Eat What You Like

My title today may be a bit misleading. If you took this to mean: eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you like, I'm afraid you may be snacking up the wrong tree. If you took it to mean: eat things that you enjoy instead of stuff you can't stand, then you hit the snack on the head. (You can't go wrong using a ton of mixed metaphors is my motto.)

As you may know, I have been on the Whole 30 for almost 30 days now. I have not had a sip of alcohol, not a tidbit of grain of any sort, not a lick of sugary sweetness, not a single legume, not a mouthful of processed junk food. (I refuse to count my kale chips as junk food.) I have not weighed in recently nor taken any measurements of my body parts, but today I put on a pair of shorts that were too tight to wear a month again. Now they are comfy.

Many people have commented that they could not do this. Some have tried, with varying degrees of success. I did have a couple of UGLY days in the middle of the month. This was an issue of hormonal fluctations and really not related to food choices, but you know how these matters can get mixed up in one's mind. I rode out the hormonal surges without sacrificing my Whole 30 commitment. How, you ask? Simple. I ate stuff that I like.

Do I love red wine? Yup. Does chocolate cake make me swoon? Yessiree. When I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-In's, and Dives yesterday, I was actually ANGRY that the restaurant featured was all the way up in TORONTO! The butter burger slathered in beef bone marrow was making me drool. There are days when I feel like I could kill for a cheeseburger with fries. And I will eat one again fairly soon. But in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my healthy, whole food meals.

What are these foods I like enough to keep me on the road to success?

Basic stuff, for the most part. I love baby spinach. Sometimes I toss it into a salad, but often I fill a bowl with spinach and layer other stuff on top, like smashed potatoes (from my organic garden) sauteed with butter, cabbage, sweet onions, and collard greens and then throw it in the microwave. (This is my version on Colcannon, an Irish staple.) Chicken Waldorf Salad is another of my favorites, made with peaches and pecans in the summer and apples and walnuts in the fall. Pears would be awesome in this, too. Yesterday I whipped up a dinner of sweet potato topped with chunks of roasted chicken breast, and chopped pecans. Everything I put into my mouth is nutrient dense. I am absolutely crazy about nuts, so a sprinkling of nuts of top of whatever I'm eating usually transforms a dish from blah to wonderful for me. A small amount of cheese can do the same thing.

In the evenings, when I might have had a glass of wine or a slice of cheesecake, I've been drinking a cup or two of decaf green tea. Honestly, I love this stuff! I've been snacking on different kinds of nuts, mostly pistachios, and a few kale chips. Lately I've started hand-sewing in front of the TV to keep my hands busy and distract me from eating mindlessly. Knitting is another great way to be productive with your hands while not eating.

If you usually force yourself to eat things you despise in order to lose weight, there might be a reason these diets never work for you. If you hate raw celery sticks, hard boiled egg whites, and turkey breast, even though these foods are low calorie, healthy choices, they need not be a part of your diet plan. Maybe you prefer carrot sticks, salmon burgers, and apple slices? I'm not suggesting you should make a diet of Cap'n Crunch, Coca Cola, and Snickers bars. (I hope the thought of such a diet is making you shudder in your shoes right now.) What I AM saying is that the world is full of foods that taste GOOD. Many of them are also healthy. Seek out the foods and the flavors that you love which ALSO offer plenty of nutritional benefits without breaking your calorie bank.

If the stuff you eat tastes good to you, I guarantee you will be able to give up those high calorie, high carb, highly processed foods which only lead to heartache and dismay. Treat yourself instead to something both healthy AND delicious.