You may remember this post from a while ago. I wanted to give you an update on how things have been going.
Well after I wrote this, somehow sugar began to slowly creep back in to my diet until I was right back where I started again. I was finding it so difficult to feel satisfied and full without a regular dose of cake or chocolate and nothing else seemed to hit the spot. I am breastfeeding a toddler and my appetite is huge but what I was craving was sweet food and nothing else would do.
The turning point came when I read an article on raw food diets. It lead me to Ka Sundance at the raw food family and after watching some of his videos on you tube I realised the mistake I had been making. The raw food diet is a diet of abundance, not restriction. I had been eliminating sugary foods but not replacing them with enough of the good stuff (going against my own advice!). Although I haven’t switched to a raw food diet, the simple act of increasing my consumption of these foods has had such a balancing affect on me. In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about cutting out sugar at this point, I had given in to it to be honest. I was simply interested in the natural way we humans are designed to eat.
What I discovered is that our closest relatives – the chimpanzees and gorillas have a diet based around fruits, greens and the occasional insect. I was amazed to see films of people who had been not only surviving on fruits and veg alone, but THRIVING. This film shows a woman absolutely radiant with health after being on a raw food diet for 7 years. She is not emaciated and sick but healthy and glowing. (She starts talking about her food choices 7 minutes in).
It was enough to really get me thinking. My relationship with food has been odd for many years. In my teens after some emotional occourings, I put myself on a very restrictive diet of very low calories. I got thin and ill and luckily I was able to pull myself out of it before it got too out of control. But since then I have gone almost the opposite way, allowing myself to eat as much as I like and usually much more than I really needed. My diet was filled with healthy foods but substituted with vast amounts of sugary junk too. I often get panicky if I feel hungry, triggering those old memories of my dieting and this causes me to make rash food choices and eat more than is necessary.
It was realising the very obvious fact that I wont suddenly keel over from hunger – you may laugh but food issues run deep! – on realising that animals far bigger than me survive on fruits and foliage alone that helped me work through these issues.
The only real change I made was to eat a lot more raw foods. But this has had a whirlwind effect. After a few days of it I realised I hadn’t even thought about cake. I was eating regularly as usual but making healthy choices. I eat about every 2 hours through the day, (as I have for a long time) and have been feeling completely satisfied. Not only that but I have stopped needing to eat right before bedtime too. This feels great, it is not good to go to bed on a full stomach – your body is trying to shut down for the night but you have just filled it with more stuff to digest. For as long as I can remember I have needed a midnight snack but without any conscious decision not to, I just haven’t needed it.
And the best bit is that I haven’t given up sweet things either. I have discovered a great snack bar which is full of seeds, nuts and cereal and is deliciously (and naturally) sweet. Where before I would have eaten three in a row, now I have one every few days if I feel like it. My food has been tasting fresher, I have been enjoying simple fresh fruit and I feel healthy! Simple treats like organic peanut butter or a bowl of granola are enough to curb my sweet tooth and I need much less of these foods than I used to.
I mentioned in my other post that restrictive diets are not sustainable and I stick by that. I have made no rules for myself about sugar and I am sure I will eat it again occasionally. But I hope I wont get sucked into dependency on it again. The best piece of advice I have picked up from Ka Sundance is that you don’t have to be on a 100% raw food diet, you just have to be sure in your heart that what you are eating is the best possible food for you. It helps to think of this when making your food choices and after a very short time, it really does become second nature. So I am going to fill a bowl with spinach, avocado and sunflower seeds, my current favourite snack. What will you be snacking on today?
A little disclaimer – I am not affiliated with any of the people I have linked in this article, just passing on some useful resources.