Tempted by the Salad Bar

About 6 weeks ago, I hit a completely new level of frustration regarding my body. Those of you who know me well know how much I enjoy physical activity, and that I make exercise (in many forms) part of my regular routine. Those of you who know me even better know I get really grumpy when I haven’t been able to work out on a regular basis. But it seemed that no matter what I did, especially this summer, I could not lose those last 15 or so pounds. I worked out and kept a food journal…and gained weight. One one of those days (ladies, you know of that which I speak), I was reading a magazine snippet (not long enough to constitute a full-fledged article) about a book that sounded like it might be helpful. So I headed to the store and purchased a copy and plowed through it.

Finally someone recognizes that there are many reasons people have difficulty losing weight…and that the food industry really has done a number on our physical health…and the media has done a number on the way in which we view our bodies. This book tackles each contributing factor and addresses what we need to do differently. Namely, we need to be eating more whole foods (organic when possible) and very little in the way of processed foods. Artificial colorings and flavorings, hydrogenated oils in any form, high fructose corn syrup, processed and refined sugar and carbs, and several other things need to be completely booted from our diets and our pantries.

The eating plan begins with a week of preparation during which time you wean yourself off of alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colorings and preservatives. The next three weeks involved completely cutting out (in addition to the above) dairy, eggs and gluten.

Ladies and gentlemen, dairy and eggs are relatively easy to do without. Gluten, on the other hand, is not. I am thankful that I do not have celiac disease or a (known) intolerance to gluten. You can’t go out to eat. If you do, you are limited to raw veggies from the salad bar. The unfortunate part, for those who cannot tolerate gluten, is the exclusion they must feel when we have get togethers involving food or arrange for a night out at a restaurant. There is a HUGE social component to eating in our society. For those with gluten intolerances, either they hang out with their salad and water or they are the ones doing the entertaining. While I’m sure the latter is a welcome option, it surely must get old after awhile.

As for the eating out, even the Ruby Tuesday salad bar has temptations on this new “diet”…if you’ve ever had their croutons, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. But even if you’re not eating eggs and dairy, you still have temptations to do so. Even there. Al said that you’ve reached an all new low when you find temptation at a salad bar.

The purpose for being dairy, egg and gluten free is to essentially detox your body to determine whether you do have any allergies or intolerances to those foods. So many of us do, but it’s so subtle, we just think we have bad stomachs.

My husband graciously embarked on this quest with me, knowing full well that it’s tough to make a drastic change like that alone.

We are near the end of our three weeks without dairy, eggs and gluten. Beginning Monday, we will re-introduce each one a week at a time. (We could do it in shorter bursts, but Al decided to extend the time frame to a week) We’ll start back with gluten. And we’ll continue to eat mostly whole foods, with a few minimally processed things thrown in from time to time. I’m sure we’ll even make room for a trip to M R Wings every once in awhile…and probably pay for it dearly with how we feel physically afterward.

In general, we’ve done extremely well. We’ve stuck to this new way of eating with very few bumps, and we should be proud of that fact. It means we are eating at home ALL the time…which can sometimes get tiring, especially since I’m doing the bulk of the cooking. But even that hasn’t been that bad. The best part for Al is that he’s lost 10 pounds, and I’m so proud of him. Me, not so much. I gained one and finally lost it and part of another. So I’m still frustrated.

But I’m eating TONS better than I was before. And I’m still working out, with my sights set on another 1/2 marathon in what I hope will be the near future. And that’s gotta be good for something.

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