Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm not a junkitarian, but still....

I am learning a lot by following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan. There's tons of nutritional advice of course, but I'm also learning about how my other diet compares. I'm beginning to realise that although I cooked pretty much everything from scratch and am definitely not a junkitarian, I was still eating a remarkable amount of processed foods, without even really noticing.

I see now how much bread I usually eat. How much pasta. The vegan cheese in quesadillas and grilled paninis, white flour in the cakes and cookies I bake and write about here. The Gimme Lean sausages and white bread french toast on weekend mornings. And I am quite shocked. In an earlier post Sara was kind in pointing out that the biggest change has already been made - moving from omni to vegan - and that giving up a few processed foods would be easy in comparison. And for the most part she's right, of course. But I do miss the breads - especially the artisanal loaves we usually get from this tiny little independent place where they bake the bread in a wood-fired beehive oven and fetch the loaves out on long wooden spades - and the few convenience foods I used to enjoy.

And I guess the difference here is motivation. When I turned my back on animal products I did so because I could not bear to be a part of the suffering, to support the unconscionable cruelty that pervades the animal exploitation industries.

It was completely for the animals.

Eliminating processed foods from my diet is for me and - although I am motivated to improve my own health and drop the weight - the compulsion is just not as strong.

The ETL food is great - a huge variety of beautiful, colorful fresh fruit and vegetables, some brown rice and a little bread (1 slice in 5 days) and I am enjoying what I do eat. The broccoli and red pepper soup is a standout - I could have eaten the whole panful! And the stew from last night (Day 4) actually had me going back to the stove just to recheck and make absolutely sure nothing was left.

It's just that I am missing what I do not eat. And I am also feeling a bit lost without the comfort of our routine. Fridays, for instance, My Beloved and I frequently go for a pizza (cheese-free for me) and a movie. That will not happen tonight and I am totally clueless as to how to make a Friday evening special without using food. Everything I think of revolves around going out for a meal or winding down from the week over a pint or two in our local brew-pub.

I wonder how many of you can empathise and what you found would help?

Stay Vegan, Friends!


Stay Vegan! said...

You could certainly make Fridays special by cooking a meal. It's not the same instant gratification as going for pizza, but use that as a day to make something special.

Maria Rose said...

I agree a new routine is the best solution. Making a meal together is a great idea. Other wind down ideas I have are:
Watching a movie, taking a walk, have some tea and conversation, making a fort (my hubby and I do this), invite friends over for a dinner.

You could also just modify your normal routine. Go out to eat, but get something you can eat on your new diet and have tea instead of beer.

I will keep thinking!

Amanda said...

Hi Guys!

Thanks for your comments. In the end, I did manage to modify our Friday night plans by eating at home (the Eat to Live Chow Mein) and then going out to a late showing of a movie ('Knowing'). All of which had the extra advantage of saving us a ton of money too!

And as for the 'tea not beer'...yep, it's been a couple of weeks now since I have anything stronger than peppermint tea! Which, for me, is somewhat unusual but I quite like it. Hopefully I will like the accompanying weight-loss too - fingers crossed!

:) Amanda

Sara said...

You know, going vegan and giving up my ultimate go-to comfort food was old fav (only second to mashed potatoes) was a cheese-filled, super saucy enchilada casserole! Every time I made it, the world stopped and I had a moment to breath and retreat into a plate of home and love and comfort. Giving that up was perhaps the hardest thing when I went vegan..not because of the cheese..but because of the comfort that dish provided. Jo came up with the tomatillo casserole as an alternative to that cheese casserole we used to enjoy so much. And now I crave that instead! (Can you eat corn tortillas on ETL?) Identifying this craving and the reality that it was the comfort I was needing, and not the particular dish - which was simply serving as a conduit - was huge in the way of finding the comfort elsewhere. Breads are a big addiction for me too..but I also have found that over time, particularly because I try to cut out processed foods too, that my desire (read: desperation) for bread products has diminished. The less I eat, the less I crave them. So getting through the initial withdraw is the hard part..but you can do it! It's like any other addiction that needs to be broken. Try reconditioning when you find yourself craving a bread product, over-indulge in something that is equally comforting (or similar in character) but acceptable on the you satisfy the emotion itself, not the mental voice that is saying it can only be satisfied by bread.

You know, if it helps to have an outside reason (other than for yourself)..reducing the consumption of processed foods reduces waste created as well as production byproducts, so you're helping the environment! Fruits and veggies are their own self-contained item, thus no packaging or processing required!