Then I developed joint issues and muscle issues and weight issues, and my nutritionist said, "It's time. Carbs are not your friend. They convert to sugar, which is not your friend either." I have to admit, I had come to a place in my life where I was miserable enough to change my diet. That seems to be the only way we Americans do it. We have to suffer before we change.
So, I ditched bread and crackers and rice and pasta. And then most desserts (because most of them are carb-y: cakes, pie, cookies.) Then I got depressed. What the heck am I going to EAT?!?!??!
My nutritionist knew. She directed me to the produce section of the grocery store. Hmmm. I wasn't totally unfamiliar with it. I liked salads. But, given the choice of a salad, or a sandwich - with bread - well, you can imagine.
For about two months, I was sad about this sacrifice, and I didn't really know why. It's all just food. It wasn't like I was starving. But, the deprivation...it felt like I was in mourning. Which seemed a bit dramatic for just a diet change, but it eventually came to me.
There are emotions and memories attached to food.
Oprah has talked about her own struggle with this, but I never experienced it until I gave up carbs. It's not only the doughnut I'm missing, it's the fun/love/surprise/excitement/community attachment to the doughnut. Think about this:
2. Before too long, Gold Fish crackers enter the scene. Yummy little carbs with tiny smiles on their orange faces. They become a regular staple as well.
4. Which brings us to pasta. The first semi-fancy restaurant I fell in love with was Olive Garden. First dates, homecoming, prom. Fettuccine Alfredo, rotini, cavatappi, bow ties, even wagon wheels. Spaghetti, of course, but all those fun shapes! I had to try them all to see if they tasted different. Pasta satisfies like nothing else. And if that's not enough...bread sticks!!! Painted with garlic butter. Carb coma.
5. Pizza. If it hasn't passed our lips by the time we're five, we must be living in a third world country. Pizza is always the quick go-to with company, youth group, or birthdays. For several years, when our three kids were young, we had pizza every Tuesday night simply because Little Caesar's had a deal on Tuesdays - buy one, get one free. Pizza, pizza.
7. Homemade bread. For those who enjoyed baking, making bread from scratch made a comeback in the 70's. With the invention of counter top bread machines, non-bakers joined this carb overload movement. We discovered new recipes using earthy grains like quinoa, rolled oats, oat bran, and buckwheat. Our family favorite is whole wheat dinner rolls, painted with honey butter. Our daughter is the master at making these.
It's no wonder we are attached to carbs. They (not cotton) are the fabric of our lives. Carbs are woven into our first crunchy bite, early road trips, family dinners, sleepovers, copious high school adventures, romantic adolescent exposure to fine dining, and every celebration of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Never, for any celebration, have I ever heard, "Let's all share a cabbage."
No wonder veggies are not our first choice. No wonder we have to learn to choose them. All the fun, exciting, adventurous things in life are linked with bread and cake. The inhumanity of it all.
So...many of us find ourselves (often in mid-life) having to retrain the tummy and the brain, but most of all, the heart. Because we love our carbs, we love what they have meant to us, where they have taken us, this life-long journey hand in hand with dough. We're leaving a relationship, and it's heart-breaking.
Once I understood it, I had to grieve a bit. Over time, it got easier to walk away, because the carbs had become abusive. They were turning on me, making my joints swell, my fat fatter and my bloat bloatier. I decided I wanted better health over carbs. It's a choice I have to made daily.
I still have a cupcake on occasion, or a dinner roll at Thanksgiving, but the bulk of my diet is now produce. I've learned to love bok choy, butternut squash, roasted beets, and kale chips. I'm in a new relationship, with the produce aisle, and it's quite satisfying.
And don't look back. There's probably a Krispy Kreme shop in the rear view mirror.
Follow my journey with fibro/RA and how I got better here:
A WAKE UP CALL
FINAL BLOOD WORK - ENCOURAGING NEWS