Five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes. (Be sure to sing that to the “Rent” tune.)
Thats how long ago I rid myself of the high-carb diet I had favored and despised for so many years.
Many of my memories involving my dad are precious and also involve food. Regular stops at Bonnie Lynn Bakery for “emergency rations,” afternoons spent watching NFL football with him while munching Husman’s potato chips and drinking Pepsi, many homemade breakfasts featuring blue or green buttermilk biscuits because of his love of whimsy and food coloring, and of course truckloads of LaRosa’s pizza over the years.
Food has been part of the celebrations of my life all along. But gradually food became more than celebratory. It became more of an addiction, something I craved, then caved, and regretted my actions time and time again. The cycle of craving, using, and loathing exists for the foodie just as much as any drug addict.
Emotional eating was my bailiwick. Eat the crunchy things to process the anger. Eat the soft, gooey things to try and feel better. Eat the doughnuts because of the feel of those first bites in my mouth.
I tried to change. I knew my body wanted more vegetables and fruits and far fewer chips, but my mind refused to cooperate. Being a SAHM with a kitchen full of food right *there* made food an easy choice for solace.
When Dear Husband sent me the information last November about the research project studying the relationship between memory and diet, it took me less than a minute to call the researchers to get screened. I already had experimented with eating low-carb and knew it worked for me, but had never added the extra fat the ketogenic diet includes, so I always crept back into high-carb eating, relapsing as it were.
The ketogenic diet, as I understand it, has a few basic features. Most importantly, the daily consumption of net carbohydrates is 20 or fewer. Next, i eat adequate protein (.7-1 gram/lb of body weight). And finally, fat (the sworn enemy of most of us) plays a prominent role in what I eat. Sugar, white flour, grains, most fruit and some vegetables are now left on the shelf. It’s all about the insulin response and what that does to our body. We have an insulin reaction when we eat sugar, whether that’s in the form of a caramel sundae, or a hunk of watermelon.
So without further ado, I present the Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Eating Keto.
1. I actually can live without pizza.
2. I don’t actually have to live without pizza; I just make it a different way.
3. Thanks in large part to Maya Krampf at Wholesome Yum and her many recipes, cooking keto foods can be so easy and delicious.
4. It feels good to feel good. I don’t know that I have ever felt good before. I spent many years sloughing through emotional muck and didn’t even feel not-bad, let alone good.
5. I love being fit. My job helps me stay in shape, but this way of eating has given me a better shape than I had as a 25-year-old.
6. Keto foods taste as good and often better than traditional versions but omit the guilt and shame.
7. I still have some issues with food. I no longer overeat carbs, but I still catch myself sometimes processing stress by putting food in my mouth.
8. Keto is easy! No fancy ingredients or hours slaving over a complicated recipe. I’m sure they are out there, but who needs them!
9. I am still learning and improving and I see that as a permanent condition.
10. Finally, never say never. While it seems unfathomable now that I’d ever go back to the Standard American Diet with its preponderance of carbohydrates, I keep open hands and heart in recognizing that life happens and the curveballs always come. For now, for today, for this hour, keto is for me.
11. Bonus amazing thing is what it feels like *not to crave food.* To handle or smell foods I used to salivate to and be unable to resist, and now not even want them. That to me is powerful.
Everyone is on the keto bandwagon right now. Well, ok, not everyone. There are plenty of people helping the ice cream and chips fly off the grocery shelves right now. But if anyone is on a diet, they’re on keto. I don’t see this as a fad for me. I anticipate small changes, maybe shifting into paleo for periods of time, but I don’t know why I’d give this up. The rewards are too great.
The rewards are too great. The food is too good! And I am humbled by the gift I have received and continue to receive of life, and life abundant.