Friday, May 22, 2009

Eating Habits

Here's my dilemma: I love sugar, desserts, bread, pasta and I want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit this summer. For the next few weeks, I'm trying to cut out any added / refined sugar in my diet and any white flour. I did this for 6 weeks at the beginning of the year and it made a huge difference in how I felt. The first few days are always the worst for me and then I start having more energy and more will power. See that picture of my lunch today? I actually feel satisfied and proud of myself after eating that instead of the piece of pizza I was eyeing at Whole Foods this afternoon.

While my initial motivation for these dietary modifications might be pure vanity, what keeps me motivated is thinking about the health consequences of a diet high in refined sugar and refined carbs. I met a junior high health ed teacher recently and she told me that she has her students make paste out of white flour, sugar, and water to show them what it does to their bodies - yuck. Check out this blog for some great information and links to research. I've also been inspired by watching my parents do FLT and my sister-in-law survive a strict anti-candida diet so I figured that I could get rid of sugar as well. A final motivation has been my daughter - wanting to stay healthy for her sake and becoming concerned about what I feed her and what I teach her about eating habits.

For me, the white flour is much easier for me than the sugar. There are so many gluten free, whole grain options these days and I can easily eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, and quinoa. Sugar is another story. First, sugar is in EVERYTHING and I don't just mean sweets (black beans, canned vegetables, salad dressings, broth). Second, I love to bake and I have a hard time achieving good results (not just taste but texture) without some form of sugar. I'm going to be making a muffin recipe with coconut flour and agave that a friend made for me and I'll let you know how that goes.

For now, my sweet tooth is satisfied with freeze dried fruit, unsweetened dried mango, or dates, and I find that drinking lots of water helps cut down on the cravings. I'm also learning that I reach for snacks and sweets more when I'm bored, tired, or frustrated than when I'm actually hungry.

What are some of your dietary challenges, modifications, or tips for staying motivated?

And, although I still make this with sugar, here's a chocolate chip cookie recipe without white flour:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c. oats, ground in the blender until flour-like
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together. With a mixer, cream the butter and the sugars. Add the egg, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop batter onto a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


  1. Well if you're gonna go w/o sugar, then get your monies worth! Don't stop at the bathing suit - go for de Bikini!!
    Everything in moderation, Professor.

  2. that looks like my lunch and very candida-esque!!! my tips for surviving... coconut, Lara, nuts, like you--unsweetened dried mango(!), and Whole Foods (only on Arroyo) has a fig-sweetened dark chocolate bar (blanking on the name)... I take one bite a day b/c of $5.95 per bar and I should avoid chocolate, and of course, the homemade unsweetened granola (thanks for your expertise) w/ plain greek yogurt.

  3. my tips and tricks. . .
    for sweets I get by with fruit. And FLT medical food . . . those things are enough to crub my craving for sweets.
    I think that taking soda pop out of my diet has really helped to not crave sweets too.
    The white flour thing - to begin with I took bread and pasta out completely. Just didn't eat 'em. Then, when I added in the whole grain options they became a treat. Its pretty easy, I'm finding more and more restaurants have a whole grain pasta option, or will substitute vegetables for rice or potatoes.
    Taking the flour out means no to most desserts, so it takes care of the sugar thing too.
    The biggest tip though is I've found changing how I look at food and eating to be the biggest help. I look at my choices for their nutritional value, and realize that eating is not a recreational sport. It takes discipline - good for you Bec for giving it a shot!

  4. Well... you know I gave up all the meat a few months back and now find myself iron deficient. So I am working on dietary sources that don't use kale (not my favorite). But this weekend I had some fabulous quinoa cooked with green onions and some other good stuff. That's a recipe I really need! If I can get it I'll share.

  5. Aren't kidney beans high in iron? I also remember from my prenatal classes that it's absorbed better if you combine foods high in vitamin C with foods high in iron.