This post is not meant to offend anyone. And if it does, I’m sorry, but first and foremost this blog is for myself (I’m selfish like that) and I have to be honest. Things have changed, and it’s hard for me to admit it, but here goes…
Let’s start at the beginning. I have had a lot of dietary changes in the last year. I had come home from studying abroad with 25 extra travel pounds on me. Too much indulging, not enough exercising. Sure, there was walking around the various cities but my love for chocolate muffins greatly surpassed my caloric burn. I obviously was not too happy when I returned. I jumped right into a full-time internship and managed to get exercise a part of my life again, but my eating habits stuck and I was eating way more than I needed to and way too much sugar. A little over a year ago, Kinley and I decided to try out the South Beach Diet to start losing weight – I was so desperate that nothing was working a crash diet was all I could think of to get me back to “normal”. I did manage to lose weight, putting a good dent into what I had to lose but it stopped after the two week “Phase 1”.
It took me until the end of September, my birthday to be exact, for me to figure out what my next plan would be. I decided on calorie counting (restricting) and stuck with it for quite awhile… Sure, there were plenty of “cheat” days, but I was doing something right because I was losing weight every week. I also started running at this point and was being successful overall – I felt better about myself and my pants were starting to fall off (that was a good thing 😉 ). Because of the obsessive behavior I developed associated with calorie counting, a lot of foods in the household ended up being packaged – so I could weigh it out and know exactly how many calories I was consuming… At the beginning of January was my first experiment with being a vegetarian. Kin and I went to NYC for a long weekend and as an effort to save money we decided to not eat meat – and it was very, very tasty. Boca crumbles came in a nice little package with the nutritional facts on them, and they were cheaper than beef so we subbed them in for a lot of our regular meals, so they were a win-win at that point.
In February, I stopped losing weight. I thought I was doing everything the same and still had a ways to go with my weightloss and nothing I did seemed to help. Lower calories, increase calories, increase exercising, decrease exercising…. So many things were attempted and nothing was working. Combine that stress with the stress of an internship and the stress of my last semester of college (completing my BS and MBA) and needless to say I was a bit high strung, which probably wasn’t helping either.
In March, we decided to give up buying meat but I would still order it out occasionally, but not often since we didn’t go out to eat much.
April was a big change. No meat and we gave up all processed foods. Clean eating, if you will. The first week eating clean and I was feeling better than ever. After a few weeks I was not feeling the effects of eating well anymore, and I also made the jump to give up dairy. I never thought my body was the biggest fan – I would get a rash around my mouth when I was little and my mouth would itch occasionally when I would have ice cream – and I never drank milk anyways so that was not a tough transition for me. Almond milk was my friend!
At the end of May, I had been off dairy for a month and for my graduation party I had (quite a bit) of the buttercream frosting. The whole next day was miserable. I was sooo sickly feeling and I could barely eat and absolutely nothing tasted good. It got better after a few days but I was pretty certain dairy was not my friend.
June I kept feeling not so good, weird stomachaches quite a bit but it was generally better than what I had previously, and nowhere near as bad as the day after my grad party. Mid to Late June Kinley and I used a Groupon for some Breadsmith bread – which is a delicious bread bakery around here. After having quite a few slices over the course of the weekend, Monday was quite miserable. Headache, stomachache, just all around nausea. Gluten, are you doing this to me? I had been eating primarily sprouted bread rather than regular and the Breadsmith loaf seemed to set me over the edge. So, goodbye bread of any kind for a couple of weeks to see if that helps.
It did help quite a bit, less stomachaches but they were still lingering but headaches were gone. July 4th we cooked out… and decided to split a half of a sprouted wheat hot dog bun. It was so delicious after not eating wheat for a couple of weeks but within a half hour, my body was definitely not happy. Our “diets” became extremely limited very quickly. No meat, dairy, processed foods or gluten. I felt good after giving up gluten, but one thing I was not happy about was that I had been GAINING weight and for no apparent reason. I was eating good portions of healthy, whole foods and doing what I thought my body wanted. Something was still making it tick!
That’s when the thoughts started… I wanted to eat meat. Life would be so much simpler but I would feel like a horrible person – giving up on what I believed in. But the thoughts never went away and instead of cringing when I would see meat being served, I would want to be served it as well. It’s really strange, but Kinley and I came to this realization on our own. That we needed more protein. Yes, vegetarians and vegans can get an ample amount of protein, and I was trying, but my body, for some reason, was not liking the semi-vegan food I was feeding it.
It was a hard decision. I had worked to fuel myself with plants and to be better for the environment, but my body was not happy, and for once in the past year I actually decided to listen. No more fad diets, no restrictions (except for the necessary gluten + some dairy) and fueling myself to live and thrive. It’s been almost two weeks now that I have been eating meat again, and meat will by no means take over this blog, but I might occasionally put a recipe up containing meat (although I will always give the option for the substitution of tofu and tempeh). Mondays will always be Meatless Mondays and I do enjoy a ton of Vegan dishes. I am finally feeling “normal”. No more inexplainable weight gain, extremely few stomachaches (although those were mostly to do with sneaky gluten) and I am running faster than ever. I realize I might lose readers and followers by making the switch, and it’s understandable, but for once I am doing what is right for me. And I am still keeping the environment in mind as well and being as mindful as I can be about where everything is coming from (Lorganic, if you will).
I tried. I failed. It was a tough learning curve. I am finally listening to my body and giving it what it needs right now – whether to repair the damage I have inflicted on myself over the past year, or for some other reason. It was a personal decision and it was a struggle to get there… now here’s to hoping I continue to recover and feel better.
Thanks to anyone who made it through the end of the post :).