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Day #11 - Pasta Pasta!?

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Day #11 - Pasta Pasta!? 

Some people really don’t like the idea of cutting out pasta.  I get it, I mean, I am Italian after all!  Thing is, regular pasta messes me up big time.  My blood sugar spikes and crashes making me hungry again right away and cranky (can we say ‘hangry?’).  Then there’s the bloating and the log jam it creates in my stomach and intestines which leads to pain, gas and a whole host of other issues you don’t want to hear about.  

But, I know that pasta is inexpensive, quick and convenient and it’s a great medium for just about any sauce.  So, here are a few of the alternatives that I use when I’m craving a noodle for my meal but don’t want the unpleasant side effects.  

Mung Bean Noodles

Mung bean noodles are often sold as celephane noodles.  Those tend to be high in carbs and kind of sticky. But, there’s a company (Explore Asian) that makes fettuchini mung bean noodles and these are my favorite. They cook up firm and never get soggy or sticky.  

They are naturally high in protein and fiber and they don’t upset my stomach at all.  I will boil them and then leave them in the fridge to use as a base for any protein or veggies that I am cooking throughout the week.  You can use traditional sauces on these noodles and they’ll taste great.  They also work for stir fry dishes too.  Sometimes, I will put a little olive oil, nutritional yeast and a dash of salt or liquid aminos on them and eat that that way (yeah, it’s not everyone’s style, I know.)  They are also good with a hearty marinara or a ginger shitake sauce.

Spaghetti squash

A friend posted this spaghetti squash dish a while back and I LOVE it.  I’ve made a few small changes to the dressing... I use pecans instead of peanuts/peanut butter.  I have this great all natural no sugar added local hot sauce that I use instead of sriracha.  I use aminos instead of soy sauce and avocado oil instead of grapeseed oil (just a personal preference).  Otherwise, this recipe is pretty stellar.  I make extra lime-nut sauce and leave it in the fridge to use on steamed or roasted veggies.  It’s a winner for sure. 

Miracle Noodle

These noodles are made of a soluble fiber that’s been extracted from the root of a japanese plant.  It’s mixed with a food grade calcium called pickling lime which helps the noodles keep their shape.  The noodles are sold soaking in liquid and must be rinsed before being used. Some people say that they have a strange smell when you first open the package but I haven’t had this happen.  I do rinse the noodles off well and they have no smell or real distinct taste to them after that.  They will absorb whatever flavors you cook with them.  This is certainly the most processed of the noodles that I’m mentioning.  That said, their website has some super creative recipe ideas.  This one in particular I had to try.  

I substituted cashew milk for cow’s milk and used a few drops of stevia to sweeten it instead of Splenda.  I also didn’t add any heavy cream.  I thought it actually tasted good, albeit strange, and a bit like what I’d imagine faux cream of wheat to taste like.  You can judge for yourself.

Rice noodles and noodles made from beans are also out there.  These tend to be harder for me to digest so I avoid them.  Perhaps you've found a brand that works for you?  If so, let me know! I'd love to try it out.

Hope this helps you with your pasta fix!  Let me know if you have any questions!

DAy #10 - The "Half Way" Report

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Day #10 - Half Way Report

Yay! I’m half way through the diet and today was the first day that I felt absolutely no desire for sugar.  It felt like an eternity to get here, but I’m glad I stuck it out even if I had to be at a French bakery, a high quality chocolate shop, and a bar for a party where there were hors d'oeuvres being passed around right under my nose! And of course I wanted to eat the almond croissant, the chocolate truffles and have a big glass of wine.  But, it didn’t really take away from my experience with my friends by not eating those things. I was still able to connect with them and share time with them and I didn’t let the diet get in my way.

So, what has changed in 10 days of no sugar?  

What’s improved:

  • My digestion and elimination is much better.  Everything is moving appropriately and I feel lighter and less weighed down
  • All mucus is gone.  I didn't even realize how much phlegm I had until it disappeared entirely.
  • Feeling more mindful of what I’m eating and in general, more clear headed
  • Energy levels are more stable and less up and down
  • Instead of eating sugar I’m accessing my emotions and dealing with whatever comes up when I have a craving.  This has created a lot of insight on how I manage emotions.
  •  

What hasn’t improved:

  • My skin is still dry (although the weather is probably part of the culprit).  I’ve still got some hives coming and going so there may still be a food I’m allergic to that I don’t know about.
  • I still get bloated sometimes, mostly after I eat a lot of veggies.  But, it’s temporary and usually goes away quickly where before my bloating would linger for days.

 

While I’m eating foods that I enjoy during this diet, there is a pleasure I get from eating international foods, exotic dishes, and from fine dining that I don’t ever want to have to give up full time.  Yes, I'm sure that the chemicals produced in my body when I have some decadent dark chocolate or some exceptional red wine are part of the joy, but it's a joy that I relish.  The pleasure and experience that these food moments bring to me add richness to my life, but only when done with awareness and in moderation.  Because of this diet, I’m feeling healthier but also more appreciative of those times when I can indulge in those delicious moments because I see them as special treats.  I'm also appreciative for all of the healthy foods that I do enjoy and can get pleasure out of that are also making me stronger and healthier physically.  Being more aware of what actually feeds my body and soul has made this process well worth it so far. 

Thank you for following me up to this point and I hope you'll come with me for 10 more days to see what unfolds!

Day #9 - FAQs

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Day #9 - FAQs

You asked, I answered.  Here are the questions I've gotten over the past week or so. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I've made it through another weekend without indulging.  They are certainly my hardest days and test me the most.  I also think they tell me a lot about what I'm feeling and force me to come face to face with my desires.  

Ok, on to the questions:

Why in the world are you doing this diet? It sounds awful!

I couldn’t help but laugh when I got this question.  For some people, removing foods from their diet feels like a terrible pain worse than pulling your own finger nails out.  But, for me it’s part of a process of transformation that brings joy.  It’s not that dissimilar to working out. It can feel miserable in the moment, but you know that rush of adrenaline is coming.  Even better, you know there are long term benefits. It’s not that much different with this diet. I am doing this to benefit my overall health, reduce inflammation and mucus production, minimize my addiction to sugar, improve my digestion, and to stabilize my energy levels.  There’s even a spiritual purpose for me.  When I’m eating mostly vegetables and limiting processed foods, gluten, sugar, etc I feel so much clearer.  I’m more in tune with the world around me and my intuition increases.  Yes, I might lose a pound or two in the process, but it’s more about being in touch with my body, emotions, feelings, and desires and doing what I know is best for me. 

Can you eat oats and pasta?

I haven’t had any oats but they would be a safe food. Oats trigger a hunger response in me so two hours later, I feel ravenous. Personally, I prefer oat bran which has a less carbs and more beneficial fiber and lots of minerals and vitamins.  It doesn’t seem to spike a hunger response like oats do for me either.

As for pasta, if it’s a gluten free food then it would be safe.  I have tried pastas made of beans, quinoa, and rice but I don’t seem to like how I feel after I eat them. My favorite alternative noodle would be mung bean noodles.  The only ingredients are mung beans and water and they are high in protein and fiber. Delicious and easy to make, they are one of the few pastas I eat regularly.

What about Kombucha?

Kombucha is a unique item.  It’s made with sugar but has a low sugar content because of the fermentation process involved.  It’s also got lots of probiotics which are beneficial for gut health.  It’s a qi/energy mover so I find it very useful if I’m feeling stuck or around my menstrual cycle.  Overall, I think it’s a safe item for the diet if used in moderation.   I’ve only had one bottle of it since starting and that was during my upset stomach phase. For some people with greater digestive issues, it might be used as a medicinal more frequently.

Where do you get your bones for bone broth?

I get my bones from Slanker's - Texas Grass Fed Beef.  Thanks to Ethan Baker for that tip. 

You can also order from Grass Fed Traditions

I also recommend searching for local farms in your area that may have bones for sale.  Local meat purveyors may also have bones or you can request them. Whole Foods often has bones as well - just ask someone behind the meat counter. 

What do you do about eating out?

Ah, yes.  This is where things can get tricky.  Tempting options abound and it can get confusing if you over think it.  And, honestly, some places aren’t going to have many options.  What you need to think about is veggies and protein.  Salads work if you ask for some toppings omitted or on the side.  Ask for steamed veggies to replace any item that you don’t want on the list.  See if they can cook your food in butter otherwise, rather than oil.  If there are avocados on the menu, order them on the side for a good fat, especially if you asked for everything else steamed.  I keep some sea salt on me so I use that to season food.  Also, I have these great packets of seasonings from the Spice and Tea shop.  I use these at home but they are great to sprinkle on whatever steamed items you order. 

More and more restaurants are serving vegetarian cuisine and understand food allergies so I don’t find much trouble in asking or substitutions or changes.  Grocery stores like Whole Foods are great when you are on the go.  They almost always have steamed veggies or a variety of salad options to choose from and sometimes their soups also work.  Here in NYC there are lots of great options.  I had a smoothie at One Lucky Duck, which also serves salads and other snack items.  Souen serves a great stew of veggies and fish as well as many other macrobiotic, organic vegetable based dishes.  There’s places like Hu Kitchen that are using high quality products that are vegetable based.  Most important is that you do your best to make wise choices.  It’s not about perfection, it’s about doing what you can and being mindful. 

Why aren’t you juicing?

I don’t have any issues with juicing in general, especially since it concentrates a lot of valuable nutrients, but I find it does spike my blood sugar.  If I can add oil to it, it helps a lot.  Personally, I prefer making smoothies so I can have the benefit of the fiber in the fruits and veggies with the convenience of having a meal I can take on the go.