I have been thinking about some chats I have had with friends recently. All were congratulating me on sticking with my diet changes and asked how I avoid food temptations. Like how have I not eaten pasta in 8 months or how do I avoid popcorn at the movies theater and so forth? Well there are a lot of reasons but it mostly came down to two things. First, I do not want to be sick anymore. Second, I like food too much. See, in case you do not already know this about me ;-) I am a food snob. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE food but I love good food, real food, well made food. Some old popcorn with oil and powdered butter does not tempt me. Well honestly, it temps me when I walk in the movie theater but I know when I get it in my mouth I will not be happy.
That is it! When I have a treat, I want it to be worth it. I want to savor it. When I am running around and am tempted to just pick up anything to eat, I stop and think. "Do I really want this to be my cheat?" Because I only get a few cheats a week. If it was more than that, it would not be a cheat but a lifestyle. And if I am going to have a food lifestyle it is not going to be on cheetos, grocery store doughnuts and coke! No it will be salads freshly picked from the garden, perfect pastured bacon and artisan cheeses. Well those foods take time and thought.
When you have time and thought, you can really think about what you want to eat and what you should eat. It gives you time to decide how much you want those doughnuts. For me the question is also, how good are those doughnuts? I will love them? Are they worth ruining the 3 miles I walked? How much will they set me back? Nine times out of ten the answer time ends up being no and that keeps me on track. It also frees me up to really enjoy my splurges. Which by the way you will never hear me say cheat. This is another post I will write soon but I do not talk bad about food anymore. Well real food, I do not talk bad about real food. So I do not cheat, I spurge and when I do, I do it with a full heart. I stop, enjoy every morsel and feel no guilt.
Do you struggle with saying no to food that makes you sick? Are you feeling pulled all over the place like a small child by foods that is unhealthy for you? Do you not know how to say no? Well first you need to unhook yourself from those foods. Which I will not lie, it is not easy. I suggest not eating them for 4 week. Yes a month! You need to curb your cravings. You need time to heal your gut. (By the way did you know that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system? Keep getting sick? It might have to do with what you eat and how it affects your gut.) I also found when I stopped eating certain foods I did not want them anymore. Take pasta for example, I did not eat it for 8 months and when I did it tasted weird to me. I do not miss it.
Mostly what I wanted to say in this long post is to pull out your food snob. When you are tempted, when you body is screaming for something you should not eat, when you feel lazy, stop and think. Ask yourself if it is really worth it? Do I want to sabotage my goals, my health for that? Now the answer to that ding-dong might be yes but then SAVOR it. Plan for it, make it your treat, not a last-minute-give-in. Love what you eat. Love it unabashedly. I have a saying (ask all my friends) “What if I die and this is my last meal?” Do I want to have died after eating a micky d’s burger? Heck no! I love food too much to eat that. More importantly I love myself too much!
Ohhh this was a hard message for me to learn in my youth. I wanted to be a friend to everyone and ended up being a doormat to a lot. It was hard to learn to say no. I ended up looking like a ... well you know what. But I realized I did not have to sacrifice myself for others. Also if someone wanted me to sacrifice who I was, then they really were not a friend in the first place!
PS there is times on ones life where you are called to give above and beyond yourself but that is a specific situation. Not a full time thing.
I have several goals this year. 1.My hubby. We have been very busy the last few years and have not had much time for eachother. That will change this year (we are hiking together). 2.To finish the next Wren novel. 3.Of course my health. To continue to make slow but deliberate steps towards health, including accepting my faults. They make me who I am! What is your goal?
Well after 11 months of eating really low carb, I was wondering how I should handle the holidays. I decided to eat what I wanted but in moderation. Actually if I eat too much carbs now I get really sick (which is interesting because I was not like that before I started this whole thing). I had treats this holiday because I did not want to feel deprived. In my opinion feeling deprived undermine long term health goals. So I enjoyed my homemade popovers but had a bigger helping of salad. Having said that over the month my starch/sugar carvings have been creeping up and up. I have been waking up in the middle of the night this past week wanting cookies (which I normally never do). So I need to detox but first I need a plan.
I would like to acknowledge that it is NOT easy detoxing. Cravings are a strong thing and do not feel bad about your cravings. Do not feel bad if you feel unhinged, out of control and crazy woman when you cut out sugar or bread. That first week, 11 months ago, I cut out sugar was awful with a capital A. I was soooo grumpy, could not sleep and nothing made me happy. The good new is it does get better and in time (but not right away) you even loose a lot of those cravings. Heck if I can do it (I have NO self control. As a girl I would unwrap my Christmas gifts, look at them, re-wrap them and no one was the wiser on Christmas day because I could not wait) you can do it!
Now I could just cut everything out at once but I plan to break it up in 2 parts. First I am cutting out starches, like bread and potatoes. I am not craving them as much as I do sugar. So I will will deal with the smaller hill, so too speak, first. After a week, if my cravings are still really bad then I will wait another week before tackling sugar. Next I will then cut out all sweeteners (including most fruit). Which will be really hard for me. I do have one treat I allow myself that is 90% chocolate. When I think I am going to buckle and cave in, I take a nibble of really dark chocolate and that seems to help. After about 2 weeks of feeling really bad and grumpy, I will start to feel better. The cravings will calm down and the sun will come out!!
So I encourage you to own your health and make changes in a way that works for you. Detoxing all at once might be best but feel free to break it down if it seems too overwhelming. I found as I succeeded in one area, I felt more confident as I moved to another. Really if I can conquer my sugar cravings, then everything else seems easy after that. Look at what you really crave. It is probably what you should NOT be eating. Everyday is a new start, a new choices. If you messed up yesterday, you can do better today. Remember a hill is climbed one step at a time, not all at once xox
Some tips to help you detox
Drink LOTS of water. If you can handle a tsp. or two of raw cider vinegar in your water, that really helps too.
Make sure you have nothing big happening in your life those first few days, like a Dr appointment or visitors.
Find something non-food to pamper yourself. For me it is flowers. I buy myself fresh flowers every week.
Go for a walk.
Read. This seems counterproductive but reading about cooking makes me feel better (I know I am weird). Do what works for you!
Deep breathing exercises really help. And long bubble baths too!
Keep a journal. Write down why you are doing this, so in weak moments you can remind yourself why you started this whole thing.
Tell your family what you are going to do. Tell them to be patient with you. Tell them you need their help. Ask them to hid their candy. Let them know you will not be cooking treats for a bit. Do not feel bad doing what you need to for you and including them in this. I made my girls make the bread for a while. I just could not do it.
You can read about my whole lifestyle change journey here !
Happy Christmas eve! Thought I would share some random photos of my home!
This hanging frame is my second favorite thing I did this Christmas. It is in my little entry-way room. Thank goodness for fishing line. I love the stuff!
Isn't this antique yarn holder amazing? A good friend let me barrow it for Christmas. This and covering all the pillows with wool fabric and antique crochet lace really added to our Chruchmouse yarn theme!
I have to say out of all the projects we did for this years theme,Churchmouse Yarn & Tea, this is my favorite. I guess because it came out just as I pictured in my head. I wanted to do a table-top village bit something with real plants and moss. Plus remember no glitter, fake trees or plastic building. This is what I did.
I took a large, very heavy silver tray and lined it with heavy plastic.
Then I dug up some dirt from my raised beds (I had to watch for earth worms. I did NOT want them on my village :-O)
I collected from my garden lots of moss and small plant starts. I found laurel, holly and wild violet. I mound the dirt up around the plants. Also more dirt in the back, so those buildings would be higher than the ones in the front. I covered everything in fresh moss (again watching for bugs and worms as I pulled off sheets of moss from my old stone walls).
I borrowed my mothers charming little houses and all the sheep from our 2 nativity sets. Poor baby Jesus does not have any sheep this year. Evey day I give the whole thing a good spritzing down of water and a little extra water for the plants. It have been a week and I think it will last for the next week until Christmas.
PS, I went to water my village yesterday, as I do every day and noticed the violet is blooming. How cool is that!!
Since our Christmas theme has a Scottish feel, I used that to inspire our Christmas dinner. This is a great menu too because many of the dish (or part of the dish) can be made ahead of time. I will be poaching the salmon ahead, making the custard and herb cheese, as well at the dill sauce a day or two before.
For Christmas morning I am planning on making scotch eggs, fruit and cheese platter, scrambled eggs (we like our pastured eggs), whiskey bacon, sour cherry/lemon zest scones. And who knows what else.
For Christmas Eve, we are going a totally different direction. Tamales, taco salad, beer/bacon drunk beans, cabbage salad w/ lime/cream dressing. All the cookies and candies we have made or have been given. Plus Christmas sangria!!
Last year Churchmouse yarn shop had wonderful paper and tartan plaid cones filled with balls of yarn. We wanted to recreate these. Normally we make a wreath for this mirror but a garland worked better.
First we made cones from roofing paper (I LOVE this stuff. Everyone should own a roll of it). Then covered it with plaid fabric, velvet ribbon and old mother-of-pearl buttons.
The only change we made was to added pine and holly from our garden. I actually pinned each cone to the ribbon with a straight pin. I found it easiest to arrange the cones on the ribbon and you cannot see the pins. I am really happy how this garland turned out!!