Saturday, March 9, 2013

Food Confessions: Junk Food

I have had my relationships with junk food.
  • For my birthday one year, friends gave me one of those huge jars of UTZ Cheeseballs.
  • When I lived alone in my first apartment, I left my friend a voicemail describing all of the different desserts in my kitchen. I think it was 20- no joke.
  • For two weeks after my wedding I ate our left over cake for breakfast. Turns out it's really good with tea.
  • In middle school my favorite snack was skittles. And because they're so fruity you need to get a snickers, and because those are so chocolatey you need to balance it with a salty bag of potato chips. Makes total sense.

And I wasn't even that unhealthy. I wasn't over weight as a kid -- I played soccer and was involved in a lot of different activities. But oh goodness, I got really used to eating crappy food as a quick snack or a treat -- and those habits carried into my twenties which was not so good. But then I got really sick, found out I have Celiac Disease, went gluten free immediately, and then eventually went grain and sugar free as well. You can read more about that here. 

And that, my friends, is what finally kicked my junk food habits!

Why it worked for me:

Basically I started cooking meats and veggies with fresh, simple sauces. I avoided all pre-made marinades and mixes, leaving me with only cleaner options. Think lemon and olive oil instead of teriyaki and bbq.

When I cut out sugar and grains I started baking all of my breads and confections with almond flour and honey (hence, this blog!). And I baked a lot of them, so when I was short on time, craving something cozy and yummy like a honey butter biscuit with tea, or out of the house and hungry, I had a snack option that was on my food plan. This way I could avoid relapsing and grabbing a snickers or bag of trailmix with chocolate M&M's.

I changed my diet cold turkey, which was absolutely necessary for me. Some people work well in moderation, but I do not. If my diet allowed for the occasional serving of cheese fries or caramel sundae, I would eat those things as many times as I could within dietary limits. But if certain things are just simply not an option anymore, I would find other solutions -- and in this case those other solutions were healthier, real foods that I insisted on making tasty so I could still enjoy cooking and eating.

I cut out a lot of things when I changed my diet but I never felt deprived. I still ate plenty of meat and fatty foods, and I filled up on a lot more veggies, which really is surprisingly satisfying. And of course I ate sweet things, just with honey instead of processed sugar.

Where I am now:

I still think about my favorite gluten free cupcakes from Buzz Bakery and that fake cheese flavor (why do I love that so much!?) but when I go down that road, I can't stop. On the rare occasion that I do give in and have a sugary treat, which happens from time to time, it takes huge effort afterwards to break the cycle and get back to my gluten, grain and sugar-free diet.

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