Hello, Week 9 of the ABC's of 2012! I'm almost 1/3 of the way through and I've surprised myself with how good I've been at maintaining my various resolutions. In case you haven't tuned in for a while, here's a recap of what I've been doing the past 8 weeks:
Week 1: X- eXercise at least 4x a week. I've only had one slip with this where I missed a workout the week before last but I made up for it by doing 5 last week. I'm finally starting to see some significant results!
Week 2: Q- quit eating out, except for on special occasions or when someone else is paying. The definition of 'special occasions' is a little slippery, but Carl and I have stopped eating out on random weeknights and for every meal over the weekend so I'd say this has been more or less a success.
Week 3: N- use natural household products. This has been a slow transition, but gradually we are acquiring more natural products as we run out of their not-so environmentally friendly counterparts. I even bought compostable fabric softener sheets the other day- how cool is that!? My go-to brands are Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers.
Week 4: C- no more cheese, so tough! Aside from the pizza incident I've been doing pretty well keeping up with this one, but I'm not going to lie and say it's been easy... very far from it. Last night we went to D'Allesandro's, one of my all-time favorite pizza places, and it was pure torture for me not to partake in my normal cheese fest. I'm really proud of myself for staying strong, even despite the fact that I was already about 3/4 of the way through a bottle of wine when we arrived. Alcohol and willpower do not go hand in hand, especially when it comes to food.
Week 5: G- no more gluten, also a challenge but not to the degree that I originally anticipated. I've said good-bye to pasta, beer, and cookies and have welcomed improved digestion, increased energy levels, and better sleep. I'm not sure if it's fair to attribute all of this to the gluten since I've made several other dietary changes but it can't be hurting!
Week 6: O- eat more organic food. Buying organic has been hit or miss depending on what grocery store I'm shopping, what sales are going on (usually only conventional produce gets put on sale and boy, do I love to save money on produce), and what my budget looks like, but I've definitely been making an increased effort. In about a month we'll be able to start our spring/summer CSA with Joseph Fields Farms, an organic farm on Johns Island. Last time we did it we got a whopping 15 pounds of produce each week, so I can't wait to have that start up so that we can eat much more affordable organic food.
Week 7: S- refined sugar got the boot. Also not as hard as I expected; mostly it's meant making my own salad dressings since the main sugary foods that I was eating got nixed when I gave up gluten. Although I've got to say, I bought some Girl Scout cookies from one of our neighbors and died a little inside as I watched Carl gobble them up for breakfast while I had my fruit bowl. Sometimes I think he just likes to test me.
Week 8: J- juice at least 3x a week. It's only been a week but so far so good! The green juice has been treating me well.
Whew! That recap wasn't quite as brief as I intended. As I mentioned last Sunday, most of the tricky letters are out of the pool already so I've got a lot less to be scared of when I do my weekly pick now. Today I got 'P' for processed foods. I contemplated changing this one since I've more or less stopped eating processed foods already but decided against it, mostly because I couldn't come up with anything else. I'm open to suggestions if anybody has one! When I say that I'm going to quit eating processed foods I don't mean anything that comes in a box or other packaging- that would just be unrealistic. Instead, I'm going to be more mindful of excessive ingredients, especially when they look like they were just barfed out of a chemistry book. As Kris Carr says, "if it's made in a lab it takes a lab to digest." If you're like I was before I started reading books on nutrition then you may not have given much thought to the potential harm in processed foods. I would always tell myself that I was healthy, so it must not be all bad, right? Big time wrong. Allow me a moment to rant. Look at our society and the myriad of diseases we have and try to convince yourself that what we're eating isn't harmful or in some way connected to our massive health crisis. We tend to point fingers at specific nutrients or foods as the cornerstone for good health, or live counting calories to try to be skinny and it's all so backwards. Yeah, your snack was only 100 calories but what did you just eat? What nutrition did you provide your body? In his Thrive Foods book Brendan Brazier talks about the importance of eating high-net gain foods. These are foods that require less energy for your body to digest, leaving more usable energy. Heavily processed foods drain your body of energy during digestion and don't payout in the nutrient department, so why waste your time eating them? It's been easy for me to rely on processed foods when I'm busy or just don't feel like cooking but I'm not doing myself any favors, so that's why I've resolved to stop eating mystery ingredients and all the fluff that gets added into convenience food. I'll have to spend a little more time preparing my food, but I'm willing to trade my time for improved health.