Monday, January 12, 2015

Letting Go

I’m starting to realize that really changing one’s eating habits goes deeper than just going on a diet.  This is a lifestyle change, and it will be wasted if I go back to normal when the year is up.  I’m having to let go of quite a few things:

·      Comfort Foods – These are foods I enjoyed as a child.  My Mom wasn’t an enthusiastic cook, but she gave us food she thought was healthy, never forgot to pack the school lunch, and served dinner every night at 6:00 PM including dessert.  Macaroni and cheese, cream of wheat, graham crackers with peanut butter, bologna and liverwurst sandwiches – I still love all of these!

·      Things I thought were healthy but maybe aren’t – oatmeal, whole grain bread, potatoes.  The more I read, the more I think any starch is not good for me.  I love sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, and fresh corn on the cob, but I think even these healthy starches should be saved for the occasional treat.

·      Gluten – I’ve had practice being gluten-free because when I had breast cancer I saw a naturopath who advised me to give up gluten, and I did so for about one and a half years.  Stan researched GF substitutes and one of the things he found was this Italian GF pasta on Amazon that we use all the time now because it is so good.  I don’t notice any specific symptoms when I eat gluten, but will avoid it this year and learn more. 

·      Dairy – again, stuff I thought was healthy.  Some years ago I read the book Eat Right For Your Blood Type, and I was happy to learn that my type (B positive) comes from ancient people who could tolerate dairy, because I love it – milk, yogurt, cheese and real butter.  I plan to cut back this year, but I doubt I’ll give up cream (Stan’s wonderful sauces!) or butter.  Hmm, or cheese!  or yogurt!  
Cottage cheese lunch - yum!

·      Starbucks – so sad.  After retiring and leaving my downtown Starbucks, I had started the delightful habit of walking around my neighborhood and then down the (very steep) hill to our suburban Starbucks drive-thru.  I’d struggle back up, coffee in hand, and feel quite virtuous for having exercised.  It turns out my tall soy latte has 130 calories and 18 grams of carbohydrate, and the eggnog lattes I enjoyed over the holidays were 360 calories and 43 carbs.  Oops! I plan to switch to green tea but I don’t think it will be quite as motivating.
P.S.  I tried this tea and it is delicious!  

Teavana Jade Citrus Mint

·      Give up wine?  For a whole year?  Maybe forever?? I’m not sure I can do it.   For most of my adult life I’ve used wine to relax at the end of the day, and I love the feeling of sitting down, especially with Stan or a friend, or my Facebook friends, to have a glass of wine together.  Unfortunately I rarely have a glass of wine, more like three, so this year I’ll do my best to do without. 

Had mineral water at our favorite wine bar Friday night. (Not the same as Chardonnay, but okay...)

·      Baking – I had learned to bake bread and was getting fairly good at it before I was advised not to eat gluten.  I love the feel of kneading and shaping a nice yeast-risen dough, and Stan and I both liked eating the bread fresh from the oven.  I had even thought it would be fun to take pastry-making classes at Renton Technical College as a retirement hobby.  Instead I’ll learn to make healthier, gluten-free baked items, but the technique and results are quite different.

·      The idea that I gave my kids healthy foods – I raised two wonderful kids, Tyler and Melanie.  I did what I knew at the time, but looking back, I was making a lot of mistakes.  I breast-fed my babies, and used soy formula when needed because they didn’t seem to take cows’ milk well.  However, I still drank plenty of milk myself – cows’ milk! Duh.  We ate lots of starch – sandwiches, pizza, and all those delicious, easy casseroles that start with a can of condensed cream-of-something soup.  I knew sugar and artificial colors and flavors were bad, but I still made yummy Jello salad recipes for the holidays, and I thought I was being a good Mom by serving sweet desserts after dinner.  I’m glad to know both of them eat better now!

·      The idea that I’ll look young again if I do this right – well, I’m 67.  I’ll never look 30, or even 40 or 50, regardless of how I eat and exercise.  I do know that; I just have to keep my expectations under control.  I want to feel young.  I want my body age to match my brain age, so I am able to do the things I still want to do.

So, during this year I’ll be working on my attitude as well as my health, and I’ll be developing new tastes and new favorite treats.  I’ll try to be pretty honest with you readers about what’s working and where I need improvement.  If, no, when, I see it starting to work, I think I’ll be motivated to keep going  : )

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