Twenty seven days ago I made a drastic change regarding the foods I eat. I have given up sugar, and grain based carbohydrates. I am following the “Primal Blueprint” plan created by Mark Sisson. One of the first things the plan asks is to go through your kitchen and get rid of all the rice, bread, pasta, sugar, and anything else that falls in the category of SAD foods (SAD stands for the Standard American Diet).
I was doing this part in increments as my husband had not jumped on the same bandwagon as me. I was looking in the refrigerator and something caught my eye. Shoved way in the back was a giant bag of baker’s yeast. This bag is a remnant of when my mother used to live with us. She wanted to bake bread, and to do that you need yeast.
Looking at the bag brought back a flood of memories. Back in the day, when I was growing up, my mother would always bake bread for us. Both she and my father grew up during the Depression and that’s what families did. They also didn’t like the flavor and texture of “Store Bought” bread. Every week my mother would go into a whirlwind and bake several loaves of bread or a dozen or so buns, and we would all wait for them to cool off just enough, and then we would slather the bread with real butter and enjoy the flavors of butter melting into warm wheat bread.
Many years later, my mother developed a bit of arthritis in her hands, and could no longer knead the dough, so my father volunteered to take over the bread making duties. Now, my mother is the kind of cook who just does everything on the fly, tossing in ingredients by hand, never using a measuring tool, she could just judge by looking at it, if there was enough salt, or oil, or flour. My father was Mr. Precise. When he took over he researched recipes, he bought a baking cloche, and he experimented with combinations of white flour, wheat flour, eggs, no eggs. Again, I would wait patiently for those new loaves of bread, or sometimes cinnamon rolls, to cool off just enough, so I could slather on the butter and enjoy the fruits of his labors.
My father died ten years ago, and since then my mother has enlisted the help of a stand-up mixer with a bread hook, which made the mixing easier. But the enthusiasm for baking weaned as her Parkinson’s progressed. Now that she is living in a care home, one of her first complaints is about they bread. They bake their own rolls, but they use mostly white flour, and mom misses the flavor in whole wheat.
Looking at that bag of yeast in the refrigerator, I enjoyed looking back at our life, and knowing that my parents thought they were making healthy choices at the time. Now, I know better. That it was probably that wonderful bread that helped establish my cravings for all things carbohydrate. As much as I love my parents, and everything they have done for me, it is time for me to make the food choices that work best for myself. I took that bag of yeast and with at “thanks mom, thanks dad,” I dumped it right in the trash.
I like so many women I know, have suffered greatly from the myth that “Food is Love.” Food is food. And love is love. For those of us who have packed on the pounds, mixing up those two ideas lays squarely at the heart of the problem. We talk about all the foods that we “love” and “can’t live without.” Truth is, there are lots of great foods we can eat that fill us with the energy and nutrition that we need. But the key is eating the “whole” food, as close to as it exists in nature as possible. As soon as you start processing foods to extend their shelf life, you’re killing it, and making it something that will cause you problems in the long run.
I can report that in those first 27 days I have lost 9 pounds. I am sleeping soundly, I don’t miss the sweets. In fact my taste buds are now sensitive enough to taste the natural sugars in — lettuce. Yup, give me a cherry tomato, it tastes like candy. Every now and again, I will have a bite — one bite — of bread, as in one crouton. Or one corner of a pita bread. It’s fine, it still tastes great, but I no longer crave it and I would much rather slather butter over a pile of steamed spinach or use it to saute some mushrooms.
Are there any old food habits from childhood, or family “traditions” that in the light of adulthood, no longer suit you? I’d love to hear what you have to say. And as always, thank you so much for stopping by.
Our family tradition was over-eating and cooking out of cans. I’ve tried to move my kitchen to all fresh or frozen foods and can the can. The portion control is still a major issue when I visit my family & hometown – WHAT? You don’t want 10 pieces of fudge & a piece of carrot cake to go with the five courses of Thanksgiving foods that were just shoved in your corner? It may be an Appalachian thing, as well. Coal miners needed all the calories they could get, so our meals were large and thick! Poverty is a major issue, too, so serving a large, delicious meal or snack is a major way of saying ‘i love you’ and here’s the most tangible proof I can offer.
Thanks for your post!
I’m lucky I didn’t come from a big family, but here in Hawaii there are very similar situations. Whenever you go ANYWHERE you are expected to bring food, so there is always way more than anyone can eat, and the hostesses are all “eat more, eat more.” It’s tough that the old ideas of consuming lots of calories because you had to do physical, hard work, still sticks with us when all we do is sit on the sofa in front of the T.V. and veg out. Thanks for your comments Brook.
Oooooo, my mother used to bake bread too. And my brother and I would slather on the butter too. Those are some mighty fond memories. The house smelled yummy and the raw dough was even yummy. Don’t get me started on the cinnamon rolls.
Good for you and your hubby on your new diet plan. Nine pounds?!? That’s fantastic!
I made a major dietary change a number of years ago when I had a health scare involving my cholesterol. I cut our soda (I used to drink 4 or 5 sodas a day) and alcohol (which I’ve since added back in in moderation) until my blood levels evened out again. It was hard, but I rarely have a soda now because I simply don’t crave it.
Eating healthy is so important yet so few people take the time to do it right. Kudos to you! Keep it up!
w/a Jansen Schmidt
my solution for the soda cravings is sparkling water with either lemon juice or crushed up mint from my garden..or both.
Rachel, congrats on those nine pounds. You’ve inspired me!
Hi Debra, I can’t tell you how easy it was to let those nine pounds go. I’ve dieted before and this doesn’t even feel like a “diet” at all. I hope you look into it. Nothing like starting something new for all us “late bloomers.”
Wonderful post! Yes, Filipinos express love through food, too – and it’s a poverty thing as well. As long as you have enough to eat, everything is good. Congrats on your success!!! I’ve been having a lot more fruit and veg lately, trying to wean myself off empty calories (mainly cookies for me!) and go back to my (semi-)vegetarian ways. 🙂 Portion control is my downfall, though!
Congrats! Well, I crave lots of foods that probably aren’t the best for me. For me it is all about moderation. I still make the chicken fried steak, or fried pork chops, but I either modify to make it more healthy or I have it once every few months. But I totally admire you for cutting out certain things all together! I think the key is to find what works for us and then stick to it:)