|This ain’t your grandma’s diet.|
Today, I’m laying down my cards for all to see; I’ve always been pretty irritable. Okay, that’s an understatement. I’ve had a slight bitch streak since I was a kid, and it oftentimes came out at those closest to me. Has it bitten me in the arse and made life altogether less happy? Sure. Am I embarrassed about it? Absolutely. I’ve tried to control it and have done a lot to change my life philosophies to squash it since my teen years. For example, it takes a lot less energy to smile and be pleasant to somebody than it does to be rude. My years in customer service helped on this front, too, but when I get hungry or tired or any other myriad of other strange feelings, it still comes out. Let’s just say my husband is a saint.
Going hand-in-hand with my irritability comes my inclination towards depression. (See? Cards, meet table.) From my years in therapy, I can pretty much self-analyze quite well and have determined that the depression is based on the traumatic event that shaped much of who I am, the death of my father when I was three years old. Hormones, general life stresses, and my tendency to over-think things are a big trigger. As long as I’m not on the suicidal train that I once was, I’ve foregone the anti-depressants that once numbed me. But, depression doesn’t go away; you just have to find ways to cope with it in life and find what fulfills you.
Oh, yes, and I’ve had head rushes (you know what those are, right?) for years ‘n years ‘n years. I always thought that it was due to my chronic sinus issues, but it didn’t always make sense. As of the past year or so, my joints have started stiffening and getting sore…more sore than a 29 year old should be experiencing.
Why am I telling you all of this? Really, there is a reason. Yesterday, I was researching the idea of a possible detox. (Don’t roll your eyes yet, wait for it.) I’ve noticed that my weight is at the highest it’s ever been, I don’t feel “in control” of my food choices (and many things in life, actually), and my fatigue level is at an all new high. That factor, the fatigue, is what had me looking up how to re-energize myself, put the passion back into life, and actually get the projects I long to do DONE. Every time I use the bathroom, I feel that I’m letting myself (and my husband…and my cats…and people I’ve never met) down that it’s not complete yet, but the energy just won’t show itself to me.
While researching, I found a silly little quiz to see if a detox is right, or if a different type of change might be needed. This quiz had me answer a variety of questions that hit eerily close to home about my recent fatigue, general lack of energy, depression, joint soreness, head rushes, and even where I’m gaining the weight. After saying “yes” to 16 of the 18 factors, I figured I should look into this “adrenal fatigue syndrome” thing.
After reading more, I determined that a slightly changed diet for a couple of weeks may show a marked difference in my mood and energy levels, and it’s a heck of a lot healthier than drinking only cabbage juice or shooting lemonade with hot sauce (pardon me, I also have serious acid reflux and a hiatal hernia, so that wouldn’t be in the cards for me, anyway – so much acid!!!), or fasting. I’m hoping that this will help me to recharge, both physically and mentally – and, perhaps, spiritually, if I can get my mind wrapped around the concept.
While I’ll be doing more reading to determine how “serious” this diet (I hate calling it that since it’s not like I’m “on a diet” — I’d rather look at the word in what it truly means, ie the foods that one eats) should be, the first couple of weeks I’ll be taking it pretty damn seriously. I’ll be doing the following:
– Way more veggies. Lots ‘n lots ‘n lots. Dave was shocked at how full the fridge was when he opened it today, and I’d say 2/3 of it is veg. Mind you, he did go shopping with me yesterday…I guess it just looks different piled up in the fridge.
– More complex carbs, in the form of quinoa and brown rice – in combination with more legumes, as well.
– Fewer fruits, but when I do eat them (6% of one’s daily intake should be fruit), they have to be certain kinds. Pears, apples, mangoes, etc, are fine.
– Staying off wheat for awhile. This. Is. Tough. I don’t want to turn myself into a celiac (that may be very ignorant of me to say, but I’m not an expert on the disease), but I can understand that wheat gluten has a sluggish effect on folks. But, seriously, no pizza ever again?! (I live in Central New York. You can’t try to get a gluten-free crust passed me. Not gonna happen.) Found some brown rice pasta, though.
– Sleeping, when possible, later and/or longer. This week, that’s pretty possible (except for when Dave gets up for work…I have a hard time staying in bed when he’s gotta drudge off for the day), but summer school will be starting soon. However, I’ve been going to bed close to 9 for awhile, so an early start time may help.
– Eating at certain times of the day. Breakfast before 10 (like, 8 or so), lunch between 11 and 11:30, a healthy snack around 2, dinner between 5 and 5:30, and a light healthy snack is acceptable. If we get the blue popping corn, Dave can still make me the occasional popcorn snack, woohoo! Of course, I won’t be eating the entire bowl, as usual, nor eating it slathered in butter. (See below.) Sea salt is good, though!
– No cow’s milk, for now. They say that goat’s milk is closest to human (ew), but, for now, I’m trying almond milk, and, so far, it’s just as good as cow’s milk. This goes for butter, for now, too.
– No *gulp* sugar. Generally meaning refined, for this version of a detox that I’m doing over the next couple of weeks, this means no turbinado, either. For now, I’m using local honey (not raw, I’m not really sure how to use that stuff…it’s, like, a soft solid…huh?) in my tea and if I use a marinade for my meat.
– Yes, meat is okay to eat. But, I’m going to try to watch my portions as far as this is concerned. Protein is important (hello, quinoa!), and it’s said that 36% of the meal/diet can be meat – the same percentage of vegetable. Luckily, the meat that we have in the house is all local, grass-fed awesomeness, so I’m happy that when I prepare a meal, Dave can pretty much eat what I’m eating.
– I’m nuts! Well, yes, clearly, that, too, but I’m uber happy that nuts are a part of the plan. I’ve got sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in bulk, as well as some almond butter (with celery? Yum! Hello, afternoon snack!!) and peanuts. If any are seasoned, they only have sea salt on ’em, and apparently the sea salt is something that I need, as part of the whole shebang. So, cool, who knew?
– No vegetable oils. Or, at least, not those uber-refined ones. Olive oil is good (THANK GOD!!), as is coconut oil (they highly advise it…but, do any of you know how to use it? It’s another one of those soft solids. Use it like a combo of butter and oil?), but things like canola and vegetable are no-nos. I tend to only use those for baking, anyway, so they’ll be kept in the house for bake sales and things that I’m not planning on consuming.
– Light exercise. This is a good thing, anyway, because when I DO exercise, it tends to stress my body out because I’m a perfectionist and overdo it a tad. No, lots. I go gung-ho crazy and nearly pass out. So, trying some yoga and light walking with the objective of relaxing the body will help prepare me for eventual jogging…or here’s hoping.
– No caffeine, no booze. Let’s just say I had a very lovely dinner last night during which we consumed lots and lots and lots o’ wine, knowing that I’d be “off” of it for awhile. Otherwise, I’ll be drinking water and herbal/green teas, sweetened with honey (or agave, when I pick some more up; gotta find a coupon, though, ‘cuz that shiznit’s expensive…but delicious and tastes more appealing than bee puke).
I think that’s it! Ha, that’s it – good one, Meg. In all seriousness, as I alluded to, this may last (in the severity) for a week, or two, or a month. I don’t foresee that I will not be using whole butter to raise my kids (we’ve had enough butter conversation to have determined that, damn it, if it was good enough for our parents and grandparents, it’s good enough for us), or going my entire life without drinking wine with friends.
However, if this works out to be a practical lifestyle change, many of the above points will become part of my life. In a strange way, having a bit of a regime to follow (rather than just listening to doctors who say “more fruits and vegetables, less junk food” then promptly ignoring them) will help me to avoid those things I shouldn’t eat. I’m pretty optimistic about this thing. Wish me luck!
By the way, I started this morning. My breakfast was puffed brown rice cereal (seriously, nothing but brown rice that’s been puffed, no sweeteners or anything) with almond milk and strawberries, and tea. My lunch is beans and vegetables (specifically, onion, garlic, red pepper, rainbow carrots, mushrooms, zucchini) with brown rice. I’m thinking of salmon for dinner, with quinoa and veggies. I’m looking forward to a green salad with pear and goat cheese, and eating up the local goat cheese spreads we got at the farmers’ market Saturday on rice crackers; gotta get more excited about the vegetables, though. 😉