We’ve all heard the same stories; a 104 year old man telling us the secret of his longevity is a pack of cigarettes every day, a 96 year old woman who drank a fifth of Irish whiskey every day, and a woman who can eat whatever she likes and stay the same weight she was in high school as head cheerleader and homecoming queen….
Urban legends? Oddly enough, not entirely. While I would never advise a pack of cigarettes or fifth of whiskey every day, in fact, I wouldn’t advise cigarettes at all and Irish whiskey saved for those days when the cold is in your bones, there might be something that the head cheerleader eating whatever she wants and staying slim. I bet she has multiple foodgasms.
I’ll explain. As a holistic nutritionist, I help clients achieve their eating goals, whether that is to slim down, have a baby, lose the baby weight, or heal from a chronic illness. I have worked with many clients with various individualized plans and detoxing is often not the most enjoyable phase of healing, slimming, or learning to reprogram and activate your body’s natural healing ability. There are a lot of nutrient dense foods we add to their plans but there are a lot of foods we take away as well; most noteably, during a detox period, wheat and/or gluten and dairy.
After detoxing and resetting the body, identifying any sensitivities or outright allergies, what then? The question is always the same. Will I always have to eat like this?
I know the feeling of helplessness and deprivation of someone on a rigid eating plan trying to shed weight, conceive a child, or heal from a chronic illness. It’s not a pleasant thought to believe you will never be able to eat “normally” again. In fact, that feeling is the single biggest reason diets of any kind don’t work. Since I teach my clients that healthy eating does not have to be boring, tasteless, or depriving; that they can get healthy pleasurably, I had to delve into HOW that was really possible. I had to look at how a client really healed their bodies/conceived their children/lost the weight knowing that they “cheated” every once in awhile.
For example, assuming a person does not have Celiac’s Disease (an inability to process gluten causing immediate and violent immune reaction) gluten sensitivity can range from mild to even severe. If someone swears off of gluten and then goes out to dinner, he or she may, unwittingly ingest gluten. If he or she goes out for sushi, for example, soy sauce contains gluten. According to experts, even a drop of soy sauce’s gluten, stays in the gut for up to 6 weeks and takes nearly a year to heal the damage done by the gluten. Yet, it’s quite possible that a person that has gone gluten-free and is not diligent (because they are not, in fact, Celiac so the demand for diligence is not as strong) has many “drops of gluten” roaming around in their gut yet does not suffer any symptoms of which they would normally be aware. Maybe this is because they are not aware of the gluten content of the particular food, or maybe they are just enjoying the moment therefore allowing the offending gluten to be metabolized in a benign manner.
That’s when I had my epiphany. It’s not all about what you are taking away or avoiding. It’s not all about “good” or “bad” foods. It’s not about following a dogmatic eating plan ALL THE TIME! Remember, yesterday we were talking about that 80/20 rule for holiday eating. The rest of the year it is 90/10. The problem is when people forget that the 10 or 20% is actually necessary for pleasurable healing and even shedding weight with ease.
I call it Vitamin P for pleasure.
Here is another little fact that is going to blow your mind. Someone who spends 24/7 thinking about what goes into their mouth has actually little chance of actually losing or keeping weight off on a stable basis because they are forgetting the pleasure of eating. I am NOT giving you carte blanche to stuff every single thing you can get your hands on into your mouth. I still don’t think packaged or refined foods have any place in a healthy eating plan for anyone. I am asking you to think about the pleasure factor in what you are eating. I am asking you to rate the food that you are cooking or ordering on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the top, quivering, eyes popping foodgasmic! First, let me ask you…..why are you bothering with the 1 through 6s? Second, let me give you a few points to ponder.
I have a gluten sensitivity and a wheat intolerance that leaves me bloated, gassy, and fatigued. If I even look at a loaf of bread or Pizza Hut Pizza I start to yawn, my skin gets blotchy, and the scale jumps 1.5 pounds. Yet, I am a gingerbread cake eating diva around the holidays and….. wait for it….. I don’t eat the whole cake and my weight stays stable. But how is that possible??!!
I have discovered the secret to being able to eat the “treats’” and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. I don’t have the belief that it is going to adversely affect my health or my weight. I love good gingerbread so much that I am convinced the calories simply don’t count. No, that’s not right. I don’t even THINK about the calories, the fat, the wheat, the gluten; I just savor every single bite. I don’t eat inferior gingerbread for the sake of eating gingerbread. I eat the best. I don’t eat it unless it is a foodgasm. I make my own Peppermint Mocha Lattes because I secretly hate Starsucks. (That and I love whipped cream and use cream from grass-fed cows which tastes so much better than the other stuff.) And I make gingerbread cake. In fact, tonight I made a gingerbread cake with cranberries and white chocolate bits (made with Einkorn flour, buckwheat flour, blackstrap molasses, fresh cranberries, and Green & Black’s White Chocolate!) I made the cake with whole ingredients but yes, there was sugar from the molasses) and gluten in it. Did I care? Not a bit. I had a whole piece and I am not the least bit sorry……. I can’t tell if I am bloated because, well, I am pregnant with triplets and that’s kind of a bloat in and of itself. I enjoyed every single bite. I am not thinking about how long of a walk I have to go on to burn it off nor am I thinking of how many salads I have to eat to ‘punish’ myself for the cake. (Oh and before you think “that’s pregnancy indulgence”….Nope… I am like this sans babies too!)
Now, what does this have to do with healthy nutrition? And what if I hate healthy eating and all food gives me foodgasms? Are you saying I can eat anything I want and it won’t have an affect on my body? (Isn’t this all going through your head right now, really???) You already know the answer to that question. If a crappy little sandwich at your desk is going to make you feel tired and cranky and reaching for the M&Ms by 3pm, you already know that is not a foodgasm. If it is the world’s greatest Muffelata….. it might be. If it’s supermarket bakery birthday cake, probably not a foodgasm. If it is from a bakery that makes the all time best carrot (or lemon and raspberry, or coconut) cake it might be. It’s all about being in the moment. It’s all about mindful eating. (Ooooh, there might be a post there in the future….what do you think?)
What I am trying to say is make everything you eat a foodgasm or don’t put it in your mouth. I am sure some of you are thinking I am off my rocker because how can kale be a foodgasm? Have you ever tasted cheesy kale chips? Or blended it into a smoothie? Or massaged just the right amount of Raw Detox Dressing made with the most delicious herbs you can imagine? You get my point.
When you eat for pleasure, loving everything that goes into your mouth and leaving the rest, listening to your body telling you exactly what you really need (and no, your body will probably NOT tell you it wants a Twinkie) and what you really want, you will naturally gravitate towards healing your body.
Allow yourself to think your way thin and healthy. Trust your body enough to know what to do to do it. If what you are eating doesn’t give you a foodgasm, Don’t eat it. No matter what. Why eat something that doesn’t bring you complete ecstatic pleasure? Remember the joy of sinking your teeth into the first summer berries. Picture the mind altering qualities of spring baby vegetables sauteed to perfection with a drizzling of perfect olive oil from olives harvested in the fall. Roasted butternut squash in the fall, hearty grass-fed beef stew simmered in a good burgundy with earthy mushrooms in the winter….. and yes, even good artisanal bread with homemade creamery butter. Have your toes curled and your eyes rolled into the back of your head yet?
If it doesn’t give me a foodgasm I don’t eat it. It may seem a bit of food snobbery but my body loves me for it!