Monday, January 7, 2013

i cannot live a lie

Oooookay. So you guys were killin me with the comments on my "day in the life" post on Friday. First of all-- so glad you enjoyed/pretended to enjoy the day's play-by-play. When I was writing it and contemplating hitting "publish," there was that brief fear of "what if everyone thinks this is the stupidest thing ever and that I'm totally lame and obsessed with myself?" So anyway, glad most of you seemed to NOT interpret it that way. Even though you would be right on the "she's totally lame" count...but that's okay with me. But here's what I can't live with: all of you thinking that I am the HEALTHIEST EATER EVER. So here is where I set the record straight.

I did eat super healthy (and super yummy!!) on Friday. But please believe me when I say that Friday was not representative of our every day's diet. Or at least not for a long period of time. It was pretty representative of last week. But not like...our whole life. Because how would I have earned all these bodacious curves (that's positive self-esteem-lingo for "homegirl could stand to lose 10") if I ate like a bird all the time? Exactly.

You know that last fall I spent a lot of time contemplating the Endo Diet. Researching it. And lamenting how awful it would be. And pretty much deciding to not do it...for the time being. See, at the time we had our friends living with us (update: they moved out right before Christmas. Sadsies.) and Cat was doing all the cooking. And it was amazing and wonderful and decidedly not-terribly-Endo-Diet-friendly. So because I'm not insane and didn't want to cook separate meals for myself (and watch everyone else eat whatever amazing entree Cat was cooking), I punted the whole Endo Diet thing. Well-- I did make a few tiny changes, incorporating things into my breakfast and lunch choices (like giving up cow milk altogether in favor of almond milk for drinking/cooking), but overall...I pretty much just thought about the endo-friendliness of food. And then ate whatever I felt like.

To be clear-- I do like a lot of healthy food. Our lunches (for years) have always been pretty healthy-- you can ask my co-workers who always admire slash make fun of my well-rounded and delicious lunches. It's pretty much dinner and snacking where I embrace all the meaty, cheesey, sugary, and carb-y things I love. So making my breakfasts and lunches endo-friendly didn't require a lot of changes.

So then Matt had his surgery last month. Now that his sperm-making-factory is hopefully in much better shape and capable of making functional sperm, we started looking a lot more into what vitamins and nutrients would help make that process (and ultimately sperm) even more efficient. Lo and behold, it's a lot of the same stuff as the Endo Diet. Lots of organic veggies and fruits. No red meat or poultry. No dairy. No eggs. (I think that's dairy, but it's separate in my mind) No saturated fat, but lots of unsaturated fatty acids (nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, quinoa, etc). No soy products.

If you think that sounds limiting, wait til I throw in the rest of the major components of the Endo Diet. Little/no gluten. No refined sugar. No caffeine.

So are you following here? Let's make it broad strokes: No Meat. No Soy. No Dairy. No Sugar. No Gluten (wheat, mainly). No joy in life, right? Pretty sure we just eliminated basically all of the food groups.

But you know what? We decided to try. Not to boldly proclaim "WE'RE CRAZY EATERS! WE EAT NO ________ (laundry list of everything we don't eat)!!! BOW BEFORE OUR CRAZY DIET!!!" (okay, no one says that)...but to try. Like I said-- most of our breakfasts and lunches more or less followed the guidelines. They required hardly any tweaking. And for our dinners-- we're trying

We made a list of specific dinner ideas that fall within (or mostly within) the guidelines and are not super hard/expensive/time-consuming. We got ideas/recipes from a variety of cookbooks we already have and Pinterest (duh)...and some things we just already happen to make/eat that just happen to follow the rules. Once we had a list (I think there are almost 20 things on it) it made it much easier to imagine following the guidelines. Whew-- we're not going to be eating raw carrots for dinner every night. Because imagining that is enough to make me head for the first drive-thru lane with a quickness. But imaging eating things that are really yummy- AND GOOD FOR ME- well, maybe it's worth at least trying.

But here's the thing. I am not striving for perfect compliance here. I know that for me, that will be the fastest way to get me to fall off the wagon-- feeling like I have to stick with a bunch of rules 100%. Yeah right. I'll go for 0% then. So I'm just going to do the best I can, when I can. I don't plan on asking other people to alter their cooking just for us (when we eat with family or something, for example). If we go out to eat, I'll probably order whatever I feel like and not scour the menu and ask a million questions of the waiter to find one thing that falls within The Rules. Because it's not life-or-death here. These are not life-threatening allergies I'm talking about. Some people are allergic to gluten. I totally get that. I am not. I am avoiding gluten (and meat, and soy, and all of the rest of it) because I hope that doing so will reduce the rate at which the endo grows back. It's not a guarantee, and there's really no way I'll even know if it's working-- I don't have a "control group" version of myself eating whatever she wants to compare myself to. How are we going to know if Matt's future awesome sperm is a result of the surgery, the diet changes, the supplements he's taking, or a combination of all three? We won't. We're just trying to make some changes so that we can feel like we're doing all we can. But if eating a bacon pizza and a hot fudge sundae currently feels like the most important thing for my emotional and mental health, I can guarantee you that's what I'm going to eat. There're enough stressful things in my life without adding to it an unnecessary obsession with food rules.

So there's my long and drawn out explanation of my "healthy food" from Friday. It was healthy-- and really, really yummy!! And I am proud to say that breakfast and lunch Saturday and all three meals Sunday have been equally healthy. And Saturday night for dinner I had a steak quesadilla from the neighborhood taqueria. And I don't feel guilty at all, because 80% (or whatever, I'm not actually doing any math here) compliance to the endo/sperm guidelines is better than 0%. And also because Saturday (and part of Sunday)-- despite almost like FIVE DAYS of 'clean eating', I was in a pretty significant amount of endo-related pain. Which sucked. And made me sad. And didn't seem fair, given how HEALTHY I've been eating for...a few days (ha, I expect IMMEDIATE RESULTS PEOPLE!!)...and I just really really wanted a steak quesadilla. So I had one, and I felt better on some levels. And Sunday I had no trouble at all getting back on board with eating clean. So...I call it a success. 

Also, if you happen to look at my meal plan for this week and you wonder "OMG WHY SO MUCH KALE ERIKA????" I will have you know-- I am OBSESSED with the stuff, and it's only $1 a bag right now at Publix, and I seriously go through a bag every two days. I cook it at least once a day. And then I'm basically twiddling my thumbs until the next time it's socially acceptable to cook it again (not that Matt judges-- twice this week he's cooked more of it after dinner to eat for dessert. Love that man). So don't think I'm some martyr for eating kale every day-- I think it's the best thing ever and I plan on dedicating an entire garden to it come spring. YUMMMMMMYYY!!

So now you know. Don't be ashamed of your own diet and think I eat like this all the time. Please. On Friday night I was laughing as I read your "you eat so healthy!!" comments because I was eating a handful of candy cane Hershey's kisses leftover from Christmas at that exact moment. (Oh yeah that reminds me-- we still have plenty of "guideline NON-compliant" food in the house and we're probably going to eat it all. The candy from our stockings. Lots of frozen meat in the freezer. We're not going to waste a bunch of perfectly good/delicious food. Just...moderation. Moderation. And once it's gone, it won't be replaced. Hopefully. Unless I just really really need a steak.) 

Happy Monday! I'm back to school for my last week of teaching...not really looking forward to telling my kiddos I'm not coming back, must be done. Have a great week!


  1. Ha, I feel better now- and more power to you! But stop for a minute and please focus on the fact that you just admitted to being obsessed with kale. Of all things, kale?!

  2. I appreciate this post because just last week I started looking into a PCOS-friendly diet and have been trying to stick to it for the past several days. But just like you, I have no intentions of letting it rule my life! Anyway, felt like you were reaching inside my brain when you wrote this... creepy.

  3. I have a fabulous smoky vegetarian black bean soup recipe you'd love! We made it yesterday...delish!
    Eating healthy is a state of'll succeed because you want to. I'm positive you and Matt both like how it makes you feel (minus the endo crap) so you'll eat clean more often. Oh and where's your clone when we need her :)

  4. I'm pretty sure we know some people who basically say "bow before our crazy diet!"

    I'm also pretty sure I could never ever ever last 5 days on that diet. Which you already know, but soon other people will know when I do my own day-in-the-life post. And I guess I will not bring queso with me to your house tomorrow.

  5. This post made me smile and also feel a little better about our "eat an entire bag of tortilla chips within 3 days" habit. Gotta work on that. Maybe we can make a bag last 4 days? :)

    Seriously, it is so smart to lean towards moderation in all food habits. You are so smart. I was a slave to food for far too long, and now, praise God, I aim for the 80/20 approach you mentioned. 80% of the time eat healthy (and yummy) real foods and 20% of the time just eat the darn chips and dip! :)

    How do you make the Kale? I see some yummy recipes around the web but have never tried to make it myself.

  6. ummm... as mollyanne said, i'm pretty sure i know people with the "bow before my diet" attitude. also, i'm so impressed! (and secretly jealous, since we are eating a lot of southern food up here. sad face)

    and, because kale is incredible...
    "some lovers get cold feet. when the frost touches kale, she gets sweeter, her sugar concentrated. she has been known to last all winter long, perpetual satiation... Baby, do you like to eat seasonal?"

  7. What a great idea to write out lunch/dinner ideas on a piece of paper. It would make the diet seem much more manageable then just "no soy, no meat etc." I am chuckling a little at your color coded ink :)

  8. Check out the Healthy Gluten Free Life cookbook. It's awesome AND it's egg and dairy free in addition to gluten free. No refined sugar (or very minimal) and super healthy recipes. Yummy pictures too. Highly recommend.

  9. I think with your healthy attitude (try it but don't be a dictator about it) you will have longer-term success. Way to go and I also love kale. Yum!

  10. This post made me incredibly jealous of all of your kale consumption. I almost just passed out from eating too lumpy mashed potatoes.

  11. Well, first of all...I love your handwriting! Random, I know, but I love looking at people's handwriting. Second of all, I agree- 80% is better than nothing! That's why I don't feel bad about eating out for dinner tonight and following it up with ice cream (it was my first day back to school after 2 1/2 weeks out!) when my breakfast and lunch were fairly healthy!

  12. Yum! I LOVE kale! I am still super impressed with your eating, despite all of the things you just told us to unimpress us! I became "gluten aware" to help with stomach issues and then got super serious about going gluten free when I found out I have endo. I also cut back on cow dairy and limited sugar (although I never gave it up!). I agree, if followed 100%, the endo diet is very difficult. Especially if you want to eat out! I have a heck of a time eating out as a gluten free vegetarian so I cannot imagine cutting out all of that other stuff completely, too!

    Also, I can totally relate to the "we don't know if it will help but we want to feel like we are doing all we can" part of this!

    And, homegirl, you look fabulous!

  13. I'm with you on the kale obsession! I crave it. Not that your asking for recipes....but MY favorite is to make it southern green style. Sautee some onion and garlic in olive oil, add in a whole bunch of kale, once it's cooked down, season it with salt, pepper, paprika, etc. Add broth till just covered. Splash in some apple cider vinegar to taste. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 20 min. I like to halve some cherry tomatoes and throw em in the last 10 min. I eat it by the bowlful as a snack, or as a side.

  14. I love this post. And sadly, over Christmas, I believe I entered the group 'homegirl could lose 15.' I'm trying to do good when I can and treat myself when given the opportunity. However, I'm not feelin' ya on the kale, sorry.


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