- no nuts. They give me a stomach ache anyway. I'd rather eat every other healthy foods than nuts: beans, starches, veggies, and fruit. Nuts don't taste all that great and they are high calorie and high fat and I tend to overeat them (which is a bit odd, since they don't taste that great, though the combo of fruit and nuts is tasty to me). If I need some omega-3, I'll eat flax and chia seeds. If I feel I need fat, I can add pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
- almost no added salt. I'm not going to say no added salt because there are rare occasions when I will consume some. For example, at UWL potlucks (UWL is Chef AJ's Ultimate Weight Loss program, which I'm following. I wish it had a different name because I'm not trying to lose weight), sometimes people use small amounts of condiments in their recipes (e.g., mustard) that have salt in them. And when I backpack in the desert, I might panic and think I need salt (I added 1/8 tsp per day on my Grand Canyon trip but I don't think I needed it). So I will say: no added salt most of the time, but occasionally (once a month or less) a few hundred mg is okay (about 1/8 tsp) in a day. The reasons for very low salt are: salt makes you overeat, it raises my blood pressure, and it masks the taste of food and my taste buds.
- no animal products. duh.
- no wheat. I don't know if it is a problem for me, but Chef AJ and Alan Goldhamer don't recommend it, so that's fine by me. There are lots of good grains and pseudo grains that I can have instead.
- no flour or sugar. This was a hard one for me to say never to, because I realized I had this vegan exception: I still entertained the notion that I would make exceptions at famous vegan restaurants or big veggie festivals or fancy vegan dinner parties when I just want to bond with my awesome vegan friends and the awesome vegan-ness of it all. But I realized I'm just using communal vegan bonding as an excuse to eat sugar, flour, salt, and oil, and I called bullshit on that, haha. Nice try though. So once I realized that, then actually, this is easy too. I avoid these most of the time anyway. I have so many reasons not to eat these foods, mainly that they always come packaged with oil and salt, and the combination of all four of those things just makes me sick when I eat them. Then when I combine that with chocolate and caffeine and alcohol, because I'm celebrating with my friends and I'll want dessert too, right?, then I can't sleep and it just totally messes me up. And then I have cravings for the next few days and want to go off plan again. It's just not worth it. Talk about wasting time feeling sick.
- no chocolate or caffeine or alcohol. They are drugs and they keep me from sleeping (I think chocolate is the worst for that), and I get a hangover even with small quantities, and again with the chocolate, it gives me a headache the next day. I don't need any of that.
- supplements: only vitamin B12, and nori sheets for iodine--I don't call that a supplement though, that's food. Vitamin D is another controversy and I figure the only way to answer it for myself is to do the experiment on myself. All the studies on vitamin D and nuts are done on people eating the Standard American Diet. I don't think you can extrapolate to our diet. So the only way to answer the question for myself is to not take it and see if there are consequences on my health and how I feel. And I can get my blood tested though I don't know how meaningful the recommended levels are, or how effective supplementation is even if it raises your blood levels.
- Oh, and since I am following Chef AJ's program, I will avoid foods with a calorie density more than about 700 calories per pound. So I'll avoid avocados and dried fruit. I'll make an exception for dates that are blended into recipes, like AJ's red lentil chili or bean salad dressings.
Okay, the challenge starts tomorrow April 28. I did say goodbye to nuts today by eating a few pecans and cashews and peanuts (I only bought a small amount so I wouldn't overeat them!). They were not that tasty, I'm glad to say. Carrots and sugar snap peas are much more appealing to me. Okay, now I'm looking forward to this. It's just a fun thing to try. If I change my mind, that's fine.