas such as Marshmallow Root and a blend of Nettles plus other herbs.
I no longer ignore the tiny voice questioning Is this worth the effort? It demands a clear “Yes, I am.” The diet is working. I’m feeling better. Is it sustainable? Yes, for now. The next test will be when I visit family for a month in Australia.
Changing a lifestyle/habit is difficult. It involves working with both the inner and outer environments containing the Why This is a Good Thing reasons and changing the physical conditions to support your efforts. You don’t always hit the mark. There are days when everything seems determined to thwart your best efforts. Becoming curious and asking questions to identify the underlying emotional currents is more effective than piling on the should/would haves and taps into more compassion and less self-judgment. Acting from a more compassionate place makes for less anger. Less anger means less stress. Less stress frees up energy to put into things that nourish on both an emotional and mental level. Who wouldn’t want more nourishment? I’ll take second helping of that, please.
Heads up! Want to get control of your diet? Has “life” kept you from starting diet changes? Do you need to jumpstart your momentum? The 10 day Spring detox and food challenge ReBOOT program starts March 16, 2019. When motivation lags and support seems to vanish, we’ve got the program for you! Join Nirvana Abou-Gabal, RD and I as we gear up for another ReBOOT challenge. Fabulous Food. Nourishing Herbs. Supportive Community. .Click here for more information.