True Confessions: I Fell Off the Wagon

First of all, I want to thank everyone who read my recent post on How to Feel More Beautiful. It's been one of my most popular articles of all time so I appreciate the support. I have a confession, this is not an April Fools prank, I haven't been living a very healthy lifestyle lately. I've let my stress get the best of me. I've been having a love affair with Starbuck's Cocoa Cappucino. It started rather innocently as just one or two a week, then I would replace the Cappucinos with less expensive coffee like just the ole house cup from Cafe Selmarie, a much loved local establishment that serves Intelligentsia (my favorite coffee). Then I realized that I'm drinking coffee almost every day. I'm not a morning coffee drinker. I prefer it late in the day when my day feels a bit boring! Boredom motivates my bad behavior more than anything. Coffee for me serves as an anti-depressant. I love it on those cold and gray days. No wonder it's so popular in my other favorite city, Seattle. Ironically, I sleep like a baby when I drink it.

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Dear Starbuck's Cocoa Cap, You are less calories and dairy than the other drinks but you don't love me as much as I love you therefore I will have to say good-bye.

In addition, to the coffee I also have been indulging in a little too much red meat, salty chips (organic yes, but still salty) peanut butter and chocolate. I think all of the above are fine in moderation if you can do moderation. I notice I tend to crave food from the "fire element" group according to Traditional Chinese Medicine: chocolate, wine, and coffee. I believe this is because my digestion moves rather slowly and these foods "fire me up".

Like a lot of people with food allergies I feel like I am constantly saying "no". My "No" list includes: dairy, wheat, gluten (most grains actually), soy, eggs and nightshades (which aren't a true allergy they just hurt my joints). I'm also hypoglycemic so sugary foods and alcohol do not serve me well. Then again when I say "No" to these foods I'm saying "Yes" to feeling better, looking better, dual-nostril breathing, mental clarity, good moods and greater energy.
I had a sobering moment the other morning when I woke up with the worst cramps ever. For the men reading this post who don't know what I'm talking about cramps like this feel kind of like when you are in an airplane and you have that odd sense of your organs being re-arranged. Now imagine that feeling while simultaneously being punched in the stomach. I get the chills. I want to throw up. I turn white. Pain has a way of getting my attention.
Whenever I indulge in too many toxins my body tells me "enough". Dr. Neal Barnard has mentioned in his work the value of eating a low-fat vegan diet as to promote a healthier (a.k.a. less painful) period. Perhaps I've been absorbing too many hormones from the milk via the coffee and red meat (although I try to buy organic). I no longer want to wake up writhing in pain like that so I am motivated to clean myself up. Now despite all those poor habits I've been indulging in, I still love myself. That was all just an experiment that didn't work so now on to some things that will work:
  • Replacing chocolate and coffee with bitter greens, which are also apart of the "fire group".
  • Adding more yoga to my workout routine. Yep, I need to breathe more.
  • Accept my sensitivity as a gift. I'd rather have my body tell me what it needs NOW than hear it from a doctor later on.
  • Eating mindfully without the television on. I still haven't mastered this one. It just still feels really boring to eat without something on but when I do I'm amazed at how little I really need and how much better digestion works.
  • Eating only when hungry. This one is tough for me as my cravings are pretty fierce but I will walk them off when I can and use my own Distraction Tips.
  • Eating less red meat and stick with the protein sources that work for me. I will be eating more veggies, smaller amounts of animal protein just like the Okinawa do.
  • Staying motivated. When I eat right I feel right and I look forward to my next cycle which I will not experience holding my guts on the bathroom floor.
  • Using those sea veggies collecting dust in my cupboard instead of eating chips. Even those "healthier" chips do not work for me. I still retain water. Salty food cravings are usually a sign of a mineral deficiency. Sea veggies are a great high-mineral food source.
  • Changing my belief system. A part of me still considers healthy eating to be lame. Cool people drink and eat bad. Being bad is fun. Yes, I know that is silly. I'm a work in progress, what can I say.
  • I'm going to give my body what it really wants and that is a real day off!! I haven't had a real day off when I do nothing (or nothing but fun stuff) in months. I think the last time I did that was my 40th b-day back in November. What is hard about this one is the tremendous amount of guilt I feel. There's so much I need to do. Plus there's that critic in my head, "Well you don't actually deserve a day off it's not like you're a busy mom or something. You are just single you and didn't you just chill out on the coach the other night watching Top Chef and now you want a whole day off?" I'm telling my inner critic that if I savor this one complete beautiful day off I will then be more productive and happy, and therefore have less food cravings.
  • I'm going to make this process as fun as possible. I love the adventure of trying new recipes. I am going to get support from the many people I know who are also on a healthier path.
Notice on this list I use the word "less" and not "none". I don't want to be too hard on myself as that has a way of back-firing. Sometimes having a piece of allergy-free cake is really satisfying especially when I've had fun baking it, look forward to eating it, savor it on a nice plate and feel like I've earned. It's not fun when I eat that cake out of stress over the sink with my bare hands. Vive la difference.
I'm also considering doing a Juice Feast when the weather warms up. I'm going to cleanse with green smoothies, not just juice. I don't want to waste away. I'm planning a short "feast" like 7-10 days, some folks will do this for up to 92 days. Believe it or not my body is craving this but I know I will be most comfortable with this when the weather warms up. Of course, once I do I will keep you all posted.

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