How is the health kick going?

Well, I’ve finished the thirty days, and I’m feeling pretty good. Here is a partial list of stuff I’ve been doing prompted by The 30 Day Diabetes Challenge: no sugar, no flour, no industrial oils (canola, corn, safflower, shortening, etc.), 1 tsp cinnamon daily, Vit. D daily, magnesium, milk thistle (for liver cleansing), green superfood powder supplement (spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, etc.), no commercially cured meats, other meats locally raised grass fed, beans at every meal (interesting challenge), 3-5 servings veg daily, tea daily, walking daily (well, as often as I can), yoga daily (I do 2-3 long classes/week instead of 10-15 min/day), and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting at the moment.

There’s some other stuff the program urges that wasn’t terribly applicable to me, like getting a handle on clinical depression, getting enough sleep (or working on solving sleep problems), breaking emotional eating habits, and so forth. (I wasn’t having problems with depression, sleep, or emotional eating, but all of those will affect your health and blood sugars.) It’s actually a lot to do in thirty days. Working out with weights, for example, is one of the assignments, and I haven’t gotten to it yet. My yoga incorporates a lot of body weight strength training, but I could use some actual weight training, too, particularly upper body. It’s on my list.

I learned some stuff. My palate has changed dramatically. For example, we traveled yesterday, so instead of mixing up a green superfood beverage at home, I picked one up at the health food store. Even though the drink had no added sugars and no artificial ingredients, it tasted unbearably sweet, because it had so much fruit juice in it. I could only finish half. I haven’t tasted any real dessert in a month, but I suspect when I do it will blow me away, and possibly not in a good way. I was drinking a coconut water yesterday, too, and it tasted seriously as sweet as a coke to me. I also had to give up on eating grapes at one point, because they were too damn sweet.

By the same token, foods not normally sweet taste very sweet to me. Carrots! Gee howdy those are very sweet, especially cooked. Most vegetables have some sweet flavor to them. Nuts can be very sweet. A good quality coffee also has some natural sweetness, surprisingly enough. And I’ve often felt like I was cheating when drinking spiced teas, because the spices are actually sweet in their own right.

It makes me realize that the American food market is like an arms race, with manufacturers competing for dominance of an increasingly desensitized collective palate. Scary!

I also feel more satisfied with my food, in a way that is hard to describe. It’s a very nice feeling.

I’ve learned how difficult it is to find packaged foods that do not contain industrial oils (especially soybean) or sugars (especially HFCS). Even a lot of health food brands contain sugar, although it’s often “organic sugar” on the label.

It’s been pretty empowering to prepare all of our meals at home from scratch. I’ve found that cooking a meal is pretty much always quicker than a restaurant run, and as long as I have menus planned in advance, it’s a very sustainable lifestyle. And having consistent meal plans and a consistent meal routine has whipped the rest of our schedule into shape. No more “dinner fails,” and therefore we know what we are doing every evening, to a science.

My son has barely complained. I don’t think he completely approved of my whole wheat pizza crust, but otherwise there’s been nary a peep of protest. He’s had access at times to sugar-containing foods and some fast foods, but in general his diet changed when ours did, because we were all sharing meals. It could just be another growth spurt, but it seems like even he is slimming down, judging by the fit of his clothes.

Brent and I have each lost about eight pounds. I’ve plateaued a bit the past week, but that’s not surprising. Even while staying the same weight, I saw my waist measurement decrease somewhat. Thus far, nearly all of the weight seems to have come from my waist, which is an unusual result for weight loss in women. It can’t last, naturally, and in fact just today I finally noticed some change elsewhere, but it does tend to confirm my hypothesis that the weight on my middle had to do with insulin resistance, perhaps pre-pre-pre diabetes, even–something that might have become a health problem in ten years or so, if I hadn’t made a change.

Will I keep this up? I think so. I’d like to continue until my weight naturally stabilizes, so I can see what I am “supposed” to weigh in the absence of unhealthy foods. After that, I think I could probably handle the very occasional home made dessert. (I think I’m ruined for storebought or mainstream restaurant desserts at this point, because they will taste horribly oversweetened.) I don’t know if this generalizes much at all, but I’m convinced that sugar is a problem food for me, and one that I’ll always have to avoid.

Fortunately, at this point I am not very attached to it and really don’t mind.