Sunday, June 5, 2011

My deal with the Devil

I made a deal with the devil (devil-barbie) on Mar. 13.  We agreed that if I could eat perfectly for 12 weeks, I could have a day of eating SAD (Standard American Diet) food---well, in my case, that's vegan SAD food since I'm a vegan for other reasons than health.  By eating perfectly that means following Dr. Fuhrman's 6-week plan without overeating.  I outlined my program in this post.  I just realized I didn't quite make 12 weeks.  Wo, devil-barbie is clever--she miscalculated and told me 12 weeks was last weekend.  Okay, so I made it 11.5 weeks.  I'll double-check my calculations next time.  Also,  my SAD day turned into 2.  Then I had a hangover day yesterday, and today I feel great again and ever so happy to be back.  As usual, I don't think the lack of sleep and feeling yucky was worth it.  I'm amazed at how high I get from eating a white-flour tortilla (that was from a vegan burrito).  It really is true that processed grains have the same effect as sugar.  I also get high from decaff coffee and chocolate, not that I need to remind myself of that!   One of my treats was an oil-free granola and soy milk.  That's not even that bad, except for a relatively small amount of maple syrup, so I'm glad for that.  I could definitely make a healthy version of that with dates instead of maple syrup.

Will I do this again?  Well, I was chatting again with devil-barbie and we decided I should try to last until December 31, and have a SAD day then, and then join everyone else on Jan. 1 on having a hangover and starting over.  

I don't recommend this because you and I both could never return from SAD-land once we venture out, just like an alcoholic on a binge.  But it does make it easy for me to say no now and I hope for the next 6 months, knowing that it's not forever.  I find it much easier to say no to all SAD food than to figure out how much I can eat and still be healthy.  Plus it's much easier to train everyone else if the answer is always no.  But I guess I also like thinking that it's not forever.  I'm hoping this planned slip will go the way alcohol and caffeine did for me, just less desirable and less frequent over time until it just was no more.  Or maybe I'll just plan healthier and healthier slip-ups until they just become healthy treat days.  That's my hope!

Anyway, like I said, I am not presenting this as a behavior for you to emulate.  I'm just sharing that I'm not perfect.  I want to be honest about my successes and failures.  And if you want to give me advice for a better way, I welcome it!   I'm like you, just trying to eat healthy in an unhealthy world.

Update a week later:   I've had this feeling the last week that this deal with the devil idea is a really bad idea.  First there's the obvious reason that each time you eat SAD food, you may never return from it.  Talk about a slippery slope.   And second, it's just not good nutritarian behavior.  I think we should not give SAD food to ourselves as a reward.  I'm not saying I won't ever slip up in the future, but it should be my aim to not slip up.  I shouldn't plan to slip up.   I've also realized that you have to say no a lot, even in the nutritarian universe.  You have to say no when you've eaten enough, you have to say no to too many dates and nuts and fruit and beans, and even carrots.  You can eat too much of anything.   Once you have been off SAD food for several weeks, I'm not sure it's any harder to say no to that than to say no to too many pieces of corn on the cob, or cherries, or strawberries.    My SAD deviations the last few times started out as nutritarian deviations--too much of a good thing.  


Anonymous said...

Hi Barb -I do admire your discipline. I am on the verge of ordering some books and want to know if you still recommend the happiness/positivity books from a previous post in the same order? Bemily

Wendy said...

Dr. Barnard wrote a great book called Breaking the Food Seduction where he detail out how the brain reacts to different types of food. You are right on about the white tortilla being just like sugar. I posted about his book last night (I'm in the middle of it) and even though I have read a lot of books on this subject, this one really, really stands out as one of the best. If you are coaching people, this would be a very important read for newbies.

kneecap said...

Hi Bemily, I'll write a post about this in a few minutes. stay tuned. :)

Wendy, I read about half that book. Thanks for the reminder--I'll look it over again. I read your post about it too and I recommend others read it. Yes, sugar, salt, and fat, especially in combination are EXTREMELY addictive. For me, sugar and refined grains are the worst. I never thought I'd say they are worse than caffeine or alcohol but for me they are. And realize that our entire society is completely addicted to them. And yes, it's okay not to blame yourself for wanting them so much. It really does get easier when you abstain. and it feels much better. You miss the highs a little bit but sure don't miss the lows. I can see why Dr. Fuhrman says it ages the body too. My two days of being high on refined grains/sugar totally wore me out.

kneecap said...

Hi Bemily, I just posted with updated book recommendations.