Twenty seven days ago I made a drastic change regarding the foods I eat. I have given up sugar, and grain based carbohydrates. I am following the “Primal Blueprint” plan created by Mark Sisson. One of the first things the plan asks is to go through your kitchen and get rid of all the rice, bread, pasta, sugar, and anything else that falls in the category of SAD foods (SAD stands for the Standard American Diet).
I was doing this part in increments as my husband had not jumped on the same bandwagon as me. I was looking in the refrigerator and something caught my eye. Shoved way in the back was a giant bag of baker’s yeast. This bag is a remnant of when my mother used to live with us. She wanted to bake bread, and to do that you need yeast.
Looking at the bag brought back a flood of memories. Back in the day, when I was growing up, my mother would always bake bread for us. Both she and my father grew up during the Depression and that’s what families did. They also didn’t like the flavor and texture of “Store Bought” bread. Every week my mother would go into a whirlwind and bake several loaves of bread or a dozen or so buns, and we would all wait for them to cool off just enough, and then we would slather the bread with real butter and enjoy the flavors of butter melting into warm wheat bread.
Many years later, my mother developed a bit of arthritis in her hands, and could no longer knead the dough, so my father volunteered to take over the bread making duties. Now, my mother is the kind of cook who just does everything on the fly, tossing in ingredients by hand, never using a measuring tool, she could just judge by looking at it, if there was enough salt, or oil, or flour. My father was Mr. Precise. When he took over he researched recipes, he bought a baking cloche, and he experimented with combinations of white flour, wheat flour, eggs, no eggs. Again, I would wait patiently for those new loaves of bread, or sometimes cinnamon rolls, to cool off just enough, so I could slather on the butter and enjoy the fruits of his labors.
My father died ten years ago, and since then my mother has enlisted the help of a stand-up mixer with a bread hook, which made the mixing easier. But the enthusiasm for baking weaned as her Parkinson’s progressed. Now that she is living in a care home, one of her first complaints is about they bread. They bake their own rolls, but they use mostly white flour, and mom misses the flavor in whole wheat.
Looking at that bag of yeast in the refrigerator, I enjoyed looking back at our life, and knowing that my parents thought they were making healthy choices at the time. Now, I know better. That it was probably that wonderful bread that helped establish my cravings for all things carbohydrate. As much as I love my parents, and everything they have done for me, it is time for me to make the food choices that work best for myself. I took that bag of yeast and with at “thanks mom, thanks dad,” I dumped it right in the trash.
I like so many women I know, have suffered greatly from the myth that “Food is Love.” Food is food. And love is love. For those of us who have packed on the pounds, mixing up those two ideas lays squarely at the heart of the problem. We talk about all the foods that we “love” and “can’t live without.” Truth is, there are lots of great foods we can eat that fill us with the energy and nutrition that we need. But the key is eating the “whole” food, as close to as it exists in nature as possible. As soon as you start processing foods to extend their shelf life, you’re killing it, and making it something that will cause you problems in the long run.
I can report that in those first 27 days I have lost 9 pounds. I am sleeping soundly, I don’t miss the sweets. In fact my taste buds are now sensitive enough to taste the natural sugars in — lettuce. Yup, give me a cherry tomato, it tastes like candy. Every now and again, I will have a bite — one bite — of bread, as in one crouton. Or one corner of a pita bread. It’s fine, it still tastes great, but I no longer crave it and I would much rather slather butter over a pile of steamed spinach or use it to saute some mushrooms.
Are there any old food habits from childhood, or family “traditions” that in the light of adulthood, no longer suit you? I’d love to hear what you have to say. And as always, thank you so much for stopping by.