Over the last two years in my new marriage, my eating habits shifted. What started out as a little sugar here, a cup of coffee there grew until I was consuming a regular diet of what I call "white food." My darling Brazilian husband's eating style was so different from mine. I was drinking wheat grass for breakfast and eating a healthy salad for lunch before we married. Fernando grew up with beans, rice, and fatty meats. We couldn't be more different. Since my husband is an excellent cook and wanted us to eat together (meaning the same thing), the weight started to pile on as my energy started to tank.
Three weeks ago I decided to make a commitment to turn things around and my husband was so delighted for now he gets it. He can see how I'm best fueled by greens and whole natural foods.
I've been sharing my story on Facebook and receiving a lot of questions. I thought I would elaborate on the details in this blog post.
I decided to go cold turkey.
That's right, I stopped several things at once: sugar (including alcohol), caffeine, dairy, gluten, and fatty meats.
"What's left?" "What do you eat?"
These are the first questions I get.
I start my day with a warm glass of water with lemon and fresh ginger.
Later in the morning, I enjoy a green juice consisting of:
- romaine or mixed greens
- kale, collard greens, or spinach
- green apple
Mid-morning I enjoy fresh low glycemic fruits like strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, and melon. I especially love eating them from this bowl that my husband made this summer in the basic wheel throwing class that we took together over at the NH Institute of Art.
For lunch I eat a salad. Look at how colorful it is! That's the secret to good health: colorful, whole, and raw.
This is what typically goes in:
- romaine or mixed greens
- kale or collard greens (cut away the thick stem, roll, and chop the leaves into thin strips)
- purple cabbage (cut as above)
- shredded carrot
- 1/2 apple (peeled and chopped)
- assorted seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
- slivered almonds
- olive oil
- organic rice vinegar
I like to play with my food. Here I included an edible flower. It adds just the right touch.
I keep a stock of these Mama Chia drinks on hand. They not only give me a boost of energy, but help to keep me regular.
Dinner consists of quinoa, wild caught fish, or poached or grilled chicken, assorted veggies including acorn squash or sweet potato, and a heaping teaspoon of fermented vegetables (my favorite is pickled red cabbage from www.realpickles.com).
Why no dairy? Isn't yogurt good for you?
The second most asked question I get is, "Why no dairy? Isn't yogurt good for you?"
Yogurt is loaded with sugar. Check it out, 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. A typical serving of yogurt equals 4 teaspoons or more of sugar. Crazy isn't it?
Dairy is acidic and our bodies run best on an alkaline diet. Dairy forms a thick mucus and damages the stomach and intestinal walls that can lead to "leaky gut." Dairy also interrupts the elimination process causing constipation. Looking for the probiotic benefit? I take a probiotic supplement and eat fermented foods, one serving each evening with my dinner.
Day 2 - 5 were so very difficult. I had detox symptoms: severe head and neck pains, off and on body sweats and chills. I felt like a drug addict detoxing, at least from what it looks like in movies. I believe most of the detox symptoms were from quitting the sugar for I had very little caffeine in my diet. I slept as much as I could, drank lots of water, and focused on my goal. I've done cleanses in the past, but this was by far the hardest.
By day six, all pain was gone and I felt lighter. The brain fog lifted. In fact, I didn't realize that I had been operating in a brain fog. Now I see things so clearly, my mind is sharp and brainstorming is fun! I have so much energy.
When my friends say, "I could not give up chocolate." I wish they could taste fruit as I taste it now. My palette is so cleansed that everything is so delicious and mouth watering good!
I no longer crave sweets.
I've done a lot of reading on health and nutrition over the years. It is one of my favorite subjects. I can't seem to get enough of it. While in the throws of my detox, I did some more research to help me stay focused on my goal. I found this documentary titled, "The Secrets of Sugar." Check it out. If you are interested in learning more about the effects of sugar on the brain and some of the politics behind the industry, you'll find this fascinating.
I would love YOU to feel as good as I do!
Going cold turkey is not for everyone and I don't recommend it. Start with one thing and cut back. Pick one healthy thing to add. Take small and steady steps and before you know it, you are well on the road to optimum health.
It is always wise to check in with your doctor, especially if you are on medication and have complicated health issues. I can't wait to see my doctor in September. I'm so curious to get my biometrics checked: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.
In my next blog post, I'll share some of my go to resources - my favorite books, movies, and websites for healthy living.
Until then, take great care of yourself!
Kathryn Costa, Collage Diva and Creative Dabbler.