Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wherein I Discuss MY DIET

Diet has become a dirty word and I understand why and do agree somewhat.  It used to mean "what we eat" but has become to mean "weird temporary eating disorder." I'm eating now could fall under either meaning.  Or both.  I am 99% following The Fat Flush Plan.  Oh, how I despise that name.  I definitely feel like I am doing penance by continuously having to say those words when people ask about my dietary changes.  Usually I just say "liver detox" or "liver cleanse" but then sometimes have to clarify no, not that liver detox...more like eating only protein and vegetables and fruit but added supplements and new habits like dry-skin brushing and SEE?  That's why it needs its own name....but please, maybe a better one that I don't have to whisper?

Women don't want to say out loud, "I am on the Fat Flush Plan."  At least this woman doesn't.  Ugh.  Even typing it made me shudder.  It connotes a woman who wears light blue chambray cotton pants with an elastic waistband pulled up over her protruding, unavoidable belly and tucked into a pink turtleneck.  She might cover that turtleneck with a vest decorated with quilt squares or embroidered farm animals.  She's been on every diet featured on Oprah. THAT woman goes on the Fat Flush Plan, not me. Right?

Except I do.  Or I did.  And periodic-and-half-assed-ly continue to every year or so.  It's a diet in that it's mostly just food you put into your body, emphasis on FOOD.  It's also a weird temporary eating disorder in that you must stick to strict guidelines:  no sugar, booze, wheat, dairy, salt (I know...salt?),  and many fruits and some vegetables for at least two weeks.  In addition to what you can't have you must add things like 2 TBs flax oil a day, drinking ground flaxseeds in unsweetened cranberry juice first thing in the morning and at night followed by hot water with lemon.  You must add certain supplements and dry-brush your body before showers to "rev up" your adrenal glands.  Everything serves a purpose, though.  That appeals to the sensible part of me (what? ...I've got one!).  I fully understand how ideal it is to only consume things that are beneficial to my body and remove anything that doesn't serve a healthy purpose.  It helps that I love to cook because this requires the desire or ability to try different ways of seasoning food when you can't use salt, or cheese.  But I won't lie - it's restrictive and gets boring on some days.

Here's the skinny (ouch, sorry):  I wake up and immediately drink ground flaxseeds w/ cran-water then hot water with lemon.  For breakfast I usually make a smoothie with frozen strawberries & blueberries, flax oil, and a scoop of vanilla whey protein (for some reason that's allowed but no other dairy).  I take an enormous handful of supplements:  evening primrose oil, calcium, L-theanine, chromium, B-complex, turmeric, sometimes flax oil if I don't eat it with breakfast.  I'm usually too full from that to eat a mid-morning snack.  For lunch I either eat a salad with protein (frozen fish or shrimp are super fast to thaw, season and cook during a lunch break) or leftovers.  For dinner I make protein that should be organic and grass-fed if necessary with vegetables and possibly another salad.  I roast veggies a lot.  Before bed I do the ground flaxseed/cran-water & hot lemon water routine again.

Rinse and repeat.

For two weeks at least.  The first two weeks (no longer than three) are called Phase 1.  This phase is designed to re-set my palate, my cravings, and give my liver a break from filtering out all that stuff that causes inflammation in the body.  Then I can start adding "healthy carbs" one at a time, such as sweet potato, sprouted grains, and brown rice.  The plan says to stay on Phase 2 until you reach your goal weight.  Then I can transition into Phase 3 otherwise known as "Fat Flush for Life." Ew. I will try to never say that.

I followed this plan exactly ten years ago and within a few months had lost over 30 lbs.  I felt like I hadn't even tried.  I kept it off for over a year.  But know...LIFE HAPPENS.  I started slipping, eating sugar not just as a special treat but every day, going back to real half-n-half in my coffee, drinking every weekend.  And the weight came back.   Of course.  And I'm ten years older;  I have chronic pain and a slow thyroid for chrissakes.

I don't want to start my 40s in pain and feeling lumpy!  I won't!

My friend Christina is doing this with me, Praise The Lord.  Just having someone else to bitch about caffeine withdrawals, share menu ideas, and celebrate feeling slimmer without worrying that the other person thinks you're a jackass...just having that feels almost as good as actually slimming down!

That's why I chose this new course in my life.  I know it will work.  And instead of closely following the FFP to a letter, I think I will transition into more of a relaxed paleo approach.  I am bonkers crazy for Nom Nom Paleo and her philosophy about eating paleo.  See, this is why I need Christina - so I can say things like "relaxed paleo outlook" without punching myself in the face.

There is so much more for me to say about again starting the Fat Flush Plan journey, making these conscious choices (and many more health- and fitness-related ones), and all the other stuff happening in my life right now but it's after midnight and I can't hold my head up anymore.

But because I always like a visual aid, here are some meals I've cooked this past week:

This was our "last meal" before going super strict, which is why you see that glass of wine back there.  This is the prep for shrimp ratatouille.

Grilled shrimp and roasted asparagus. 

This is the one meal I went "off" the diet - fried polenta with asparagus, portabella mushrooms and a poached egg.  Corn isn't allowed. 

Nom Nom Paleo's World's Best Braised Cabbage.  Pretty damn good.

spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs sharing a pan.

turkey meatballs & spaghetti squash topped with a tomato/fennel/mushroom sauce.  DELICIOUS!

chicken drumsticks marinated in a cilantro/garlic/shallot sauce and then broiled.  That braised cabbage, steamed asparagus, and a fresh salad.  SO GOOD.

I really want to thank my friend and former colleague Liz for encouraging me to write about this.  It's taken up a huge chunk of my time and attention so this should be considered blog content but it's hard to write about.  It's a vulnerable experience to openly admit that I am unhappy with how I look and feel, to accept responsibility for allowing my body to get to this current condition, and to describe the ways in which I am making changes.  If and when I reach the place where I am happy with and proud of my body's appearance I will share photographic evidence.  That's been the most vulnerable thing I've done so far - taken what I hope will be my "before" picture.  Join me on this journey if you'd like.  I can't wait to share the "after" with you! 


Liz said...

I love this, Alannah! I'm glad I could inspire you to post about this. I too have struggled with the hesitation to publicly announce such things, but I do feel it adds a layer of accountability that I need. You've inspired me to start a detox of my own today, so thank you!

Carrie said...

Those meals look delicious. Wishing you loads of encouragement--you'll do great as you've proved very successful at it in the past!