I think my appetite might be starting to catch up with me. I’ve been eating under what I should be for most days of this challenge – pretty much under unless I’m drinking. Is it that my appetite has caught up, is it the fact that I’ve started to push myself cardio-wise more and that’s spiking my appetite? Is it the fact that I’m still feeling like I’m catching up on sleep from my terrible Monday night? Is it just that today I’ve had to fit eating around other activities even when I was hungry? Is it a little of all of that?
I’ve been seeing some interesting reactions from friends and colleagues in the last two weeks. We’ve had a couple of birthdays at work where people have brought in cakes. Not eating the cakes is a big no no. I tried to explain I’m not eating wheat (or any grains) and of course I get the but you don’t need to diet; or is this some kind of detox; diets don’t work; and just one won’t hurt. When I met some friends at a bar the other day, one took great delight in pointing out that I wouldn’t be able to drink gin. I did try to explain that the distilling process means that the grain element is removed by the time its turned into alcohol unlike beer which is fermented* but you won’t be able to say you gave up grains.
Now there’s a few things going on there. On both the detox comment and the last point seem to be coming from the same perception that this is some kind of superstitious ritual I’m putting myself through rather than a reason why I’m doing this. I’m avoiding grains to avoid the negatives that appear to be associated with them to see if I experience an improvement. I’m not avoiding grains to say I’ve avoided grains. So if distilling removes the negatives of the grain, why can’t I have it? If this was a superstition-driven detox, or an attempt to follow a fad diet for thirty days I would be much more austere. I would be giving up alcohol and coffee. But I’m not, I want this to be a healthy realistic lifestyle for me. So I’m drinking less alcohol but I don’t want to get to the end of the month and feel I’m glad that’s over. I want to feel good enough to continue – and being able to have drinks with friends is part of that (call me an alcoholic if you must).
The don’t need to diet comment is interesting. I get told I don’t need to diet, I’m already healthy – even why do I go to the gym when I’m already fit. One of my favourite blogs brought up this topic today in relation to the Paula Deen diabetes kerfuffle. Unless you have a very specific reason – and it pretty much has to be a sporting demand – you are either depriving yourself because you need to correct your current state or you should be over-indulging. I’m not about to be hospitalised, but just wanting my day to day life to be healthier seems to be insulting to people. Food is so social that opting out of the dominant way of eating is by its very nature confrontational. This is also where the just one won’t hurt comes in. Despite attempting to explain that I want to find out if it does – I’ve read the literature on grains/gluten but its far from accepted as proven – does it really have to matter that I didn’t eat any of the doughnuts?
The diets don’t work comments – once again THIS ISN’T A DIET – do seem to come from the unhealthiest people. I’m not fat-bashing and I do accept that healthy at any size is mostly true** but the people that criticise any attempt to eat better as diets don’t work always seem to be the ones who eat terribly. They might be fat but they’re not the healthy at any size people – they are the several Mcdonalds burgers, or entire pizza for lunch people.
The last comment I’m going to mention is the but what do you eat question. I’m not talking about the general what’s all this then, tell me about it type questions. I mean the real bemused but what could you possibly eat if you don’t have grains. Most tellingly, this was from a friend who on more than a few occasions has had me over for dinner in which she didn’t serve grains at all. Yet the concept is so ingrained (hehe) that she couldn’t conceive of deliberately excluding grains. To that I have to say, I think it would do wonders for everyone to exclude grains just to see what else is available to eat!
*I know there are some that feel something of the grain still comes through into the drink but I think the science doesn’t hold up to that claim
**I don’t accept this for the extremes, but I think the evidence of obesity as a fat accumulation issue really gives greater evidence that the fat people who eat a diet full of meat and vegetables and get a moderate amount of exercise are healthy for that size. I’m still half on the fence on the evilness of grains. So while I can see their fat accumulation role due to the high carbohydrate consumption I’m not certain that grains cause the inflammation issues in everyone.