Thrilled with my new Vitamix, I started making green smoothies every morning for breakfast. I tried a few different greens, but kale is by far my favourite. I have a standard mixture. I add fruit (usually half and apple and half a banana), some Vega protein powder (more recently, Veganique, which has less fillers like guar gum and no stevia, which I hate) and a brazil nut for the selenium. These smoothies are far more satisfying than any oatmeal or cereal ever was.
Something weird was happening. About three weeks in, I noticed that I wasn't craving sugar anymore. Don't misunderstand, I *love* sweet things, but all of a sudden the sweets didn't feel like something I *had* to have.
No, not even chocolate!
In fact, I bought a bunch of cheap chocolate on sale after Christmas and that bag is still languishing in my freezer. Occasionally, I'll grab a handful of chocolates for the kids in my youth classes, but even as I'm carrying the chocolate around town with me, I'm not compelled to eat it. The other day, a coworker offered me a small bar of dark chocolate and I simply said 'No thank you' - not because I don't love dark chocolate, but I didn't feel like eating it at the moment.
I've always been a big lover of bread, but I've noticed that my craving for carbohydrates has also taken a dive. I even stopped buying muffins at the cafe downstairs from the shala. I can't explain it - they just started to feel too 'heavy.'
Capitalizing on this, I decided to do a little experiment. I cut most wheat and refined sugar from my diet for a month (as a vegan, I already avoid dairy). I reserved Saturdays as a 'cheat-day' so I could eat my greatly beloved chocolate cookies from the market.
To keep my energy up, I replaced my usual sugary-wheaty snacks (read: baked goods) with nuts. I've gone completely nuts over nuts! I eat a handful of cashews in the morning and I nibble on a bag of gourmet trail mix throughout the rest of the day - the mix includes an equal amount of nuts and dried fruit.
The results of these simple changes have been amazing.
For years, I've had a fungal skin condition that looks like mild acne but spreads over my skin like the plague. I also typically get excema during the winter months. But now, my skin is clear of all eruptions and rashes and it's soft and silky smooth. A friend who hadn't seen me in a month said with surprise "You're glowing!"
My hair (which I'm growing out right now, so it's a rat's nest), is thick and shiny. My nails and cuticles are healthy. And here's an odd behavioural shift: I have this bad habit of picking at my fingers when I'm nervous or upset. This habit dimished somewhat when I cut caffeine, but cutting out sugar and wheat has eliminated it completely.
The biggest result was a complete surprise: weight loss. I wasn't even *trying* to lose weight, I just wanted to clean up my diet. Then, a couple weeks ago, I noticed that all of my clothes were suddenly fitting better and were even getting a little roomy. Curious, I stepped on the scales for the first time since last year and my jaw literally dropped. I'm lighter than I've been in about three years. AND I WASN'T EVEN TRYING!!! It was effortless!
And to add some more awesome to the awesome, I've saved a tonne of money over the past month because I'm not longer buying snacks and junk food when I'm around and about in the city. I bring trail mix with me instead. I plan my meals, which trims my grocery bills.
I've now becoming one of those crazy people who sings the praises of what seems like an impossibly restrictive diet. Except it's not that restrictive or difficult, once you start doing it (my friend Cabbage is nodding her head knowingly). After awhile, it feels completely intuitive to eat this way. You're body craves the right stuff.
I know this might sound crazy, but once you start doing it, the idea of putting wheat and sugar in your body actually becomes repugnant. A friend on Facebook put it this way: "That pizza looks really good but I look at it and think, 'That's gonna be some glue in my intestines.' "
I totally get it.
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