Last October, while finishing up a month-long trip to Europe with Damir, we both agreed that we needed some sort of change in what/how we eat. He had picked up a copy of Gillian McKeiths’ You Are What You Eat when we passed through Dublin, and we had both been reading it. Very accessible reading, and basically a sensible “whole foods” diet, leaning towards macrobiotics (although I didn’t know enough about macrobiotics then to say so). She advocates eating lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, smaller amounts of animal protein, and supplements such as wheat grass. On our return, I happened to see a book review for Jessica Porter’s The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics, noticed the similarities between that and McKeith’s book, so bought that as well. Porter’s book goes a bit too much into the philosophy of macrobiotics than I care to know, but certainly gives a great introduction to the macrobiotic newbie.
Within a month, I was pretty much vegan, which is funny considering that I always thought that vegans were radical tree-huggers. Oh, wait… I wear Rockport sandals and just bought a bike and sold my car… maybe I’m one of them! I still eat meat once in a while (usually when I’m served it at someone’s house, since I really hate when I invite people to dinner and they give me a big list of what they won’t eat), fish once or twice a week, and vegetarian the rest of the time. Meat has become a condiment or flavouring for me, not a main part of my meal; I have no ethical problem with eating it, it just makes me feel heavy. I’ve had exactly one egg since the beginning of November, and almost no dairy (okay, a bit of goat or sheep cheese). No processed foods, such as white sugar or white flour. Lots of whole grains, like oat groats, quinoa and brown rice. No nightshades, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Oh yeah, I gave up coffee: no more grande lattes from Starbucks.
The funny thing is, I hardly miss what I’ve cut out. Every once in a while I’ll have a craving for something (like spicy Thai eggplant), I’ll eat a little bit of it and the craving goes away for another couple of months. I’ve lost about 10 pounds, although that wasn’t the reason for this change, and I feel great. Tons of energy, even through my former “sleepy time” in the middle of the afternoon. People tell me that I look 10 years younger, which is a nice thing to hear as I fast approach 45. If I could just force myself to start exercising, I’d probably regress in age.
Damir’s done well on this, too: he’s lost more weight than I have, although he is genetically slender and is now a bit too skinny, and gets through his thrice-weekly Aikido classes with lots of energy when he used to have to pop sugar in some form to keep going for two hours of martial arts. He even bought a pot (this is a man who has never cooked anything in his entire life) and now makes his own brown rice, barley and quinoa at home.