How apt of me to be writing this post right now. The past few weeks I have fallen off the wagon for a bit so to speak. There is no better time to remind myself of why I eat what I eat. Because my food philosophy didn’t just come about randomly. I hit quite a spell of stomachaches and other discomfort a few years ago. As time passed, my physical problems only became more intense and it led me to believe, that I should start cutting out certain foods.
When last year my mom suggested I might be wheat intolerant I played around with the idea and I have been pretty much gluten and wheat free ever since. I never felt better. And after almost a year of sticking to this way of living I found that I could have a sandwich without any problems. As long as I didn’t eat wheat on a regular basis, I was fine. But these past few weeks were filled with fun appointments and thus bad food. Well, bad for me. And of course that was my own choice, but up till now I had been fine whenever I tried it, so I didn’t think much of it.
Until last week I got sick on what might have been one of the hottest days of the year so far. I woke up at 5.30 AM with a stomachache which wouldn’t let up. Later in the day I developed a headache and felt dizzy on top of it. I know it was food related, because I felt perfectly fine again the next day. So time to cut to the chase again and no longer fool myself into believing I can have wheat like most people.
1.) No wheat, little gluten and other grains
My first ‘rule’ (I hate that word, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it) would be to stick to that which I know works for me. And that means as little grains as possible and absolutely no wheat and only having gluten sparingly. It might seem hard to cut out something so fundamental to a Western and especially Dutch diet. Wheat is in EVERYTHING (usually as a thickener) and so it does take some creativity to manage. It is especially difficult when eating out. You never know where wheat may be hiding. But when I make my own meals it is going to be easy peasy. In fact, I still don’t buy or use any products containing wheat when I prepare my own food, so this one is no biggy.
2.) As little sugars as possible
And this is so difficult! Much more difficult than the no wheat thing. I have a major sweet tooth and I love my fruits and dare I sway it sweets, and chocolate and,… etc. Sugar is my number one nemesis, but I was able to churn down the amount of sweet things I consumed quite easily during fall and winter so I should be able to bring that back easily enough as well. The goal is to go back to no more than 2 pieces of fruit (or one big smoothie), sugarless jam & applespread and not using any sugar substitutes to sweeten the deal. So no honey, agave, stevia, or other sweeteners in anything, ever. Oh and if I’m craving something sweat I could ration some tried fruit like dates or figs. I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it again.
3.) Have veggies with every meal
This is another thing I’ve been slacking on. I just got lazy these past few weeks. And this is so easy to achieve. I just need to infuse some fruit juice with veggie juice or put greens in my smoothies to sneak in extra veggies in the morning. Then a salad for lunch (with at least 2 – 3 different veggies) and veggies with dinner. It’s such an easy thing to do. Problem is that lately I’ve been finding salads a bit boring. I just need to get back with the program and then I know I will find that salads really are amazingly tasty. I just haven’t had much inspiration.
4.) Use fresh ingredients as much as possible. If need be, use prepackaged but only things that have 1 or 2 ingredients.
A no brainer. And one that I haven’t stopped doing. It’s just that when you’re on the go (with my new found energy, I’ve been getting out of the house more) it’s so easy to grab whatever. And I shouldn’t do that. I should take my own snacks wherever I go so I know exactly what’s in the foods I eat. But other than that I’ve been good on the using fresh produce front. It’s pretty much all I buy from my supermarket, give or take a can of coconut milk, beans or chopped tomatoes.
5.) Cheat in moderation
It’s okay to cheat and it’s also okay to not get too hung up on the fact that you have cheated. But again, I shouldn’t do it too often. Just once a week, should be okay for a cheat meal or snack. Again, this is something I stuck by religiously for more than a year and the past month or so I have been slacking. It must be the time of year because I usually hit a ‘meh’ point around May/ June. Come spring time I have so many social gatherings and other fun things to do and then it’s just so much harder to say no to things. So instead of having a weekly cheat moment it’s more like these months are the cheat moments for the entire year. Only that doesn’t go down too well for me. Or so I’ve learnt now. So yes, cheat, but only a little bit.
What’s your food philosophy?