Monday, July 1, 2013

The Evolution of My Diet

It's all good.  Isn't it?
We grew up as a meat and potatoes family.  I married into a meat and potatoes family.  I raised a meat and potatoes family.  Our meat and potatoes family love us some SNACKS, too!  We've been known to consume Krispy Kremes by the dozens, and if it's a homemade treat, watch out!

Now that I'm "older," I have begun to question the way I eat...and drink.  I have been a soda drinker forever.  When we were kids, Mom made homemade root beer for us.  Every night for dinner, we drank root beer.  And then when I became an adult, and with my adult-level-thinking, I decided that it would be much wiser to drink DIET soda, to save myself some calories.

There is such a wide variety of soft drinks available.  Entire aisles at the grocery store are occupied by bottled and canned liquids enticing us with sugar or sugar substitutes.  Back in the sixties, there were two diet sodas:  Fresca and Tab.  Fresca was grapefruit flavored, clearly not developed for my childish palate!  Do you remember TAB?  What a miserable excuse for a soft drink THAT was.  I determined that sacharine was nasty stuff and have always steered clear of the "pink packets" on restaurant tables.

Over the years, I've tried to give up my Diet Pepsi.  I seriously love the taste.  Occasionally, I like a little Diet Dr. Pepper.  I would endure the three day headache that comes with the initial cessation of caffeine.  I would triumph over the cravings, drowning my thirst with quarts of water.  If there had been any visible, noticeable differences, like losing some quick weight, I might have pursued giving up pop altogether.  Come Saturday morning, I'd step on the scale, and if there wasn't a five pound drop from last week, I'd question what I was doing.  I hadn't lost WEIGHT, I had terrible headaches, and I just didn't enjoy that much water.  And back to soda I'd go.

After the Netflix propaganda-fest at our house lately of healthy eating, the vegan lifestyle, the Gerson approach to healing with nutrition, juicing, and documentaries about our questionable food industry, I have begun to think.  Thinking is always a good thing.  One of my biggest obstacles is mindlessly living my life.  Doing things according to habit, with no thought of consequence.

I'm realizing that my body has to process everything I put into it.  And then the guilt began to set in.  (Sorry about that pesky preposition!)  I had recently started eating FRITOS.  Food doesn't get much more processed than that.  I have no idea what's in them.  Cornmeal and grease, I'm betting.  And salt to make them yummy.  Give me a small bowl of Fritos (well, a big bowl would be even better) and a big, old, ice-cold Diet Pepsi and I was in Snack Nirvana.

Earlier on my blog, I posted my recipe for Le Beau Citron (homemade limeade).  Drinking freshly squeezed limeade made with natural stevia is what started my whole separation from Diet Pepsi.  I found that the citrus drink was so refreshing, that I didn't really want anything else.  I promised myself I could have a soda on the weekend.  That Saturday, when I ceremoniously popped the tab on my sweating can of soda, my mouth watered in anticipation of my first sip.  EWWW.  What had happened to my yummy drink?  It seemed acidic, sharp, and it assaulted my mouth.  I drank some more just to see if it improved, but I eventually emptied the rest down the drain.

If soda is full of artificial sweeteners and chemicals, what is in Fritos?  And Pepperidge Farm cookies?  And Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs cereal?  (A-hem.  Yes, these items resided in my pantry.  Don't judge.)
I started to THINK about my food.  I started looking at the ingredients.  And I started to put things back on the shelf and look for a healthier option.  (No, I did NOT put them in the trash.  Don't judge.  There are other people in this house besides myself to consider.  And what if I decide I need a little SNACK later?  Huh?  Well, now you know why I didn't dispose of the offending food.)

My husband bought a juicer this summer and loves pulverizing fruits and vegetables into a drinkable liquid.  I'm more of smoothie girl, so I add my fruits and veggies to the Vitamix and make frozen concoctions packed with nutrition, but they still give me the satisfaction of eating something sweet, cold, and creamy.

A friend asked if I were eating the Paleo Diet.  My son and daughter-in-law have done that for awhile, with good results.  If you're not familiar, allow me to simplify the idea for you.  You eat like a caveman on the Paleo Diet, but hopefully with better table manners.  If you can hunt it and gather it, you can eat it.  Plan on meals with plenty of meat and veggies.  And not much bread.  Or cookies.  Or Fritos.  No, I am not following the eating habits of any prehistoric tribe.

I am not following ANYTHING, except my heart.  I am not an herbivore, a carnivore, a Paleo dieter, a vegetarian or a vegan.  I am an omnivore, a whole foods omnivore.  I've read recently that some vegetarians have the worst diets ever because they believe as long as it's not meat, it's okay.  Their diets consist of voluminous amounts of junk food and have little to do with vegetables and fruits.  They simply avoid meat.

It was with great delight I read about Venus Williams' calling herself a CHEAGAN, a cheating vegan.  I guess I could be considered one of those.  I eat (you do realize I mean to say I have recently BEGUN to eat, don't you?  This isn't coming from years of experience as a healthy eater!)...ANYWAY, currently, I eat vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese, and when the mood strikes, I am still up for a good piece of meat, whether that be fish, poultry or beef.

My son is so worried I've become a vegetarian.  I'm not THERE.  Yet.  I am just trying to stick to WHOLE FOODS, and avoid consuming so many processed foods. Meat will still find its way to my table, but I have to force myself not to think about where the meat was before it was at the store.  I think that's a sign of some kind.  I am not going to dwell on that right now.  I'm just doing the best I can, eating as healthy as I can.  "When you know better, you do better."  This is where I am right now. And right now, I am glad there are no Fritos on top of the fridge today because all of this talk about eating is making me hungry.

P.S.  People always want to know...have I seen a difference? YES.  After a week-long trip back home to Virginia, I packed on a fast six pounds.  Within six days of returning to my smoothies, salads, fruits, grains, and selective meats, I lost those six plus two more. My skin is clearer.  I'm not craving my junk food.  I don't desire soda any more. Was there water weight lost?  Of course, there was.  All I know is I'm back on track after a week of eating NOT mindfully on vacation, and I feel pretty great physically, all things considered.


  1. I grew ups eating much like you except no root beer! I love me a good steak but there are times my stomach hurts after eating meat. I love my junk food,too. I'm trying to do better. I don't think I could be vegan though because I really do love cheese and dairy products. For now my excuse is that studies show a higher incidence of depression and anxiety in those with vegan diets...and who needs depression and anxiety?

    1. I will definitely check out that link. You make me laugh! I do NOT need depression OR anxiety, so thanks for the heads-up!


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