We are one week into this series on HeART-healthy "Eating Clean". On a personal note, I've noticed a couple of things over the course of the week, and I hope you'll share what you've noticed for yourself as the time has gone by.
One: Paying attention to the presentation of my meals and my family's meals has been fun and has given me another outlet for my creativity. It's also helped me notice and put to use some of the dishes and glassware we don't use very often, BUT an even better thing it has done is help us connect with our culture and family history. We have learned a great deal about each other'srelatives, influences, and context eating on the placemats from Aunt Jean or sipping from the teacups we got at Ken and Val's wedding.
Two: The writing discipline keeps me accountable to all my own best habits and tips. I have been keeping my food diary, recording what I eat and my calorie counts, and paying close attention to the tools I've learned from doctors, friends, and some of my favorite wisdom such as Julia Cameron's "The Writing Diet". For instance, as I write this, I am using one of my doctor's favorite tools, the "more" timer. ("More" on that later) One of my joys is that I've lost 2 pounds this week!
Three: Eating Clean has very rapid results. In the first three days of eliminating processed flour and refined sugar, your tastes change and your cravings fade away. A piece of fruit tastes much more yummy than before, when its sweetness was overshadowed by that of refined sugar. Also, I experience unpleasant reactions to foods I don't want to be eating. For example, on Sunday we ate brunch at church and I had half a bagel. Having been sugar-free and gluten-free for quite a while now, I shouldn't have been surprised that I spent the whole afternoon sleeping it off like a hangover.
Okay, the "more" timer just went off, so I'll take the opportunity to share this tip from my doc. She advised me to serve myself half of what I would previously have considered a normal plateful. When I first started doing this as a means of portion control, I actually dished up a "normal" plateful and then removed half the food, back to the pot. That made for a messy, unartistic presentation, so I have learned to measure and switched to smaller plates. The next step is to eat slowly, enjoying the aroma, taste, and textures of the food. Once finished, I set my kitchen timer for 30 minutes. When it goes off, I check in with how I'm feeling. If I'm still legitimately hungry, I eat a little more, guilt free.
The power in this tool comes from the fact that I can indeed eat more if I'm hungry later. I'm not limited if I am truly hungry, but it has to be "clean" food, that provides real nutrition. It's not "If I'm still hungry I can have a bowl of ice cream". So try the "more" timer. You might be surprised that, usually, by the time 30 minutes has passed, your tummy has told your brain that it's not hungry for more!
Next week I start summer school every morning and teaching a weekly art and writing workshop for N.A.M.I. clients. I will still be busy painting, decorating the church every week, homemaking, and being wife, mother, and grandmother. It strikes me that planning ahead for Eating Clean will be more critical than ever! Next blog: How to plan ahead to keep the diet healthy. Be sure to share your comments and tips.