Why My Diet isn’t Working, Part 1

I promised I’d tell you about the diet. It’s not vegan, it’s not gluten-free, and the candida diet thing isn’t going so well, either.

What I would like to do is hide myself in a corner and pretend I never mentioned the word “diet,” let alone outlined an eating plan. But I did announce my intentions publicly.

Ah. How dumb was that?

So here’s the thing: I’m gonna lay it all out there. Here’s why my diet isn’t working:

1. Life stinks right now. No, really, it does! It’s winter. The sky is grey most of the time. It’s cold and miserable and I live in the woods, which means there is virtually no sunlight and no greenery. (If you plant the right kind of grass and shrubs, you can have greenery year-round…but that doesn’t work in the woods!) The greyness, the cold, the short days and the grim, bare trees, have me rather DOWN.

Ok, let’s tackle reason Number One:

1. Life stinks because it’s winter and cold and grey.

Yeah…but is the sun gonna shine BECAUSE I OVEREAT?

No. It’s still grey, dark and cold. And I’m looking at the grey, dark and cold feeling more “down” than ever because my stomach is bloated and my jeans are tight.

What could I change?

1. Here’s the thing: I crave greenery, and I can put it on my plate. Beautiful salads evoke SPRINGTIME. I may not be able to plant a beautiful garden out here in the woods, but I CAN buy one and eat it.

It can be springtime in my kitchen. Eat green. (And orange, and blue…all those bright, colorful fruits and vegetables will brighten up my mood and feed my cells!)

What else can I do?

2. Anything possible to soak up sunshine and greenery. Take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy a little sunshine. Schedule walks into the day if necessary. Take a walk to see the neighborhood goats, horses and cows. Stop…even for fifteen seconds, to really feel the sunshine on my face.

3. Try scattering my houseplants throughout the house. (I presently have them in one “jungle room” fighting over the little bit of available light.) Seeing greenery as I go about my day might help make a difference. (If nothing else, it will be a reminder that I am TRYING to make a difference!)

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4. Plant a moss garden. Planting moss would embrace my woodland home, but give me some green for cheer! There’s enough moss in my woods to harvest and plant…I can do this cost-free. And a moss garden won’t vie with the other plants for the available window space!

5. Bright, light-therapy lamps are available for people with SAD…Seasonal Affective Disorder. They are a little pricey and take up space, so this isn’t something I’m going to do right now…but I’ll keep it in mind for the future. (I just get a little down; it’s not debilitating.) In the meantime, I may choose to shell out $5 or so for a session with a tanning bed. A tanning bed’s bright lights can help set off a cycle of cheer…just gotta be sure to make it brief. A sunburn in January is a foolish, foolish thing!

Anyone else out there fight with the winter blahs?

What do you do that helps you deal with the season?

Healthy Vegan Diet or Dirty Rotten Cheater?

There’s an important difference between laws and principles.

I should know: I’ve kept the law, but stomped all over the principle.

The law was to stay gluten-free vegan. But, exhausted and very hungry, I found myself eating potato chips.

LOTS of potato chips.

After a week of very careful dieting, the potato chip grease in my tummy  caused…um…serious distress. Which led to my present state of re-evaluation.

In other words, if I am starving and absolutely must cheat, might it make more sense to choose the healthiest choice that will fill me up, rather than the food that is technically “vegan” but but is terribly unhealthy?

Hmm.

My tummy says I need to think seriously about this.

 

Simplifying my Closet – the Gluten Free Vegan Way

Closets have doors for a reason.

So they can be closed, thankyouverymuch.

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This is one closet of two rather large closets that are filled to the brim with clothing.

There are only two of us. One walk-in closet ought to be more than enough.

Why so much stuff?

In the spectrum between minimalist (very little stuff, but all of it is nice,) and frugal, (don’t spend anything on stuff, but keep everything in case we need it later,) we’ve erred on the side of frugal. We’ve been given stuff, inherited stuff, and we are very active in jobs that ruin our clothes, so we need a lot of stuff.

Thus, lots of clothes that take up a lot of space.

But there’s one big humiliating reason why there are soooo many clothes: they are in all different sizes.

I’m hanging on to clothes in the hope that one day I’ll fit into the size I want to be.

Sound familiar?

Most of us have been there. Most women, I’ll venture to say, have a closet that contains at least a couple of sizes. My closets contain *cough, stutter* six.

Six sizes. Five of them I cannot wear. And I’m clinging on to the other five in hopes that one fine day I’ll be able to step out and be the new me, the version of me that has hipbones and ribs. The pre-three-kids-and-menopause me. The ancient history version.

If I were counseling me, I sit myself down, take my hands, and look gently into my eyes. “You’re good enough,” I’d say. “You’re a kind person with people who care about you. You don’t need to conform to anyone else’s standard of beauty. And besides, should you ever happen to lose weight, just go out and buy stuff you love!”

And the me being counseled would say “Bwahahaha!”

“In this economy, I’m going to trot out and buy a new wardrobe! Riiiight!” (Even in my imagination I talk back. Hmm.)

So therapist me and frugal me are locked in battle…and minimalist me is losing out bigtime. The closets are bursting.

This is part of the reason for the big dietary change. It is difficult…but not entirely impossible, to be a chubby vegan. (It’s also difficult to be a diabetic, acidic vegan with high triglycerides and hypertension. Another plus.)

So yeah, it’s kind of like I’m eating tofu so I can clean out my closet. Closets. Don’t laugh. It makes sense, in a very roundabout way.

In the process, I’m discovering that my refrigerator and cabinets are cleaner. This is a totally unexpected perk. Before, my cabinets held everything under the sun, from brownie mixes to dried seaweed. Now they only hold gluten free vegan stuff…which means a lot of utter junk is just gone. There are no noodles, no breads, no croutons, no sweets. There are only canned vegetables, peanut butter, dried fruit, dried veggies and bags of brown rice and beans. Real food.

The fridge is a haven of veggies and more veggies, with a side of fruit.There are no Diet Cokes, no cheeses, no meats. There are salad greens and olives, pickles and tofu, carrots and bok choi and grapes.

It feels kinda nice.

My goal in decluttering my home is to reduce things to their essence, to keep the best of everything and toss the excess.

Eating vegan feels like doing the same thing for my body. I’m reducing ME to my essence, keeping the best and losing the rest.

That’s an awesome feeling. I’ve got a long way to go, but the act of trying makes me feel more alive and purposeful. More like my younger, bouncier, stronger self.

And if simplifying my life and diet ever results in a simple closet…well, you’ll hear me singing hurrahs from the rooftop!

 

Vegan Me.

Aside

What would you eat on the last night of your life?

Do you have it planned? Do you know the menu?
On the last night of my life…my OLD life, I eat this:
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It’s two eclairs, shorter than my little finger, on a tiny plate. I bought them frozen, and they taste like sawdust with a sprinkling of chocolate. That’s probably what they are.
In the interests of full disclosure I will say this: I did not eat two. I ate many. They all tasted like sawdust, and I ate them anyway. Because that is what I do when I’m getting ready to start a diet.
And this:
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It is a plate of greasy, homemade food. Fried pork chops, corn, peas, biscuits and gravy. I don’t make gravy. The last time I did so was probably five years ago. That stuff’s just BAD for you!
So why am I eating sweets and greasy food?
This: I’m going to simplify my life in a big, big way…in one of those big ways that might make it more complicated for a while. 🙂
I’m going vegan.
Sound too hippie for you?
Let’s put it this way: I am making the shift to a plant-based diet. I’m not changing my religion, or telling anyone else what to eat. I’m not going to throw ketchup on people who wear fur. I will continue to bathe regularly, shave my legs and wear shoes made of leather. I’m not going to do anything different at all except…
Stop eating meat. Or eggs. Or butter. Or anything else that comes from animals.
While I’m at it…I’m dropping sugar.
And Diet Pepsi.
Let’s have a moment of silence for Diet Pepsi.
For me, Diet Pepsi is its own food group. It makes everything else taste better. It’s bubbles have delighted my nose and throat for decades. It provides my other basic nutrient…caffeine. It doesn’t have calories and it’s absolutely lousy for you…how many things can you say that about?
So long, Diet Pepsi.
*Sniff. Whimper.*
And since we are dropping things anyway, there goes gluten. Wheeeeee…..out the window. No bread, no sandwiches (except for the occasional one on gluten-free bread,) no cookies, no cake, no biscuits, no doughnuts.
(Ooooh. Another moment of silence for doughnuts, please. And any of you who have stock in Dunkin’…it WILL be dropping, so this is your heads-up!) Nothing at all made with wheat will touch my lips.
Or teeth. Or tongue.
Really.
Why? Partly because of my own health issues. I don’t do well with gluten, for example, and I drink entirely too much Diet Pepsi.
Why vegan?
Why not just eat less and exercise more?
Why not do something more moderate?
Because I’m not just a little concerned about the size of my midsection, I’m concerned about my overall health. I don’t like all the aches and pains that are cropping up. I don’t like it when there just isn’t enough energy to do what I want to do.
And I’m aging. Eleven months from now I’ll turn fifty.
Fifty is an age where things can really start to happen. It’s the age where doctors start to listen a little more closely to the thumping of your heart. They recommend a colonoscopy. They get a little more strident about your need for mammograms. They demand blood work and gripe about triglycerides and a1c numbers.
All because youth is no longer in your favor.
And my husband is even older. I’d like for both of us to have as much energy, strength, and overall happiness as we can.
This isn’t forever. I’m making a commitment to stay vegan and “clean” (no sugar, Diet Pepsi, etc.) through the end of the year. That’s two months. After that I’ll re-evaluate and see what I think my body needs to stay healthy.
It’s hard to say no to vegetables. I’m gonna say “yes” to every fruit and veggie I can get my hands on. I’m going to improve my digestion, brighten my skin, and hopefully get a little of this spare tire off of my belly. I’m going to feed myself as many micronutrients as I possibly can, shoving in superfoods like…well…like candy!
So yeah…that spare tire thing. What do you call yours? That extra roll around your middle that plopped down and made itself at home while you weren’t looking? Most of us have one. Those of us who have it hate it, but we name it to keep from crying.
My daughter used to call hers “Pudge,” after the fish in Lilo and Stitch. I’ve heard them called a “food baby”–because it feels like a pregnancy. I’ve seen people make them talk by squeezing the fat together, pat them lovingly, and even smack them as though to make them behave.
I’m tired of mine. I’m tired of hiding it under carefully constructed clothing, worrying about it, wishing it would go away, and not being able to keep my pantyhose up because my “Pudge” is too round.
It’s going.
I’m changing.
So this is the last day of my life…as an omnivore. In my new life, I’m a vegetarian.
The last day of my old life, I ate fats and sugar and salt. I felt heavy & logy and miserable.
On the first day of my new life, will the low-fat vegan me feel better?