So I joined a forum / group on Facebook for Low Carb Eating and since doing that I started suffering from guilt. OK suffering is a bit of an over exaggeration. I felt bad.
I joined the group because I thought it would be good for me. I thought that being part of a group that encouraged the reduction of wheat and sugar intake would be a wonderful thing for my health.
Why? Because when I eat sugar and wheat I feel like crap in the yoga room. I get dizzy sometimes, I can’t deal with the heat as easily, I’m less flexible and my stomach is really hard to suck in ’cause it’s bloated. I use the yoga room to determine whether or not I’ve been good to myself not just by how I feel when I’m in there but also how I look (you spend 1.5 hrs staring at yourself in the mirror) and wheat and sugar always cause me some kind of pain and puffiness that I can only feel and see when I’m in the yoga room.
So yes, joining the forum, I thought would be awesome support to help me keep off the wheat and sugar.
As soon as I joined the forum, I realised that I had a tonne of spaghetti, tagliatelle, egg noodles (which are made of wheat and egg) and 4kg of rice and 5kg of Einkorn flour in the cupboards (along with a few kilos of sugar which we use to make kefir).
They’re all carbs. How the hell was I supposed to low carb eat with kilos and kilos of carbs in the cupboards? I thought about taking myself off the forum, eating all the carbs and then rejoining when the cupboards were bare.
But I didn’t, instead I put it to the forum. Should I eat it all in one go and then go cold turkey? Or, should I spread it out like cheat days – in which case… I’ll be having a cheat day once a week for the rest of the year. Afterall, it’s not “no carbs” it’s LOW carbs!
The answer was a loud and resounding: “No cheat days! Just get rid of it! Throw it all out!”
Now… I’ve been trained (very well that it’s ingrained into every cell of my being) not to throw away food.. EVER. Even if it’s going off, you’ve got to try it and even if it makes you really gag, you’ve still got to eat it. That was my mum. She made us eat bananas that had gone completely black (I’m not talking spots of black, I’m talking, it’s starting to ferment inside it’s own skin, there’s no yellow at all and there are 20 fruit flies all over it kind of black) by putting them into a milkshake. It wasn’t just bananas. She did it with avocados too – black avocado milkshake.. mmmm delicious. I hope you can detect my sarcasm there. Have food that’s rotting? No worries… just turn the heat up and burn the germs away, fry the crap out of it… there you go, don’t worry if it’s gone a little slimy, it’s still good! Otherwise, just mix it with milk and icecream, that’ll fix it!! Please note further sarcasm.
These days, I don’t hesitate about rotten food. I throw it. No point making myself sick over some guilt trip my mum used to give me about Ethiopians having no food to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I still go through a process of feeling bad about wasting it but I then follow that up with the knowledge that eating rotten food, doesn’t help those starving Ethiopians one bit!
So, where were we? Got carried away there didn’t I? So, if food is perfectly edible, I’ve still got a mental block. I just can’t do it. I can’t throw it away.
I put it to the forum and they said, “THEN GIVE IT AWAY!”
I felt guilty (again). I couldn’t give it away. Why? Because I’ve read that it causes inflammation in the body (wheat) and that most people get autoimmune diseases because they consume way too much wheat in their diets throughout their lives. Knowing it is harmful to others, why would I give it willingly to them? I certainly don’t want to knowingly contribute towards causing other people’s sicknesses!
Also, we’d just spent £15 on Einkorn wheat flour. That’s approx AUD$30 and USD$24 for 5kg of wheat flour thinking that this was going to be better for us. Tony was really getting into the sourdough baking. As much as I kept saying we needed to stop eating wheat, he baked 2 loaves of bread a week. I wanted to kill him because as tasty as it was, it kept us both bloated all the time. So to make me feel better, he bought Einkorn wheat, one of the earliest domesticated versions of wheat, closest to being wild and therefore, higher in protein and nutrients than modern domesticated wheat but at the end of the day, it’s still wheat! Really expensive wheat.
It was actually a dilemma for me. 2 very conflicting values. Health (mine and others’) vs Keeping/Saving food and money.
So… I decided to sacrifice my own health momentarily in order to save the food and get our value for money (at least I know when it comes down to the crunch, I will choose to hurt myself before I choose to hurt others AND I am really frugal).
I did not listen to the advice I got on the forum. I ate the spaghetti. Made some loaves of bread with the wheat, ate everything wheat related in the cupboards (there’s still a few hundred grams of Einkorn Flour left) and to stuff down any further feelings of guilt for not listening to the support system I chose to help me, I then used the following weeks to eat a few burgers, several packets of chips (crisps) and a whole lot of oven fries, crinkle cut (crinkle cut’s good!) and then bought tonnes more rice. That’s what happens when you eat grains… you just crave more and more and you’re always hungry. Tony joined the bandwagon, decided to support me in my carb loading and bought a tonne of rice noodles too.
Lastly, fruit. We started getting a lot more fruit. I LOVE fruit, all sorts of fruit and they are right in the carb territory with all that sugar.
So I’ve learned something about myself. I’m not very good at this low carb thing. In fact, I didn’t realise just how many carbs I was eating until I started counting them!! I actually eat about 500 carbs a day. Low carb people eat 25 carbs a day.
At first I was a bit confused, I thought that I miscounted. When I realised I didn’t, I then concluded that I started eating more carbs because I was counting them and concentrating on them so much. On re-calculating, I do actually eat about 300 carbs just in the morning for breakfast every, single, day (for at least the last 2 years).
You can imagine how bad I was making myself feel about this. I was and still am a complete low-carb failure.
I told myself that as long as I ate fruit and vegetables (just no wheat or sugar) that I’d be fine but the forum came back with a straight out, “No.. no fruit!” Followed with, “You need to change your thinking!”
I wasn’t quite sure what thinking I was supposed to change. Why is fruit so bad? It’s full of fibre and vitamins and minerals and is nature’s offering! It’s the only thing you can pick off a plant that the plant actually wants you to pick off! It was made for you to eat!
The thing is, most people who go on a low carb diet are doing it to lose weight. I wasn’t. I really was just doing it to help my body feel better and the truth is just that… the operative word is “better” which means I’m already good, I’m already healthy.
I couldn’t bare facing a bunch of people who worked so hard to eat only 25 carbs a day, struggling with their weight and their health, while I sat there munching and drinking down my 500 carbs feeling perfectly fine. It turned out being on the forum made me feel guilty for being so healthy!
No, I don’t have skin disease, headaches, migraines or any of the ailments most people have. My blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc are all good. I’ve had one cold in the last year. I have worked really hard for the last 15 years of my life to get to this state and I certainly didn’t get this way by eating only 25 carbs a day.
I’ve never gone on a calorie counting diet ’cause I thought counting calories would just make me depressed about all the stuff I couldn’t eat. Counting carbs turned out to be just as tedious and just as depressing as I imagined counting calories would have been.
So I agree… I don’t have the right thinking for eating only 25 carbs a day but I realised I don’t have any reason to eat only 25 carbs a day either.
If my current way of thinking has gotten me my desired result ie I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my life and I weigh within the healthy range for my height, then why would I want to change my thinking?
So, I took myself off the forum.
300-500 carbs per day? Yes, can be considered carb loading but it really doesn’t matter. I’m not counting anything anymore. The occasional puffiness I see in class (yoga) is not as painful as feeling bad about eating fruit, hot chips, crisps, rice and drinking smoothies just because they are 20 times more carbs than you’re “supposed to” have.
I guess the forum did make me realise one thing. I really do have it good! I am and remain healthy, no matter how many carbs I eat. I just needed the reminder to feel good and appreciate being this healthy rather than reprimanding myself for every time I ate a doughnut and got puffy.
At least I’ve learned now, I don’t do Low Carb, I Carb Load and I’m healthy 🙂