Messing About With What I Eat


Lunchtime salad. Lots of garden greens, fried tempeh, roast cauliflower, and Puy lentils under there somewhere..

I have eaten SO MANY vegetables over the past few weeks, and tonight I couldn't bear the sight of another vegetable and ate pasta and pesto for dinner. Rosy has started eating plant-based and I said, "Oh, I'll do that with you, I need to eat more vegies.." It seemed like a good idea at the time. And truly, lots of vegies are a good idea, especially as my go-to lazy dinner this year has been cheese on toast waaay too often for my waistline.. eating plant-based has been very good for my digestion - it makes my belly happy - but my mind is rebelling. "I don't want another cucumber," it whines. I guess it doesn't help that before I started eating more plants I had already stopped eating sugar. I think my body may be in shock. So for the last seven weeks I have (mostly) quit sugar. There is none in the house, which is the only way this could ever work for me. I ate it all up in the first week, didn't buy any more, and haven't eaten any since, except that sometimes Red gives me a licorice bullet from their stash. About once a week I have been indulging a little - birthday cake, a brownie with a friend, sticky date pudding this weekend, but mostly I have not been eating any added sugar. It is amazing to me that this is possible, but there you go. It may or may not continue. 

I wondered, when I started this, what amazing physical benefits would accrue. It turns out, none, that I can see. Typical, isn't it? Do something positive for your health, and your body thanks you with... exactly nothing. The benefit for me is all in the mind. I am definitely calmer, less jittery, the thoughts do not go round and round in my head like water circling the drain. It's pretty good actually. There are some days when I think magically getting thin again would have been a preferable benefit, and I have lost a tiny bit of weight, can't help it really, when I'm not eating a whole block of chocolate every week, but nothing to write home about. Still, a calm mind is a marvellous thing. Well, calmer. Mostly calm. Comparatively calm. This year has not been conducive to calm, I must say. 

Okay, so Paul update - he has just had treatment 11 of 12. One round of chemo to go! He is feeling pretty miserable, as per usual in this stage of his cycle, but he generally manages something in a day - working for a couple of hours at the computer, walking up the hill to check the dam, or down the hill to check the water turbine, which has been working hard to produce a lot of electricity with all the rain we have been having. He finds walking or some form of physical exercise makes all the difference to his recovery time. Last cycle he was up on the roof cleaning the solar panels... honestly, that man accomplishes more while on chemo than I do while being perfectly healthy. I have been telling myself for about nine months that I need to clean out the roof gutters, but apparently I am not very persuasive. 

So, tell me what whacky things things you have been up to with your diet? Do you eat plant-based? Have you tried not eating sugar? Did it make any difference? Have you found a way to eat that suits your body and makes you feel good? When it comes down to it, I guess that is what I am looking for. I think my body is pretty happy with the new eating plan, but I am just waiting for my mind to catch up..


Deborah said…

Mostly sugar free for over two years, but do break out occasionally.Can't feel any difference but it was a weight loss and well being decision and I have lost a lot of weight. I follow a plan from my nutritionist. Veggie burn out is certainly a thing! I couldn't consider tomatoes (once my favourite food) or lettuce for ages and I'm still wary of celery.I couldn't maintain this plan if I didn't have the variety of fish, chicken and sometimes, beef.

Paul's determination is wonderful. Best wishes to you both,

Jo said…
Deborah, having a plan and a nutritionist sounds sensible. I am just winging it like I mostly do. I must say I am missing meat more than sugar. I don't think I will be only plant-based going forward, but I hope I can drastically reduce meat eating, maybe to every couple of weeks. I love the term vegie burnout. Priceless! I am so over cauliflower. I never really did like it. Still love green beans and also the new snowpeas from the garden, so all is not lost!
Congratulations on the weight loss. I am hitting middle age weight creep and hoping to slow it down. Currently I am not losing weight, but also not putting it on, which is great, because the idea of buying new jeans is just painful..
simplelife said…
I was a vego for years, but had so much trouble with iron and b12 deficiency that I went back to eating some meat and I have to say I did feel better for it. However it's slowly increased and the plant uptake has decreased and I find myself no longer feeling so good. So this post of yours is very timely as I'd already decided that from today I was going to increase the plant consumption and decrease the meat just a little. I'm also very addicted to sugar, it leaves me feeling terrible about myself and increases my anxiety. I had reduced my consumption to almost nothing and certainly not a daily habit and then (of course) a long came a very stressful incident and so the old habit of self soothing with chocolate kicked right back in. That too shall be reigned in starting today. Man I wish I was a stronger more self disciplined type. But I need to lose weight and regain my mental health.
cheers Kate
Jo said…
Kate, I am so with you on wishing I was more self-disciplined! I cannot keep chocolate in the house, or it is gone into my belly without me even noticing.. it's like there are two me people, the one who eats the chocolate, and the one who says, "No, what chocolate?" Same with the meat. It is so easy to eat meat plus a lettuce leaf and tell myself it is a meal, whereas if there is no meat I have to faff about and make a proper meal with veg and beans and grains in order to fill me up. I know there is no middle path there for me.. My out is that I eat whatever is served up to me when I am away from the house, but all I have at home is veg and beans. That seems to be working so far. It's not really viable if you have a house full of meat-eaters though...
Anonymous said…
I have returned to my love of sandwiches, meats, baked beans, vegetables, tomatoes you name it, it goes on bread. Add jalapeños, and mustard and it's a "complete" meal. I would like to become more plant base but at this point it's more of a like than an actual thing.
I love sugar, love it but I don't eat much of it. I recently made a cake for a gathering, a froze the leftovers in an effort to not finish the cake on my own. Just for information: it is better to thaw the cake than to eat it frozen...
One more treatment for Paul!!
Much love to you,
Treaders said…
I have tried vegetarianism a couple of times and felt really good on it. Trouble is, I think you just get into a rut and don't know what to cook any more don't you! Now if I had my own cook .... And I'm sorry Paul is feeling rough at the moment but he is one very determined man. Good luck to him - it'll soon be over!
Jo said…
Patricia, I am still laughing about the frozen cake.. seriously, who has time to let the cake defrost? And this is why I can't have nice things to eat in the house..
And sandwiches are totally the best and definitely a whole meal. If I could I would eat sandwiches for every meal for the rest of my life, but truthfully, it would just become a toasted cheese and peanut butter toast feast, because I have zero self-control.

Anna, oh, I want a cook! I do appreciate nice food, it's just that all I want to make for myself is toast. And I hear you on cooking plant-based. I have cooked with meat my whole adult life, and I'm kind of flummoxed about cooking vegan. I mean, it requires thought and forward planning. Ugh. But it does make me feel good, as you said. I think I might go with meat every couple of weeks, but that leaves a lot of meals in between to work on!
Mary said…
I went on a vegetarian diet in the 90's and vegan 3-4 years ago, mostly whole food/plant-based (I still eat honey), for animal and environmental ethical reasons. I was already in good health and have seen no real benefits from my diet(I guess the benefits would be long-term anyway), but other people have told me about positives benefits they have had from going WFPB. I love vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes so this is not hard for me to do. But I also use whole grain pasta and home made bread. Every tooth in my mouth is a sweet tooth! So I do eat sweets but in moderation. I cut out sugar for six months one time and lost a few pounds at first, but otherwise I couldn't tell any difference except that when I went in restaurants or grocery stores the smell of sweets was dominant. Glad to hear you are feeling relatively calmer and that Paul is nearing the end of his chemo treatments.
GretchenJoanna said…
Meat and lots of vegetables are what make me feel best. I think the plant-based diet is a modern fad that is not healthy for most people long-term.

Almost two years ago I got very compliant with the Blood Type Diet (including removing sugar) because I had various minor health issues and a worsening leukopenia (deficiency of white blood cells). My aches and pains were gone within a few days and the next time I had blood work done my leukocytes were higher than ever in recorded history.

But sugar and grains and crunchy snacks are hard to do without, so I'm on a sort of perpetual roller coaster, not a good example of discipline.
Jo said…
Mary, "every tooth in my mouth is a sweet tooth" - YES! I find I am looking for sneaky ways to eat sugar while pretending I'm not eating sugar... for instance, if someone brings me treats from the bakery (hello, almond croissant), that doesn't count, right?
I'm interested to know whether you really missed meat at the beginning of your vegetarian journey? I know I am, some has crept back in already, as I am cooking meat sometimes for Red, and it smells so good..

Gretchen Joanna, I am very pleased that veganism is the current fad, as there are so many wonderful vegie recipes out there now! I am specifically trying out a plant based diet to try and get maximum veg into my days. Some days I am more enthusiastic about this than others. I think at this stage I will eat some meat every couple of weeks. I'll see what happens.
I am not familiar with the blood type diet, heard of it, but never looked into it, but wow, it seemed to have some good effects for you. What is it that you think specifically helped your white blood count return to normal?
Mary said…
When I first went vegetarian I really missed homemade grilled hamburgers - that and bacon, but that gradually went away. My partner eats meat some, and now I don't even like to smell it cooking. When I went vegan I really missed eggs at first. I thought I would miss cheese because I used to love different kinds of cheese but it hasn't been a problem.
GretchenJoanna said…
I don't know if there was one main thing... Since my WBC had been *very* slowly been decreasing over 20 years, there are so many factors that probably weighed into that trend. And how it could suddenly reverse so drastically -- I imagine it was a combination of a hundred different dietary changes, some of them very small, but all of them in the right direction, customized to my body. There are refinements to the Blood Type Diet, and it often feels too complicated, until one is faced with a mysterious ailment such as I had, which is motivating!

Orthodox Christians frequently fast from most animal products, so I also am very, very thankful that there are so many vegan options nowadays. Pumpkin seeds! And living in California makes eating fresh vegetables pretty easy. Every time I grocery shop in other states I am disappointed in the quality of the produce.
Dar said…
Thinking of you and Paul and family and hoping the waning days of the year bring you a fresh new one. Happy 2022.
Jo said…
Mary, turns out I am eating plant-based about half the time, and the other half I am eating up left-overs, because that is my job in this house:) so I am not missing meat after all, because I am eating it. Albeit less than I was, so I will take that as a win.

Gretchen Joanna, yes, mysterious ailments are very motivating! I am glad you found something that worked so well for you. I think fasting days must be so much better now than in the fifties, for instance. That would have been a bit dire, although even then vegetable soup was a thing. But what is bread without hommus to dunk in your soup?

Dar, it is so good to hear from you. And yes, so looking forward to a fresh, hopeful year:)

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