It may come as no big shock that the word I've heard most from my 'littles' these past thirty days is... "YUCK."
Yuck to the sticky plantain chips we tried to make that were one giant fail. Yuck to Brussels sprouts. Yuck to Paleo-approved waffles.
Followed closely by...
"But why are you dieting, MOM?"
"Why don't you just eat it if you want it so bad?! It's just cheese dip...(or insert here: a pancake, popcorn, a cookie, butter)."
Even my sweet 9-year old son said (and I kid you not), "Mom, you're not fat. I don't understand why you're doing this."
But I'm not doing it to lose weight. Although I am a size smaller than I was 30 days ago (I can't share pounds, because I refuse to weigh. I'm a tall girl -nearly 5'10"- and I always hate the number I see on that scale. So I don't step on).
If you've followed along on Instagram (@dawnerscott), then you already know that exactly thirty days ago, I gave up dairy, wheat, grains/beans/rice, soy, processed foods, sugar (not including sugar that naturally exists in fresh fruits), beer, wine, and champagne. I didn't include all alcohol. I allowed myself Tito's vodka (which is distilled using corn), and Jameson whiskey (which is triple distilled using rye). Not perfect, according to Paleo (which is the eating style I followed). It calls for no alcohol, but I know myself pretty well and decided that an occasional drink (with no sugary mixers added) would be my exception. If I didn't allow at least that, I knew I would cheat and then feel bad about myself for doing so. Therefore, I just allowed it from the start.
I missed cream in my coffee the most. Cheese dip and chips, second. Crackers and sharp cheddar cheese, third. Now 'n Laters, fourth. Macaroni and cheese and other cheesy casseroles, fifth. Beer, sixth. Champagne, seventh.
Comfort foods. Carbs. Sugars.
Which brings me back to that nagging question, "why do this?"
To tell you the truth, I had fallen into some pretty poor eating habits. And long-story-short, it was affecting my moods, my energy levels, and my well-being. I wasn't diagnosed with anything dire by a physician (thankfully), but I just didn't feel great. My skin and hair were dry (to the point of cracking), I was often dehydrated (as I cycle, run, and practice hot yoga regularly), I never seemed to have energy to make it through the days without ultimately grabbing bags of chips and sugars to get me through. And I used alcohol (and it's sugars) to replace meals, using the excuse that "it was just too late to eat now." But then I would crave pretzels, cheese dip, nachos, etc, while drinking. I grabbed foods and drinks that gave me comfort, regardless of whether they were good for me or not.
I knew at my age (I am 44, FORTY FOUR, which I rarely reveal, but it's just time to be real) I could not sustain this. I was irritable and tired around my children, and even worse, teaching them terrible eating patterns and habits.
So now, thirty days later, I drink my coffee black. I make my eggs with spinach and mushrooms and asparagus and some days kale, instead of with cheese and milk. I eat salads and fish, instead of cheesy, creamy soups and sandwiches. And I cook everything with olive, avocado, or coconut oils. My taste buds have changed. I can actually savor the sweetness in summer squash and enjoy zucchini noodles instead of flour pasta. I have zero sinus issues, which I suffered nightly. Dairy, I learned, is an inflammatory and without it, things cleared up for me.
I've learned that almost everything you buy in a can or a box or a jar contains sugar or some version of soy, which naturally jumps you up. Then later leaves you crashing and craving more sugar and carbs. An addiction I'm happy to drop.
I now visit the grocery store often, since everything I eat is fresh. My moods are even, more so than they've been my entire life. And I have energy I previously lacked.
But best of all? My children have started eating some of the dishes I make. The "YUCK" has been replaced (...wait for it) with my son cooking! And my daughter begs for certain "clean" meals. Last Saturday, in fact, we sprayed fresh kale with olive oil and added Himalayan pink sea salt, stuck it in the oven, and enjoyed crispy kale chips. They were delicious, and we were fighting over them!
That's why I'm not stopping today. Eventually, I'll sprinkle back in some cheeses here and there, along with other occasional "non-approved" foods and drinks. But for me, what started as something to "do" for thirty days truly changed our lives. I'm thankful for that.