I started with some ideas of my own and a little research. I already knew that simple carbohydates come from foods made with refined sugar and flour. Refined foods are striped of their natural nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In short they are empty calories. These carbohydrates are broken down by the body very quickly and the body treats them like pure sugar. The body gets a temporary rush of energy due to increased blood sugar levels. The increased sugar levels don’t last long and this can lead to craving even more simple carbs not long after you eat. So that’s why I’m always craving sweets after dinner and jonesing for an afternoon snack an hour or two after lunch. This can lead to fatigue, irritability and worst of all fat! That’s right, when your body can’t use the sugars as fast as they are being broken down the sugars get stored as fat. I certainly know that being overweight leads to even more fatigue and irritability. It is a never ending cycle, a cycle that I am trying to break.
So what are the good foods? Vegetables, proteins, fruits, (although, apparently not for the first few weeks), 100% whole grain foods such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat breads etc. Most of my research said that regular potatoes were no good but that sweet potatoes and yams are ok because the body breaks them down slowly. I also found some sources but not all that suggest avoiding dairy altogether. After some consideration I decided that because I already don’t eat much meat I will include dairy in my diet. I’ll just try to eat low fat dairy and eat full fat dairy in moderation. Avoiding foods with a high sodium content is also recommended.
First things first, I had to purge my home of white foods. I’m not one to waste anything least of all food. I spent the greater part of a week trying to finish up a few offending ingredients. A lot of pancakes were eaten for breakfast as well as a potato here, some wheat but not quite whole wheat bread there and a whole box of non-wheat pasta that I found way in the back of a cupboard. With all of the white foods gone it was time to do some shopping. My first stop was at Trader Joes. I picked up spinach, avocados, mushrooms, tofu, italian soy-sage, chicken sausage, soy-rizo (vegetarian chorizo),buffalo burgers, vegi-burgers, eggs, whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, brown basmati rice, wild rice, whole wheat flour, whole wheat tortillas, green goddess salad dressing. I read a lot of labels. Every ingredient list had to be scrutinized. Were the whole wheat tortillas truly whole wheat or was regular flour a secondary ingredient (as it was in some of the breads that I looked at)? What about sugar? I found sugar or corn syrup as an ingredient in some of the bread, meat and soy products I looked at.
Next I hit Cleveland’s West Side Market. There I picked up zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, cilantro, orange and red bell peppers, serrano peppers, snap peas, lemons, limes, brussels sprouts. Oh and a special treat: two chili rellenos prepared in an egg batter and stuffed with mexican cheese. One of the women working the booth is a friend of mine and she assured me that there was no flour in the egg batter.
What a bounty! I’m hoping all of this will last about two weeks. All that is left for me to tell you now is what I made for dinner.