Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Mother Unload: Eating Happy, the Low GI Way!

I'm putting a peppy face on that because there's a bag of Rice Crispies in front of me and I want them. I want them so bad. They're so pretty and golden and ready to snap and crackle and pop their way into my stomach.

I haven't had cereal since last week. I haven't had white flour since last week. I haven't had refined sugar since last week. And you know? I'm doing all right.

Okay, so I'm gazing longingly at a bag of Rice Crispies and dreaming of the days when I didn't care what I put into my body, as long as it tasted good and had a happy snappy conversation with me from my bowl. But I'm not crying, so I must be doing all right.

I used to be the kind of person who didn't want to make eating too complicated. I've also been anti-diet pretty much all my life. I watched friends go on this fad diet or that, lose weight, go back to eating the way they always had, and then gain it all right back. Seemed like a bit of a silly system. If you're going to end up weighing the same as when you started, why not skip the hunger and the deprivation and just eat?  I could pay a surgeon to take out my appendix and then put it back in again, but that would make about as much sense as dieting.

None of my feelings have changed, and yet, by all accounts, I am now on a diet. The difference? a) I don't plan to go back to my old eating habits. b) I don't feel hungry. c) There's very little deprivation going on.

Okay, so I started this post listing a bunch of things I haven't eaten in a week. Really, though, I think that's the sugar addiction talking. I used to be addicted to TV, too. My first week without TV, I nearly had an aneurysm when I realized I might miss the season finale of Survivor. Five TV-free years later, and you couldn't pay me to watch TV. (Someone's going to approach me in 5 years with a twenty dollar bill and a Twinkie, I can feel it.)

Back to the matter at hand: the Low GI diet. GI stands for glycemic index, and low GI foods have a lower score on that index. They earn those lower scores because they take longer to raise a person's blood sugar, which creates less of a need for insulin and less of a chance of crashing later on (prompting you to eat more to keep from falling over). Pairing low GI foods with lean protein slows the process down even further, allowing blood sugar levels to remain steady throughout the day. To give myself a little extra help with insulin resistance, I'm keeping my total carbohydrate consumption at no more than 45 grams per meal and about 25 per snack (if any snack carbs at all).

So, I've been moving my way toward a low GI/moderate carb way of eating for a week now, and yesterday, I did my first round of low GI grocery shopping. I used this information from Rachael Anne Hill to help compile both a menu and a list, and Richard and I went out and filled a grocery cart with the most colorful assortment of food I think we've ever bought. The only thing in the entire cart that I won't be eating is a package of cookies I bought for the kids.

We spent a little more than we're used to spending for a week's worth of food, about $20 more, and we have to adjust the budget a bit, but my spreadsheet loving, number crunching, budget balancing husband declared that eating healthier was the priority and made the numbers work. When I asked him how he felt about the fact that the whole family is going to be eating these foods along with me, he said, "I get to eat good food? This is okay with me." (This is why you marry a nerd who enjoys your cooking. I'm just saying.)

And really, we've been on our way to this diet for years. I only buy whole wheat bread. I only buy whole wheat tortillas. I don't make a lot of desserts. No matter what I cook, I make sure it tastes good. Tasting good used to mean plenty of fat and salt, but I'm nothing if not creative and resourceful, especially in the kitchen, so if I want to make a delicious healthy meal, you can bet I'm going to do it. (Being incredibly stubborn helps here, too.)

Last night, dinner was whole wheat pita sandwiches with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and a cucumber yogurt sauce, and let me tell you, it was divine. This morning, I put some of the leftover turkey mixture into a 3 egg white omelet, and it was equally divine. The divinity of my food? Not in question. It will be performing miracles shortly, I'm sure.

And how do I feel?  I feel really good. I'm not stuffing myself.  My stomach doesn't hurt. I feel positive and good about my choice.  And I crave crap sometimes.  I'm okay with that.  I figure I get to take the good with the bad at this point.  It's like the TV free life.  I don't have zombie children and I'm able to get my homework done without the temptation of 150 channels, but I'm going to miss the State of the Union address.  Wait...those might be all positive...

The Rice Crispies are still there on the table in front of me. I'm no longer making eyes at them. I could have eaten them for a snack, adding maybe a string cheese or some peanuts to help hold down my blood sugar, but I opted for an apple and peanut butter instead. It's really about options more than anything. I could opt for the fluff, but I'd rather opt for something better. Fluff isn't terrible, it's just fluff...and having been "fluffy" for the last 15 years, I'm opting to be something better.


fostera said...

Great job on your will-power! It seems sensible & very do-able (your diet)... more like a good lifestyle change than a diet. There's a lot TO that glycemic index stuff! I've been paring a protein w/ my carbs for years (mainly on an empty stomach) because of my hypo-glycemia. Only I'm still fluffy. Maybe I need to do what you are! Way to go!