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Monday, March 18, 2013


Yes, I've been absent from here for months! The reasons are quite boring and pedestrian, so I'll spare you. And yes, my curiosity about food also went out the window--as did conscious eating. 
millions of white people standing on a Coney Island beach, looking up at a photographer.

Coney Island. © 1997 by Jeffrey Stanton.

I don't think my experience is any different from that of millions of people attempting to create and maintain better habits and lose weight. It is humbling to admit that, although I'm very special to myself, I and my food challenges make me one of millions. In that universe, I am a veritable face in the crowd.
So--I have started over. I've also downsized my expectations, and am focused only on the process, not the when. In summary, I'm kinder and more patient with myself. Here's what happened:

what ugly looked like
In the last year I have been munching carbs (especially granola and faux bread; also dates and other dried fruit) like Armageddon is coming today. I went back on wheat about a two months ago. Although I can eat wheat (and dairy) in small amounts, the wages of regularly eating wheat, haven't changed: I get bloated, my joints crackle, my ankles and feet become tender, and my belly swells. I'm just one hot, big mess on wheat.
This last wheat run, however, was deliberate. I wanted to eat pies and other soothing comfort food that usually comes packed with wheat. And I did.
And then came the day when I realized my feet hurt as I walked a distance I could normal traverse easily and with no pain. That same day I was also embarrassed when, upon getting off of a sofa, my joints popped and clacked and clicked like an oncoming locomotive. I knew my consumption of wheat was the reason.  

bigger issues
 I knew, too, that I wasn't happy with how I'd been eating. The wheat was only a piece of the problem. I know, for example, that I do much better--am energetic, think more clearly, can get down on the floor and get up (without assistance), when I'm eating fewer carbs. Under 60 grams daily is good; lower (40g) is much better. I've been consuming closer to 300g of carbs daily for the last year. 
The challenge with carbs, of course, is that they are emotionally soothing, are easily accessible, cheap, come in many forms, and can taste quite good.
And there were (and are) other challenges: eating enough greens and fruit, eating while working (a sure path to overeating for me), and increased emotional eating.

Frank Sinatra in Man With the Golden Arm. He is pretending to be in detox from heroin, but the photo looks pretty staged.
Frankie detoxing off heroin in "Man With the Golden Arm"
the plan: detox
Previously, I've made lots of significant changes to my food--and all at once. I'm going for something different this time: a slow detox, using healthy-er food to release unhealthy food, and then transitioning to healthier foods. 
Here are my first four steps:
  • Step #1: get off wheat. Instead of buying and consuming apple dumplings made of wheat and pie, I made a apple cobbler with oats. I also stopped eating the apple dumpling and pie. I transitioned off of all wheat about 10 days ago using this method, and I don't miss it. 
  • Step #2: eat apples. I normally don't eat apples, but find them to be more of a carb-y food (that is, have a carb-like mouth feel) that I can't eat a lot of. I've been eating them, maybe one every day or so, for the last week.
  • Step #3: begin eating raw sauerkraut again, twice daily in the morning and evening. I'm the first to admit that wrapping my lips around 3 tablespoons of sauerkraut is not my idea of a fun way to begin the day. I've found, though, that reintroducing good flora by chomping the 'kraut helps reduce bloating and makes me feel slender (I have no idea what the science is behind that last bit). I started back on the sauerkraut yesterday. 
  • Step #4: meditate daily for 40 days. I started that yesterday and with guidance from my pal Michelle, the most wonderful friend in the world.
As you can see, I haven't put a timeline on any of this. Step #5 will likely going to be about reducing the volume of granola I eat and/or replacing it with puffed rice (which I don't like nearly as much).  I'll keep you posted.

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