The longer we have been on opposite teams with our bodies the more training we need to get up to speed. Sometimes training takes persistence. When you replace foods that don’t do your team any favors with those that will you might miss the tastes. We have been over-stimulating our buds with excessive amounts of salt and sugar. Usually added to foods that have lost their natural flavors through processing. At first foods might taste bland or just different. Trust and training will open you up to a much wider variety of flavors as you taste each food for what it is, not merely salty or sweet.
When I first started “Fat Flush”ing in 2002, I was used to fairly high sodium foods and sweetened sodas and desserts. (I didn’t necessarily recognize that the foods I was eating were so enhanced until I started eating new, more natural foods. The retraining started with unsweetened cranberry juice. It can be pretty intense both in taste and function so generally it’s diluted with water. To offset the tartness I also stirred in a packet of stevia. It’s a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant. Its pure form is actually sweeter than white sugar. Eventually I stopped adding stevia as well.
It certainly took some getting used to the taste, but the effects made me never want to go back. Cranberries are a natural diuretic meaning eating them cleanses the liver and keeps things moving along the same lines as the ever popular fiber. I dropped a bit of water weight right away, but mostly I Felt thinner. A bit like getting an oil change for your Mazda keeps your gas mileage in check, a clean liver keeps digestion efficient and your weight down. Having those toxins out of my liver makes me less bloated which means even that special time of the month is so much more comfortable. Bonus!
You don’t get the same effect with sweetened cranberry juice (found in all major grocery stores) or dried cranberries due to the sugar content. The sensitivities that most of us have to sugar counteract all the benefits of the cran. Back to basics. Natural is better here. (By the way… you can find the unsweetened cranberry juice at Trader Joe’s and the stevia is now available widely under the brand Truvia. Two cups of juice in a two quart pitcher. Fill it with water and add a packet. Done.)
I started cutting out sugar other places too. Stopped buying cookies and chips that took my taste buds to extremes. I could never leave chocolate behind entirely, but switched to the darkest I could find.
Its at this point when you need to listen to your body and trust its messages. Listen to how it reacts when you consume the healthy fare. At first my body craved the really salty/sweet stuff, but training through those cravings or replacing say… a soda with sparkling water and lemon squeeze got me through. Before long not only did my cravings subside, when I did eat the rich stuff I could feel my body react. Always undesirably. Over time I learned that in order to feel good all the time, I had to avoid that sugar all together and stick with what genuinely felt good. It didn’t happen over night, but I really do love that McD’s fries, Diet Coke and Oreos don’t even sound appealing. My standards for dessert have gone through the roof and only the highest quality darkest chocolate tastes good anymore. And anything less doesn’t satisfy anything, emotional or otherwise.
Replacing Not Depleting
This is not about deprivation! It’s not about cutting out calories just to “train” yourself to eat less. It doesn’t work and there is no health in that. Depletion is not the kind of training your body needs. It just needs to be rebooted so you can enjoy the healthy foods for what they offer. (more on "portion control" another day...)
Give and Take
Breakfast: Coffee, Michigan Ave-alanche (from Protein Bar)
Lunch: All Bran Cereal with Skim milk
Water and cranberry juice all day
Yoga: 90 minutes of lower body stretches, backbends and spine loosening postures
Protein Bar is a great quick-service restaurant in the West Loop in Chicago. Among all the yummy and good-for-you things they offer, their specialty is high-protein blended drinks and bowls. You will hear that I eat at Protein Bar quite a bit. The Michigan Ave-alanche is my favorite of their drinks. It’s loaded with protein and good fats from almonds and granola. Protein is key because it can raise your metabolism by 25% and gets your liver detoxifying. (Sidebar: One reason why eggs help cure a hangover. The protein kicks the liver into gear to get rid of all the toxins we clog it up with while boozing.)
All Bran Cereal is chuck full of fiber which moves everything along and milk does your body good. It’s a natural food with calcium and skim limits my fat intake.
Trust. Train. You’ll see…