Cold Turkey

>> Thursday, January 11, 2018

Along with engaging in a regular yoga practice, I have some other hefty goals in the new year. I think many of us want to clean up our act with eating. I go in waves, and January 1st is a good excuse to get back on track -- at least for as long as I can.

So, I cut out packaged foods along with white bread, refined sugar, and other "bad" stuff. In the holiday season, I was enjoying many feasts on takeout pizzas (we have way too many great places close by!) followed by marathon cookie dessert sessions. I was drinking lots of beer and wine, too. Ultimately, I gained a few pounds and -- worse yet -- kept waking up feeling hung-over . . . even when I wasn't drinking.

Oh, and I had no energy. Blah. Not so good when you get up most days at 5AM to work. So, when the ball dropped, I put down my beer-cheese fondue and picked up a tall glass of water. I've been trying to drink between 80 and 100 ounces of water daily ever since, and it's made a tremendous difference in how I feel. I just feel . . . awake. I've totally stopped drinking alcohol as I infuse myself with hydration. This sounds intense, but I had seriously forgotten how to drink water and was using other beverages in its place. I estimate I was maybe only actively taking in 32 ounces a day.

With food, we've been cooking all our meals at home. Saving money, too! Again, I go in phases with all of this -- with my energy and enthusiasm. But I truly know cooking everything from scratch is ideal and not always achievable even with good planning. While I don't eat many packaged foods, random things come into the house (cookies, other treats) . . . so I've banished those for the time being (aside from some organic granola bars from Aldi for Ada's lunches).

I've been cooking out of the How Not to Die Cookbook by Michael Greger. This isn't a sponsored review or anything. I just want to mention it. Full disclosure is that I haven't read the book. I just happened to see the book at Barnes and Noble, leafed through it, and I realized we often have a lot of the ingredients in the recipes. Cauliflower, turmeric, miso paste, beans, greens, mushrooms, oats, etc. The plant-based recipes all use similar ingredients in different ways to make tasty things.

I also like the emphasis on not adding salt to recipes. I had gotten a little heavy-handed with my salt, so it's a good practice to lighten up.

My favorite recipes so far are:
  • Summertime oatmeal (pg. 12)
  • Cheesy kale crisps (pg. 42)
  • Smoky roasted chickpeas (pg. 44)
  • Black bean burgers (pg. 88)
  • Braised tempeh & bok choy with ginger sauce (pg. 128)
  • Mac and "cheese" (pg. 143)
These are just the recipes I've had time to make since getting the book less than two weeks ago. Again, they all make use of similar ingredients and spices, which I love. They're mostly easy and fast, too. I may look at the library to read the How Not to Die book. It's all about certain foods that are scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. As a health/medical writer, I truly believe in the power of food to heal our bodies.

It's easier in theory than practice sometimes, though.

Have any of you read this book?

Other books I've been cooking from or plan to soon:
Sad to say, but it feels like I've gone into eating pretty much only whole foods cold turkey. Meaning, it's been tough. I should just be eating this way by default. It's been hard, but I think I'm finally turning a corner and really embracing it. I feel so much better. I just need to capture a clear mental picture of this feeling because it's so good. Clear-mind, energy, balance, etc.

What I've learned in the years of my cycles of eating is that bread is my gateway drug of choice. I LOVE BREAD. I love baking bread. But once I start doing too much of it, it's a crazy landslide back into cookies and other desserts. In no time, I'm basically eating M&Ms off the street. I'm continually searching to find better balance.

I'd love to hear what eating goals you have right now. I'm also trying to get in more protein. That's a tricky one for me, but I'm off to blend a protein green smoothie.

Happy Thursday!

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