What’s good to eat?
If you follow any Facebook pages at all, you will hear people say something like, “I feel better with no carbs,” “I feel better when I have some vegetables,” or (heaven forbid, but it is true) “I feel better when I carb cycle.” For the longest time I would just be so puzzled, like How do you know this? I think the basic problem for me (and it may be for you too) was that I just never felt really good. I used that not-really-good feeling as a baseline like you would walking around with a low-grade fever. You don’t necessarily feel warm and icky; it’s just the way it is for you. Or another comparison might be not realizing how tight your shoes are until you take them off. I think with all the overeating and carb eating and high insulin and blood sugar that I have had all these years, I just felt the way I felt. When I wasn't outright sick (with a stomach ache or nausea or lethargy) it was a good day. I felt “good” a lot but, boy, has that definition changed in the nearly two years I have been Keto. Now I really know what feeling good is all about!
I feel good eating vegetables
When I first started Keto, I was heavy into casseroles made with pounds and pounds of cheese and meat. They were tasty, but just didn’t feel right. So then I had a salad every day at lunch and would have a piece of some casserole at dinner. I felt better. However, I was not quite sure whether it was because I really felt better or whether it was because it felt better to be a good girl eating all that salad. I do enjoy salad, but there was a part of me left over from dieting that would think I had to eat salad. When I started going to one of my favorite restaurants after retirement, I would order the Cobb salad (unless it was prime rib night, then I would order that!) because it was the easiest choice, but also maybe I felt that I should be eating salad. Then Carrie Brown started to make a lot of appearances on several podcasts and conferences, and somewhere in her presentations she would always say that she felt better eating vegetables. I still pondered that and wondered, how does she know that?
WELL, I have to tell you, I had my lightbulb moment a few weeks ago when things were particularly hectic here. We had the grandkids here for two-night overnights, twice in a week, we had two full-day parties with a large cast of characters each day, a 75th birthday party to attend (all day with family, an hour from our house) and a memorial service including lunch that lasted almost all day. This is all in a 10-day span. By about the 4th or 5th day in, I was “catching as catch can” (another thing I newly appreciated the meaning of) even though I had an enormous amount of food and variety in my house. Really, the kids got me up at 6 a.m. and then we went to the park and then came home for swimming (no naps, mind you) — am I going to leisurely make a salad for myself or am I going to grab leftover meat for breakfast and maybe some cold chicken for lunch? You get the picture. By the time we hit Saturday night at the end of the first week I was feeling sick and also tired (well, two kids with no naps will do that to you — but this was a different kind of tired) and I had that lightbulb moment. I realized that I was sick of eating meat, not because of the monotony of it, but because I craved a salad. And not a salad made quickly and wolfed down even more quickly. I wanted a salad with about 10 things in it, all lovingly washed, sliced and tossed. I craved sitting with it and actually chewing it and enjoying every bite. I wanted zucchini and radishes and string beans and cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden. All of a sudden I knew what Carrie, and others, meant when they said “I just feel better eating vegetables.”
Your body talks. Listen!
I realized that, for the first time, my draw towards salads and other fresh vegetables has been my body talking to me, and not the desire to be a good girl for the diet industry. I also know that meat and chicken and eggs and cheese and nuts and seeds speak to me. No longer is it a mystery to me why I want this and not that, or some of this and not all of that. I had an interesting conversation about this with a friend who pointed out that I have listened to my body all these years and it has gotten me into nothing but trouble. I think the difference is head hunger (chips, cookies, cake, overeating) versus true body — and dare I say, spirit — hunger. I am going to try to quiet my mind and see what really fills me up. Some of us use food in an effort to fill a void — I am not talking about that. I am talking about true nourishment — of the body, mind and soul.