Breaking the Junk Food Habit

I’ve been thinking recently about how much my attitude towards food has changed over the past year or so. The girl who once binged on pizza and Coke and regularly ate Tastycake Coffee Cakes for breakfast has come a long way.

When I started improving the way we eat, I didn’t click my sparkly red heels together and think to myself, “I will never eat junkfood again.”

I just focused on putting good stuff into my body, and I gradually lost my desire for the industrial foods that once beckoned me with a crafty smile and empty promises.

The more I learned about how most of our standard American fare is grown and processed, the less desire I had to eat it. And as I began to feel better than I have in years, the sight of those foods were more likely to conjure up thoughts of painful gas and bloating than how good they might taste.

I’m also noticing that after eating so much “real food,” when I do take a bite of something that’s heavily processed, I can taste the chemicals. And the . . . emptiness. I’ve truly lost my taste for much of the food I used to enjoy. Even my beloved Coca-Cola Classic is now but a memory. You would have to have known me in college to truly get what a feat that is.

More recently, taking gluten and grains out of my diet has eliminated most of my remaining stomach complaints, although I think I may have to eliminate dairy before all is said and done.

By far the best part about going gluten and grain free is that I no longer have a desire to binge. Carbs have a way of creating cravings for more carbs, and that is a vicious cycle, let. me. tell. YOU.

For the first time in my life, I can easily stop eating when I’m full, and I feel satisfied from one meal to the next without the highs and lows created by a diet steeped in carbs and sugar. It’s a whole new world. Social events aren’t stressful anymore because I don’t worry about over indulging. Going out to eat is the same. (And it’s amazing how many restaurants have gluten-free menus if you ask.)

I honestly would recommend this diet to ANYONE, regardless of the sensitivity issue. Although, from what I’ve been reading, many more people are probably sensitive to grains than we realize. Of course not all grains are created equal; preparing whole grains properly can make them tolerable for many. For my family, I’m trying to use only soaked or sprouted whole grains, and I’m working on balancing their intake of grains with more good fats and protein and cruciferous vegetables. It helps that all of our dinners are grain-free now. That way I don’t feel quite so guilty about sending sandwiches in their lunchboxes every day.

Right now I’m working on giving up coffee, although I find myself rather uninspired by this latest diet change. Perhaps I haven’t given myself enough time yet. Assuming that coffee is aggravating my already sensitive digestive track, the hope is that going off it along with gluten might help me heal faster and more thoroughly.

I’ve taken to drinking Dandy Blend — a dandelion beverage that resembles coffee, but not quite enough, if you ask me. At least it’s something warm to drink in the morning, and a great vehicle for getting more coconut oil into my diet.  (I like to add coconut oil to my coffee, and now my Dandy Blend.) Research on coffee is conflicting. Some actually say it’s good for you.  Others say it’s not. And so it goes.

If science was so, you know, scientific, you’d think the “experts” might actually agree on something.

There is a lot going on right now with our food system and how much power the government should have over food producers. This ultimately affects our right to choose what foods we purchase and eat. Now is NOT the time to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the government will protect our rights. We wrote to our senators, expressing our opinions about this bill. Fortunately there is an amendment to protect smaller farmers from unnecessary and costly regulations, but it’s still giving way too much power to the FDA, in my humble opinion.

If nothing else, we can vote with our pocketbooks. For me, that means putting our hard earned money into the local economy and supporting local producers and growers who care about how their food is grown and raised.

So how about you? Have you given up industrial foods for real food? Have your taste buds changed? Do you find yourself considering how things were grown and raised and produced, and does that affect how you feel about putting them in your body?

Do you want to eat better but think you can’t give up the foods you like to eat?  I urge you to do more research about our food system and how devoid of nutrients it truly is.  Try eating more whole foods. When you do, think about how they taste and how you feel.  Don’t ignore issues like eczema, rosacea, acne, energy level, mood — the foods we put into our bodies affect all of this and more. My rosacea and acne has cleared up since going off gluten and coffee. Go figure!