For two weeks over these past holidays, I did a food cleanse. What this meant was that, while my family was eating fondue, the best pizza in the whole world (Papa Del’s), pierogies (my favorite food in the whole world) and polish sausage, I was eating vegetable soup. While they were eating truffles, cookies, pie and cake balls over a glass of chilled wine, I was sipping a chalky nutrient shake.
I learned some interesting lessons, some new, some re-learned, that I would like to share with you:
1. Food temptations are all bark and no bite.
When a new delectable food came my way, I would drool over it for 10 seconds. And then the craving would subside. 10 seconds. That was it. It is hilarious to me how many times in the past I have caved in during those 10 seconds. It used to go a little like this:
At 0 seconds: “Mmmm, that smells good. I shouldn’t eat it, though. Too many calories.”
At 2 seconds: “But, oh man, I want it.”
At 4 seconds: “This is so annoying. Can’t a girl have any fun?”
At 6 seconds: “Life without this yummy goody is soooo bleak.”
At 8 seconds: “Ok, I’ll have just a little taste. I’ll be good tomorrow.”
And yet, I found that if I just held the fort for the full 10 seconds, the urge to eat the goody would fade and my mind would move on. This is good news, folks. A simple “count to 10″ rule can work wonders.
2. Fruit is delicious.
The rest of the world may already know this, but I discovered that fruit is pretty darn tasty. I used to be too busy eating the over-the-top, sugary stuff to even notice. Compared to the rollercoaster of processed sugar, fruit used to taste pretty boring to me. But take out the processed sugar, give your tastebuds a day to recalibrate and boom! Fruit.
3. We are not hunter-gatherers anymore: It’s time to stop obsessing about food.
My food plan during my cleanse was quite simple and straight-forward, so I wasn’t thinking and deciding about what I would eat. In the mental silence that ensued, I realized how much time I truly spend thinking about food. It’s like I sometimes have my own little food network streaming in my head about what sounds good to eat, what I should and shouldn’t eat, what I can justify eating, etc. Whether I end up eating the food in question or not, the point is that I have been known to spend a good deal of mental real-estate mulling over food. I guess I could see how this would be a good idea if we were still living in the pre-historic times of the hunters and gatherers and really did have to spend a lot of effort finding our next meal. I owe my ancient ancestors a big “thank you” for how much they did focus on food, but those days are over. Grocery stores are here to free up our time so that we can focus on other life pursuits, not the same old hunter-gatherer food obsessions.
4. Eating well makes you even-keeled.
When I ate simple, unprocessed, clean foods, I felt much more calm and present. No high moods, no low moods. Just peaceful. I remember days in the past when I would eat a bunch of junk at work, go on an emotional rollercoaster and then come home and have to meditate to calm myself down. I could have skipped both the rollercoaster and the meditating and still gotten my calm. I do like meditating, though.
Those lessons were my Christmas presents. Now that I am back off the cleanse and into the “normal world” of eating, I won’t ever look at my relationship to eating the same again. I am giving up sweets and glutenous breads and pastas. I am eating one piece of fruit per day. And I am starting my day with a chalky nutrient shake. Some things are worth making a habit of.
So, what new eating habits will you be cultivating for yourself in 2012?
A blog by Dr. Samantha Sutton, VP of Courses and Seminars and Senior Coach at the Handel Group
Reprinted by The Daily Love
Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn/