Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Journey

I am usually one to hate any kind of "diet" that requires restriction. I feel that those types of weight-loss plans usually just set people up for maintenance failure, unless the person in the plan is intending on living the rest of their lives without said restriction. All this to say, I am probably more surprised than anyone about my very, very recent decision to go gluten free. This is something that I have been considering for a little while, but in fairness, it's not for weight loss purposes.

In usual Jamie, Light fashion, I'm going to be outrageously candid with you: the driving force behind this decision is that I have what is known as Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. From the research I have done, it seems that something about PCOS often throws the insulin levels in it's women out of whack, and those out of whack levels cause other levels to be out of whack, and then we end up with this long list of embarrassing and belittling symptoms. Because of the insulin issue, a gluten free diet is looked upon as potentially helpful, although there doesn't seem to be scientific evidence of this yet (perhaps because the studies haven't been done? Please correct me if I'm wrong). However, the opinions of women with PCOS that have gone gluten free seem to be quite positive, so why not throw my hat into the ring and give it a try, right? If Science won't come to me, I must come to it! Besides, the worse that can come of this is that I have to say goodbye to my beloved cookies forever. And ever. (That's a pretty bad worse-case, but it's all in the name of health. *sigh*)

My plan:
I will be keeping a daily journal so that I can track how things change in me, emotionally and physically, throughout my journey. If I see a big change, I will keep on keepin' on. If I don't, then I suppose I will be seeking more medical assistance for my symptoms. I have the intention of consulting a doctor about all of this anyway, but my insurance doesn't kick in for a few weeks, so...that will have to wait.

So here we go again...maybe we'll call this "Phase 2" in the Jamie self-improvement plan.

Do you have experience with living gluten free? Whether you said yes or no, I'd love to read your thoughts/opinions!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mediterannean Veggie-wich

Are you feeling especially hungry? Make this:

 Here's how:
1 piece flatbread (Flatout multigrain)- 100 kcal
1 serving hummus (Tribe roasted garlic, 28g)- 50 kcal
cucumber, ~7 slices (63g)- 9 kcal
1 whole roma tomato, sliced (55g)- 10 kcal
red onion, sliced (18g)- 7 kcal
green pepper, ~1/4, sliced (40g)- 7 kcal
2 button mushrooms (41g)- 9 kcal
2 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped (51g)- 12 kcal 
total calorie expenditure: 204 kcal

I like to salt my cucumber and tomatoes, so I put those on first, sprinkled a little salt, and then built the veggies up from there. Obviously you can change/swap any of the veggies that you'd like. Artichoke hearts would have been a great addition to this, and will add a little more "meaty-ness" if you're feeling like you need more bulk. (Mushrooms and artichokes are both great substitutes for meat, but be extra mindful if your artichokes are marinated.)

This makes a HUGE, delicious, low-cal sandwich that pairs perfectly with wheat thins, or other crackers of your choosing. I, however, went with graham crackers and pudding, because I am a 10 year old. *wink*

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mindful Eating

Oh, hey, look who it is! Apparently I needed to take September off...sorry for not communicating that.

As I've noted several times before, I don't seem to have that thing where my stomach tells my brain that I'm full. And in the few, few times it does, it goes away fairly quickly. I've always felt perplexed by this, but never took any time to think about why this might be. Until recently, that is.

Per usual, there was no real aha moment, but simply a non-interesting realization.
As I was preparing one of my meals last week, I decided that part of my problem might not be that my stomach is broken, but that I'm just not paying attention. I'm very much a visual eater, so it makes sense that not paying attention to my meal while I'm eating is keeping me from understanding what I'm eating. So lately, I've been practicing "mindful eating". A term that was coined long before my realization, and may or may not actually mean what I'm using it as here. (I looked at the mindful eating website, and where I'm not totally wrong for using the term, I'm not exactly following their principles to a T, either)

Mr. Light finds a lot of humor in the way I eat my pickles
So what do I mean when I say mindful eating? I mean that I don't allow myself to do anything else while I'm eating. When it is mealtime, I have to do that and only that. Sound painful? Yeah, it's a little hard to get used to. But you know what? It works. I find myself a lot more satisfied with what I've eaten, and the fact that I'm done...which, unfortunately, always makes me a little sad. In fact, paying attention to my meal makes me actually look forward to being finished with my meal, so that I can finally reach for my book of crosswords (yep. I'm that cool.) or computer. It helps me to see food as the fuel that it is, rather than to view it as part of a recreational activity.

Here is a challenge for you: eat your meals tomorrow as you normally would, but note how you feel before and how you feel after eating. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I want you to practice mindful eating, again noting how you feel before and how you feel after each meal. Did you feel hungry sooner when you weren't paying attention? Did you feel more thankful for the food in front of you? Did you make better food choices in general? Or is this something you already practice?
Tell me about your experiences in the comments!