It sucks. I want pizza logs, pancakes, wine, pork fried rice, and beer. All at once, in a fatty, non-nutritious sundae. Dramatic? What’s that?
This past Monday, I started the “Eat to Perform” challenge with CrossFit Nickel City. It’s like a less scary Paleo lifestyle change for twenty-one days, along with a total sugar detox (hardly any fruit). The less-scary part is because all whole-fat dairy is okay, so are legumes and potatoes (both in moderation), which on your typical paleolithic diet are under the total “no-no” list.
Okay, I will be honest with you. It isn’t all that bad. I mean, I’m hungry all the time, don’t get me wrong. I grew up eating processed foods (I’m looking at you Pasta-Roni) and my Mom hates vegetables, so they weren’t a staple in our house unless it was corn, so finding things to cook that appeal to me is very hard. It’s difficult for me to find enough things that are “OK” on the list to eat during the day to keep me satisfied and nourished. Yes, I’m eating better and finally cooking with nutrient dense foods, but I’m not taking enough in to really support my lifestyle. That’s my biggest challenge. I feel better (less bloated, more energy) but you know that feeling when you’re hopped on caffeine but didn’t eat anything, so you could pass out if you exerted an ounce more energy? Yeah, that.
Because of the lack of nutrient dense foods in my diet beforehand, this challenge is a good way to kick off the plant based lifestyle change that I’ve been wanting to make for a year now. I can eat as much meat as I want, except I don’t like meat in large quantities and I actually want to attempt to get them almost entirely out of my diet. I don’t like the idea of cooking with bacon fat, butter, or eating meat with every meal. While I know there are plenty of people out there who will disagree, I personally believe that eating plant based is much more nutritious and healthy than paleolithic lifestyles, but I digress. Even with the paleo base this challenge has, I’m forced to eat more vegetables and think outside the box – something I’ve never done when it comes to food. Do you think there’s a way to make organic, grain-free pizza logs?
If there wasn’t an extrinsic motivating factor, I would not have lasted even three days into the challenge like I have right now. I’m learning to cook with different ingredients and starting find a way to fill myself up on nutritious foods. The key words here are learning and starting. My success rate is a bit dismal at this point. I won’t lie, I’ve been hungry every night I’ve gone to bed but I have severely underestimated the amount of food I need during the day. I’ve also not taken enough food in and went for a run, leaving me on my floor unable to do yoga because I almost passed out repeatedly. It wasn’t my proudest moment and was pretty scary. What’s also scary is the amount of money I have to spend on food. Give me fifty cents and I can get a doughnut, but what will that get me that’s nutritious?
This week has looked similar every day, but as the days progress, I’m finding more things to munch on.
Breakfast this week has consisted of egg muffins (but I became sick of eggs by Thursday) with spinach, peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese. By Friday, I picked up some plain whole fat yogurt to eat with a teaspoon of honey and cinnamon.
Lunch has been leftovers from dinner. I’ve had cilantro lime chicken without the corn (my worst batch ever) and a spaghetti squash bolognese, which was too rich for my liking so I’ll need to adjust that. I also made my own taco seasoning and created a taco salad, but I need to find an acceptable dressing still. I used lime juice and added sour cream, but it wasn’t enough to make the dish yet. I got my spiralizer on Wednesday, too, so I was able to make zoodles (zucchini noodles) and J made a shrimp alfredo to put on top.
I started snacking on more cut vegetables – celery, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers with some hummus on the side. Our intake of beans is limited to half cup, but that’s kind of hard to judge in hummus form. I’ve picked up some garlic stuffed olives (good thing J and I have been dating over 2 years!) and “Go Raw” snacks from Wegmans that are friendly to the diet. I also made some spoodles (sweet potato noodles) and cooking them with olive oil and cinnamon in the oven. They weren’t great, but I didn’t use a recipe and we all know I’m not the best or most creative chef out there (read: I hate cooking).
While it’s taking me a while to adjust, at the same time it isn’t. I don’t exactly miss the foods I’ve given up as in I don’t crave them. In fact, a couple of them make me wrinkle my nose right now (sweet and sour chicken, I’m looking at you). I absolutely love the way I feel eating all the veggies, but I could really use that full and satisfied feeling right about now. That’s what’s hardest. Though on the bright side, I haven’t had that food coma feeling with lethargy. I do not miss that. I think most of all, I just want a glass of wine.