breaking free from six decades of tyranny

Posts tagged ‘overcoming diet pitfalls’

Worry-Free Holiday Eating

This is an epic holiday season for me. Epic.

For 60 years, I have dreaded the holiday season while salivating uncontrollably. MyBrattyTasteBuds would be screaming “Bring It On!” while my Brain was cowering in the corner of the kitchen in the fetal position, not an ounce of fight left in it.

My non-Paleo signature treat

My non-Paleo signature treat

My signature holiday goodie was a recipe a friend shared with me years ago that was actually on the back of a chocolate chip bag. Amazingly, no one in my circle of friends and family ever saw that recipe, so it gradually became Mine. If someone would have handed me a plate of these More Delicious Than Snickers bars and I ate one or two, Brain would have been OK. But BrattyTasteBuds would insist on making double recipes, cutting off the ragged sides to make perfect bars, and eating said ragged edges so thoroughly no one ever knew they existed. There are a lot of ragged sides on my double recipes.

Back to the Epic Nature of this holiday season. MyBrattyTasteBuds and my Brain are so very happy together now that there is no war. There are no little battles. There is true joy and peace in this household. There are some Paleo goodies around, and they are so satisfying that BrattyTasteBuds politely enjoy a reasonable amount, and then take a long nap. Brain is free to think about more important things than taming taste buds.

Paleo Treats

Paleo Treats made by my daughter. Full of healthy fats and protein!

It is the most amazing thing to be craving-free during the holiday season. It is the most amazing thing to be guilt-free at this time of the year. Amazing. And Epic.

(Recipes for Paleo Treats are easily found online!)

Maybe There Is a Foodie Inside of Me After All

MyBrattyTasteBuds would argue they have always been Foodies, because they would eat anything that tickled their little fancies. They would argue they have always loved food.

And they would have a point. But I’m going with a different definition of Foodie. I’m thinking of a person who likes to know where their food comes from before shoving it in the mouth. Who likes to know how it has been prepared before swallowing. Who enjoys the taste so much that smaller amounts satisfy the stomach. Who never feels guilty about eating.

And that would definitely NOT have been me during the reign of MyBrattyTasteBuds. Ninety-five percent of my meals and snacks were guilt-inducing. They were full of sugar and bad fats, or processed beyond recognition, or enormous.

In honor of this change of status, I finally bought this:

Mortar and Pestle Box

 … And used it to make a delicious spice blend from the awesome book by Diane Sanfilippo, Practical Paleo:

Mortar and Pestle with Spice Blend

… Which I used on a whole roasted chicken, again from Practical Paleo.

I feel very much in touch with ancestors of long, long ago who developed this tool to “process” food in new ways, adding enjoyment to what most likely was a pretty mundane existence. It has definitely spiced up MyBrattyTasteBuds’ lives.

Satisfaction. Guaranteed. Part 2

In Satisfaction Guaranteed Part 1, I talked about my feelings and blood work numbers before and after my Paleo eating change. I showed my BrattyTasteBud Training Regimen (Short Version):

More Water
More Veggies
More Good fats
More quality protein
Very little grains
Little dairy
Little sugar
Unsweetened black coffee as treat

I gave details about drinking more water and eating more veggies. Now it’s on to the rest of the Training Plan.

Examples of healthy fats and oils

  1. Fats. The Worst Word in the Diet Dictionary, right? We’ve been told for so long that fat is bad that we don’t even question it anymore. We’ve replaced fats in our diet with so many other substitutes that our bodies are totally starved for the benefits of fats. Not convinced? There is much solid information about the need for good fats in our diet. Here’s a place to start: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/healthy-eating_b_629422.html. I also love www.marksdailyapple.com for great information about fats. I have found that eating reasonable amounts of good fats (avocado, nuts, nut oils, coconut oil, ghee) is self-limiting. A dollop here, a spoonful there (while cooking, snacking or in a meal) makes MyBrattyTasteBuds very happy. My body is quite satisfied for longer periods as it uses this fuel it’s been designed to burn. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.
  2. Protein eaten as close to its natural state makes MyBuds swoon. Organic eggs, grass-fed beef, minimally processed chicken and turkey, organic raw nuts, nut butters and nut milks are all featured in my meals. I found that eating roasted nuts, even unsalted ones, triggered fist-to-mouth overeating, a clear signal for me that something was off. When I stick to the least-tampered-with choices … SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.
  3. Grains used to be my drug of choice. I do not say that lightly. MyBrattyTasteBuds led me into many a dark alley lined with donut shops, massive cinnamon rolls, pecan pies, light and fluffy breads, rich cakes, fresh summer corn on the cob, oatmeal, chewy artisan breads … and I indulged at will. MyBrattyTasteBuds fought me on this one, big time. Every time I contemplated eliminating grains, they would begin to chant: “You’ll never be able to do it!” If I’m perfectly honest, they are right to a degree. I still eat one piece of sprouted grain bread a day to keep my grain monsters at bay. However, my body has been very clear that blood-sugar spikers such as white bread and kettle corn bring on massive migraines. I would not have discovered the cause of my migraines had I not taken out the grains, and then indulged in one, only to get slammed with the headache. Very soon, I am going to experiment with getting rid of that last piece of daily grain. We will see if I am satisfied!
  4. Dairy has never been high on my list of must-haves … except for ice cream … and that leads right into sugar. MyBrattyTasteBuds always preferred their sugar wrapped in some kind of bread, preferably deep-fried or laden with unhealthy fats. Ice cream on the side used to be perfectly acceptable. I put dairy and sugar reduction at the bottom of my Training Plan because they were the easiest to cut. If I was consistent with water, veggies, good fats and high-quality protein, I didn’t even think about dairy and sugary foods. (There is a very nice coconut-based frozen “ice cream” that MyBuds love.) SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.
  5. Coffee. Full of anti-oxidants. I have never wanted anything in my coffee but the good old bean and water. I nurse four espresso shots over 24 to 36 hours and don’t give it much thought. The smell of coffee brings strong, positive emotional responses for me. If there is a downside to coffee, the emotional boost I get outweighs it. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

If you have BrattyTasteBuds and decide to give any of my Training Plan a try, let me know. I would love to hear your questions, experiences, challenges and successes!

Satisfaction. Guaranteed. Part 1.

Before BrattyTasteBud Training: wake up hungry, eat breakfast, get hungry, eat snack, get hungry, eat lunch, get hungry, eat snack, eat another snack, eat dinner, eat seconds, eat dessert, eat after dinner snack, feel bloated, feel guilty, review all food choices, berate BrattyTasteBuds, go to sleep, wake up and begin again.

After BrattyTasteBud Training: wake up a little hungry, drink water, have small protein smoothie, work out, drink water, eat brunch, feel satisfied, drink water, eat afternoon snack, get a little hungry, drink water, eat dinner, feel satisfied, eat a very small dessert, drink water, go to bed. No guilt.

Current results of BrattyTasteBud Training as measured by my dietician using OMRON Body Composition Monitor:
(Numbers are from start date of Jan. 31, 2012, June 27, and August 22, 2012)
Weight: 152 / 137 / 133 (lost 19 lbs.)
BMI: 26.7 / 24 / 23 (was overweight, now in normal range)
Body Fat Pct: 38.6 / 33.8 / 30.2 (was high, now normal for my age)
Skeletal/Muscle Pct: 26.4 / 28 / 29.8  (was mid-normal, now high normal)
Body Age: 60 / 53 / 48 (I’m getting younger! Calendar age is 60)
Visceral Fat Level: 8 / 7 / 6 (less than 9 is normal)

BrattyTasteBud Training Short Version:

More Water

More Veggies

More Good fats

More quality protein

Very little grains

Little dairy

Little sugar

Unsweetened black coffee as treat

 BrattyTasteBud Training Details:

  1. Drink 80 ounces of water throughout day. This is a challenge and everyone is SICK of my way-too-frequent bathroom visits BUT BrattyTasteBuds have a tendency to confuse thirst with hunger. If I give them enough water, they quiet down nicely. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.
  2. Add veggies to every meal. Make every meal 2/3 veggies. Yes, even breakfast. Who says you can’t have a salad first thing in the morning? Throw in a hard-boiled egg, bacon, avocado, some tomato and drizzle a little almond oil/balsamic mix … SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.

To be continued …

Summer Paleo Cobbler

Farmer’s Markets are the BEST! I scoped out the Boise (Idaho) Saturday Market this week with my daughter and two of her daughters. Three-generational outings make my heart smile!

Boise has a strong population of refugees. Many hard-working men, women and children lovingly nurture mini-farms as part of the Global Gardens program. We stopped at one of their stands and bought green beans and one bunch of a leafy African green (I can’t remember their name, but it started with an “m”. Let me know if YOU know what they are called and I’ll update this post.)

It was Berry Day at the Market. I picked up blackberries and boysenberries to share with my 92-year-old berry-lovin’ mother-in-law. (She loved them!)

In the evening I used them to make my No-Bake Paleo “Cobbler”.

Berry Cobbler

Coconut Milk, Agave Nectar, Go Raw Ginger Cookies

Making this Cobbler involves placing berries, coconut milk, cinnamon, and a squirt of agave nectar (depending on sweetness of berries) in a bowl, and crumbling the cookies on top. That’s it.

Summer Yummer, for sure!

Airport Paleo? Yes!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel. The smell of jet fuel immediately gets all twenty types of endorphins flowing. I get giddy and tingly and expectant. But if the body is flooded with endorphins, it thinks something awful is coming. And it would be right.

Airline cuisine. Airport dining. Travel food in general. Not on anyone’s bucket list of dining experiences. Unless you adore tiny bags of miniature pretzels. Or love puny packages of peanuts.

Now try eating Paleo on planes. Ain’t gonna happen … gotta bring your own food. I can handle that. But the layovers at airports are often forced “cheat days” with foods I don’t even WANT to cheat with!

I was THRILLED this month to find not only a Paleo-worthy meal at the Salt Lake City airport, but a reasonably priced Paleo-worthy meal:

Greek Souvlaki Chicken Stick

This find was served at a Greek-themed food court establishment. They called it a Chicken Stick. It was offered as a side and priced under $5! The chicken was tender and succulent, the veggies grilled nicely and the whole thing seasoned superbly. I added a side salad … more great veggies and a delicious oil/vinegar dressing. I don’t usually go for dressings, but I devoured this!

Just thinking of that meal gets my happy chemicals flowing. Can’t wait to get back to the airport and have this again.

A Bite Will Do It

My wonderful dietician has given me lots of hints …. all of which have truly pleased MyBrattyTasteBuds. One that I’ve been experimenting with is something MBTBs and I are calling BiteSmall.

We just concocted and consumed this BiteSmall:

banana bread with cashew butter

It’s half a slice of Paleo Banana Bread with about a teaspoon of cashew butter, rolled in a bit of cinnamon/palm sugar.

I discovered if I ate a whole slice of the banana bread, I experienced heartburn. I stayed away from the bread for a few days, and the heartburn disappeared.

So far, no heartburn with this BiteSmall! TasteBuds smiling as I write!

Addiction and Why Paleo People Don’t Eat Wheat

Last year, I mentioned a fact about my appetite to several people I’ve known all my life. These people have never had a weight problem. One belongs to an older generation, so she grew up on real homemade foods, and is an excellent cook. She does not eliminate any foods from her diet, but eats responsibly. The other is my age and has been vegan for many years.

I mentioned that no matter how much I ate, I never felt full. And along with that, I never really felt hungry. My appetite-o-stat was non-functional. I thought they would nod and say, “Yeah, me too.” I thought it was normal.

Nope. They looked very puzzled. Neither had any idea what I was talking about.

Those two moments started me on my quest to understand what was going on with me. I knew my weight fluctuations weren’t good for me, but I had been around lots of people who were on the same roller coaster as I was … hence, the feeling that there was something normal about it.

After reading about Wheat Belly I am wondering if MyBrattyTasteBuds were victims of a wheat addiction.

I did love bread. Breads. All kinds. One piece easily led to another. Sandwiched between episodes of bread eating was dessert eating. Sweet breads were my special delight. I won’t list them here because that would be kind of like remembering them in a worshipful way, which takes me to a dark place.

So perhaps MyBrattyTasteBuds didn’t really have a chance. Or really a choice. Once the wheat hit the system, it was BingeTime.

Dr. William Davis, in “Wheat Belly”: “For some people, wheat is addictive. And, in some people, it is addictive to the point of obsession… Understanding that wheat, specifically exorphins from gluten, have the potential to generate euphoria, addictive behavior, and appetite stimulation means that we have a potential means of weight control: Lose the wheat, lose the weight.” (page. 44).

[There is a lot more information about properties of wheat that apparently wreak havoc on our bodies in Dr. Davis’ book. On his blog, he makes this disclaimer: “Nothing here should be construed as medical advice, but only topics for further discussion with your doctor.”]

I am not totally wheat free, but I have cut dramatically down on wheat products. Like last night when cooking spaghetti for the grandkids, I taste tested a strand for done-ness. And I used a corner of a piece of bread to soak up some of the Paleo spaghetti sauce. But neither of those activities triggered a binge or even the desire for one. I admit to one piece of Ezekiel bread a day, but no binge trigger there either.

One payoff of eating Paleo for me? For the first time in my life, my appetite-o-stat is working. It feels AMAZING to feel hunger, eat the right amount of the right foods, and feel satiated afterwards. Understand, this is a new feeling for me.

And I’m *almost* a Paleo person who doesn’t eat wheat. Now I have a better idea why Paleo people don’t eat wheat.

Weird Week

The Brain: Weird part: prepping for a colonoscopy, which meant seven days of no supplements, three days of low fiber eating (white bread! white potatoes! no raw veggies! no raw fruits!), and almost two days of liquid diet (slurpee! lemonade! popsicle! milkshake!).

Weirder part: MyBrattyTasteBuds were grossed out. At first, they did an embarrassing happy dance about the white bread. They had such fond memories of their time with that stuff. The only white bread around was hot dog buns (from the grandkid stash), so I slathered some smooth almond butter on those bad boys while MBTBs squealed in anticipation. We took a big bite … of … AIR. That’s what it tasted like. Air. With a slight aftertaste of cardboard. Couldn’t even register the almond butter. Here’s the KickInThePants part: the hot dog bun was 110 calories of cardboard air.

Taste Buds: How in God’s Green Earth can anyone down a slurpee? I’m not sure when slurpees were invented, but we did NOT grow up on those things. We’ve had a sip or two over the years, but never an entire SMALL slurpee. We were driving up the mountain to a friend’s house and needed a clear liquid to keep our strength up while prepping for the abovementioned procedure. I’ll walk you through this. First sip … somewhat refreshing, but very sweet and awfully blue. Tenth sip … very, very sweet and even bluer. Last sip … disGUSTing. We were forced to abort mission with about two inches of neon goo left in the cup.

The Brain: The last time I had a colonoscopy, a benign polyp was removed. The polyp part was scary, but the benign part erased that fear. So over the years, I relinquished eating control to the MBTBs, giving in to their tantrums and letting them thumb their little noses at my stern nutrition lectures. I would give half-hearted efforts to reform, but if anything in the job/social arena broke my concentration, MBTBs were there to dictate. When I scheduled this colonoscopy, scary thoughts returned. What had I let MBTBs do to me? Even though I had spent the last ten months gradually changing my diet for the better, would there be more polyps?

Taste Buds: They gave The Brain some nice medicine for the procedure, and we were very relaxed. But we have to admit, we were a little nervous, too. We have finally (almost) accepted what The Brain insists upon: we HAVE to do our part in this health thing or there won’t be any more US. So as much as The Eyes wanted to close, we forced them opened and watched the entire show on the monitor. We got to see the place that has to deal with the results of our tyranny. We got up close and personal with The Colon.

The Brain: As I came out of the fog of sedation, I waited for the doctor to discuss the results and the plan. Those were the nurse’s words. The Results. The Plan. Thank goodness anxiety and sedation can’t coexist or I would have been pacing.

Taste Buds: The Brain let me tell this part: The Results … no cancer, no polyps, a little diverticulosis. The Plan: a high fiber diet. HA! We’ve GOT THIS! Amazingly and astonishingly, four days of a low fiber diet about did us in. Bring on the veggies! Make us a Green Smoothie! Some seeds, please! Fruit for breakfast and dessert. Oh, and a bite or two of chocolate …

CAUGHT in the Act!

Sooooo, Bratty Taste Buds, I understand you hijacked this blog and posted all about how misunderstood you are, how you have been laying low and waiting me out, how you are all about “love” and “malleability” and “kindness” and peace, joy and happiness.

Right? Riiiiiight!

So, why then, after saying how much you loved the Smoothie (and I truly believe that you did), did you go all RabidForChocolate on me? And what about the coconut cookie? And the ice cream? And I know there was more over-the-top noshing going on, but The Brain became enveloped in some kind of weird fog and lost touch with any form of dietary reality.

THAT’S why I’m still not able to trust you, Bratty Taste Buds. Just when I think you are truly happy, that little gleam sneaks into your eye (figuratively speaking of course) and before I know it, you have hijacked more than my technology … you are running rampant in the kitchen!

I realize I ran out of your favorite Paleo treat and that may have set you off. I also realize that I stocked up on some grandkid treats, making the pantry more like Disneyland than a health-food store. And I know from experience that the busier The Brain gets, the more demanding you get. And it was a very busy day.

But I don’t forgive you, yet. I am trying to create a wonderful world for you … a place you can inhabit and enjoy, a place that will meet all your needs, satisfy your cravings … essentially rock your socks off (again, in a figurative sense). Your world has to be able to co-exist with my world, the world of The Brain as you like to call it. Because The Brain is in charge of health.

And without health, Little Buds, there is no me. And if there is no me, there is no you.

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