One of the things I have been thinking about, now being 1/3rd of the way through the 6 week Eat to Live program, is what I want to do once I’ve made it through the 6 weeks. I can’t see myself eating stricting nutritarian for the rest of my life- I’m too much of a foodie. I think it’s a great way to reset my habits and eating patterns, but I don’t think it’s sustainable for the type of life I’d like to lead. I’ve been discussing this with my family, and one of things we’ve talked about that makes a lot of sense to me is eating for nutrition vs. eating for pleasure. I think that if I aim to make the vast majority of my meals eating for nutrition, that I will be able to enjoy the meals that I eat for pleasure with less guilt and impact on my health. This is not to say the two things are mutually exclusive- I certainly enjoy most of my nutritious meals, and the majority of my pleasurable meals are quite nutritious. But it shifts the focus, so that, say my breakfasts and lunch during the week are about fueling myself and loading up on nutrients, rather than seeking out pleasure.
I did deviate from the plan on Sunday morning, and had my first animal product and added oil in two weeks. I was out to breakfast with my family, and our plan to eat out at a vegan restaurant was thwarted because they were closed for Earth Day. (I kid you not.) So we ended up at Esselon, a cafe I adore. I have had many an order of pomme frites and gluten-free grilled cheese with creamy tomato soup there. I ended up opting for the egg special (since I can’t tolerate tofu, which was my vegan option), which was eggs scrambled with pesto, with a side salad with vinaigrette and a grilled yellow tomato. It was delicious, and I savored every bite. However, I also noticed that it tasted quite oily to me, which was interesting- it almost overpowered the greens, and the tomato, and definitely made the fluffy eggs heavier tasting than they might have been. I really enjoyed it, AND I saw ways that making it healthier would have improved the taste. I was worried about my reaction to the meal, but I actually ended up feeling pretty ok except for a heavy feeling in my stomach that stretched into the afternoon. I ended up eating pretty lightly the rest of the day, and had a smoothie for dinner to get lots of produce in. I didn’t regret the meal or beat myself up as much as I might have- I made the best decision I could at that moment, and moved on.
Monday and today it was back to basics- fruit and nuts for breakfast, salad with beans for lunch- these are meals for nutrition, for fuel. That doesn’t mean they are not enjoyable, but the enjoyment isn’t the point- feeding my body well is. Monday night I had a small serving of brown rice pasta with homemade tomato vegetable sauce, Italian-spiced cannellini beans, and avocado with a big green salad. I could have made it a meal for pleasure and had some of the fried bean cakes Aimee made which looked (and were reportedly) delicious, but I decided that this was an eating for nutrition night, since I had had a pleasure meal the day before. The same held true tonight- while my family had burritos, I made myself a bean bowl. Same toppings, different delivery.
So maybe there is a sustainable pattern here- that the majority of my meals are meals for nutrition, full of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy whole grains, and that I have an occasional meal for pleasure, where I have some of the things I normally don’t have- added oils, animal products, processed grains, etc, with the goal of not overindulging but fully enjoying the food I am having while I am having it.
I’m also noticing that I have a lot more energy in the past couple of weeks than I have in a long time. I don’t know if it’s the diet, the increased movement, the spring coming, or my thyroid medication kicking in. I used to need a recovery period after work, where I would sit and veg out before I did anything else. Now, I come home and I still have quite a bit of energy most nights. Tonight, for instance, my plans fell through because the host of my small group ministry group was sick. Instead of just parking myself in front of TV, I decided to make dinner for my family. I decided to test out my new Ninja Express Chop (which I bought yesterday as another Happy-Birthday-to-me) and brought home a bunch of ingredients for salsa and bean dip. I made a tomato salsa, a corn salsa, avocado and bean dip, and chopped up a bunch of peppers. It definitely was a lot quicker using the Express Chop than by hand with much smoother results, and so much easier to make the dip that way than the Vitamix, which is overkill and much harder to get a small amount out of! We also heated up and spiced some black beans and pinto beans. It took a couple of hours, all told, but it was definitely worth the effort to make fresh healthy food, and to make my family happy!