Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sweet Peace #22: Breaking my sugar-fast. Now what?

I chose to break a 67-day sugar fast to celebrate my move to Santa Barbara. My friend Barbara organized champagne, miniature ice cream cones from Trader Joe’s and we binge-watched several episodes of the new season of Grace & Frankie.  It was perfect and I feel much more confident about my ability to commit to a health plan and honor it!

I never intended the “no-sugar” thing to be forever, just to break the sugar cycle that had gotten out of control. It seems to have worked; one glass of champagne and the tiny ice cream cones didn’t trigger a reaction. My intention for moving forward is to restrict sugar to important social celebrations.

During the no-sugar days, however, a new behavior crept in. Because I wasn’t eating sugar, it suddenly seemed okay to eat non-sugary junk food, especially on the road trips I was making as I prepared for the move. Salty snacks became a thing. As I thought about how to continue moving toward cleaner, healthier eating, I knew I needed to do something about those snack attacks. A different fast seemed like a logical idea … maybe processed-foods. At first, I jumped at the idea, but after awhile, it began to pale. There are lots of problems with processed foods: chemicals, calories with few health benefits, bad fats … and again sugar. However, another fast sounded horrid … like going to war with food instead of making peace with it.

Instead of focusing on eliminating “bad” foods, maybe it’s time to choose healthy foods, foods I like *and* add to my health. Mainly plants, focusing on fiber, and avoiding highly processed foods. Moderate eating without the black and white drama of fasting or (never again) dieting. 

When I moved, I inherited a 3-meals-a-day cafeteria which tries to be healthy while also pleasing 250 residents. It’s far more carb-loaded than my system wants so I have to learn to adapt to what’s available and my own health requirements. Fortunately, there is a decent salad bar at lunch and dinner and I think, with some creativity, it could be supplemented to become the foundation of a healthy eating plan.

I just found a guide to healthy eating in college cafeterias that offers some great ideas. This could be like a game … avoiding the hazards with simple supplements to the fundamentals.

Oatmeal: enhanced with peanut butter, cream cheese, chia seeds, greek yogurt, or fresh fruit.

Salad: enhanced with chopped greens, hard boiled eggs, beans, seed mixtures, fresh fruit, avocado,

blue cheese or other pre-shredded cheese

Soup: make my own once a week and store in serving sized, microwaveable jars.

Snacks: nuts and fruits.

This is doable. Obviously, I need an apartment-sized refrigerator and a microwave. 

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