I used to eat whatever I wanted. I believed in indulgences, as long as I ate healthily most of the time. I still believe that, although my idea of healthy eating and my idea of an indulgence is a bit different than what it used to be. I am in a place now where I can almost always choose “feeling good” over “eating something yummy.” The reason for this is fantastically simple: I LOVE the nourishing food that I eat every day.
My side of the family is huge. I have nine siblings (half are stepsiblings). All but one of us are married, and all but two of us have kids. Family dinners happen about once a month and they are always potluck dinners, so I always make sure to bring something that my little guy and I can eat, and sort of pick through the rest of what is brought for “safe” foods. With so many of us, no one had ever noticed or asked questions, so I never had to talk about our special diet or why we were doing it (which has gone from a real foods diet to a traditional foods diet to a gluten-free diet to a paleo diet, and we are now in the process of switching to a GAPS diet). But as Christmas Eve approached I knew I couldn’t sneak around about it anymore: Christmas Eve dinner was going to be homemade pizzas.
I had no desire to cheat on our diet, especially not with pizza, which destroys my stomach and keeps me up at night. Feeling good all the time these days makes such “indulgences” even less desirable, because I don’t want to give up feeling good. But did I feel left out not having pizza? I felt a little odd, but certainly not deprived. You know what my little boy and I had for dinner? STEAK. You should have seen the eyes of envy.
I had my steak and a bunch of the yummy salad I had made, and I was completely satisfied. I did indulge in some fudge afterwards, but only because it is my favorite dessert and it doesn’t give me a stomachache. But I’ve been skipping dessert quite a lot lately…and not feeling the least bit deprived. Why?
Because I eat amazing food every day. The food I eat not only nourishes my body better than any former diet I have lived off of, but it is very satisfying and tastes really good. After Thanksgiving and now after Christmas, I’ve read a few comments from my friends on Facebook about having eaten too much (because the food is SO GOOD), and I just thought about how I ate exactly the same as though it were just another day. Because when you have delicious food every day, there is much less desire to stuff your face at a feast. Not only that, but when you eat little sugar and no bread, you can pretty much have all the meat and veggies you want without overeating. It’s just really hard to overeat with those foods, even when the vegetables are slathered in butter and you choose the fatty cuts of meat.
It was harder for my boy, though. He’s only three, and it’s hard for him to understand why he needs to be on a special diet. He wanted that pizza. I hate having him be the odd child out. Some of his cousins were asking why he wasn’t eating pizza. I tried to explain. I finally got the idea to make a “pizza” with a slice from the almond bread loaf I had brought, but by then he wanted to go play. He eagerly accepted several bites of steak though. It worked out.
Honestly, the hardest part was finally admitting to my family that we are on a crazy special diet. Luckily, I was able to explain it in a way that didn’t make me sound crazy, which was actually my greatest fear.