Today’s prompt: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
I’ve struggled with the prompts the past few days, but this is one I can get behind. My life has plenty of excess to be trimmed. I could probably write a whole post about whatever it is in my Protestant ethic that makes me uncomfortable identifying positive traits in myself and highly adept at identifying negatives, but that might be for another day.
For now, I’m going with a diet riff for the prompt. I dieted for several months in 2010. I lost weight. I decided to take a break on dieting for the holidays with the goal only of “don’t gain it back.” After Christmas, though, the plan is to get right back to it.
I’ll be going back to it with some real diet fatigue, though. I won’t be able to keep it up if I do the same thing I did before, which was to count carbs. This is why I’m going to design my own diet next. It will be vegetarian because I am vegetarian even when I’m not on a diet. It will be part raw foods, part Mediterranean, part clean foods, and part local foods.
I’m going to eat a lot of salad. I’m going to eat raw vegetables with hummus or peanut butter. I’m going to eat fresh fruit and not worry a bit about how many carbs it has. If I eat bread, I’m going to try to make it myself instead of eating the kind from the store that is full of chemical additives. Likely, I’ll skip the bread altogether and just eat whole grain organic rice.
That’s the plan. Meanwhile, here are my 11 things I want to remove from my diet (as much as reasonably possible).
1. Preservatives–Just so no to canned and boxed goods. I don’t need to pickle myself with chemical additives. If I can’t buy fresh, I can at least buy dry or frozen so as to reduce the amount of additives.
2. Packaging–A side benefit of eating more fresh produce and less processed food is helping the environment by not hauling home all that extra packaging.
3. Dyes–Like preservatives, I’m not sure I trust dyes in my food. I want to eat fresh so as to avoid them (except for really important things like red velvet cake).
4. Genetically modified organisms–I’m so over grocery store veggie burgers because I saw a documentary about genetically modified soy. I’m okay with the kind of genetic modification that small farmers have always done in creating hybrid seeds and in selecting seeds for the hardiest crops. But the stuff the big corporate farms are doing to reshape the genetic structure of plants is scary. I don’t trust it. If I really need a veggie burger, I’m going to buy black-eyed peas from a local farmer and make my own.
5. Cheap coffee–I’m trying to cut back on caffeine. That’s not easy for an addict. I’ve managed by drinking a cup of tea when I first wake up instead of a cup of coffee. I’m also drinking water with meals. Still, I don’t want to give up coffee altogether. I love coffee. Coffee is a close personal friend, a close family friend. I’ve decided I will allow myself an occasional cup of high quality coffee, but I can’t allow myself to swig down the cheap stuff all day every day.
6. Carbonated beverages–I’ve almost manged to wean myself off Diet Cokes already, but I hope to really go for 99% Diet Coke free in 2011. There’s not a single healthy thing about them.
7. Refined carbohydrates–Sometimes refined carbohydrates are necessary. I’m not going to refuse to eat my nephew’s birthday cake because it is made of sugar and cake flour. I’m just going to refrain from walking to the coffee shop for a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie every morning. I want refined sugars and refined grains in my diet to be the exception and not the rule. For day-to-day carb consumption, I hope to stick to fresh fruits and whole grains.
8. Hormones–I’m over dairy products because of the documentary about hormones and antibiotics fed to the cows. I personally suspect that all of the mucking around we’ve done with the food chain is responsible for the increased rates of cancer and chronic illnesses. I’m currently searching for alternate sources of calcium. This might be easier if I weren’t also distrustful of soy products due to the GMO issue. Maybe I just need to buy some dairy goats and raise my own calcium. The neighbors would appreciate that.
9. Big meals–I’m going to try to really enjoy what I eat, but I’m also going to try to enjoy it in managed portions. We put ourselves into cycles of overeating by spiking our blood sugar with big meals. Then we have an insulin surge and a sugar crash and we have to eat again to pull ourselves out of the crash, but we just end up repeating the cycle all over again. It’s so much better to go ahead and eat every two or three hours but to eat in small enough portions that we don’t have those constant ups and downs.
10. Late meals–I have trouble sleeping if I eat too late. It seems a simple enough solution to just not do that.
11. Quick meals–One of my biggest problems with diet is that I eat on the go. I’m always busy, so it’s easier to eat something quick without thinking about it. I want to make myself stop and pay some heed to what I’m shoving in my mouth. One of my friends suggested always eating on nice plates so that I would always want to put better food on the plate. When I realized I had no problem eating chips and dip off fine china, I decided that didn’t work. My plan instead is to try to just be more mindful of the food itself.
I could go on. And on and on. I have dim view of the typical American diet and an even dimmer view of my own dietary habits. But I always have plans to do better next week or next month. Right now, I even have plans to do better today.
In my refrigerator I have fresh beets and cabbage and broccoli and sugar snaps. I’m about to see what I can make of them.