Friday, January 21, 2011

Foodie Friday: Five Foods for Five Days

Being a pretty healthy eater (though I admit to getting just as excited about a cruelty-free cupcake as the next vegan), I really don't "diet." I don't calorie count, don't measure out portions, and if I have a craving that won't break the bank or send me too far out of my way, I usually indulge it. All that being said, after reading a preview of nutritionist Cynthia Sass' new book, "Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches," and a few online articles by the author, my interest was piqued. Maybe it's the weather, but I've been sluggish in the mornings and my stomach has not been a happy place for the past few weeks. And I can admit to just a smidgen of vanity and body consciousness, so I booked it to the library.

I don't know if you've ever tried reading a diet book, but it's not exactly a page-turner. I skipped the intro and success stories and went straight to the research, tips, and "plan." The 30-day food ordeal (let's not call it a "diet") starts with an optional "Five Day Fast Forward." Bingo! I can do five days. I know the point is to follow the whole plan, but I figured I would just do the "fast forward" and then continue on with my normal food flow, plus perhaps a few Sass' tips and a better eating schedule. The main goals of the five-day kick start are to "lose weight...gain confidence... reconnect with your body." Okay, I can live with all that. And I get that people who see results quickly might be more motivated to forge on for the remaining days of the ordeal.

My main goals? Fit into my most small-waisted pants (the only clothing I own from the coveted Anthropologie), shake the tummy trouble, and challenge myself to re-examine my relationship with food. Since I don't weigh or measure myself (the numbers game can be a slippery, obsessive slope) and basically just go on how I feel and how my body performs, I'm not Sass' ideal guinea pig. But I thought I'd let you know how five days of spinach, tofu, yogurt, almonds, and raspberries pans out. Sass explains why she chose these five super-foods, but I won't give away the farm (is that even an expression?) -- you'll have to read it yourself if you're up for the challenge. Here I go...

Day Zero: False Start
The plan is composed of four "meals" spaced out strategically over the day. I started late (I blame my cold concrete floors and uber-warm comforter) which probably foils the plan, but proceeded none-the-less with the fruit-on-the-side scramble. Cheated and added mushrooms. Indulged in the "approved" seasonings of garlic and cinnamon. Cinnamon might be my new best friend. I think the only other place you would hear that is in Vegas -- or maybe that's just the novel I'm reading on the side. Anyway, got back on track with the yogurt/fruit/almond parfait and made it through a cello lesson. I noticed that while I was playing and concentrating, I didn't pay any mind to my hunger. However, as soon as I started my car, my stomach out-roared the engine. Cheat #1 - Vegan cornbread with almond butter from Wheatsville. Then a friend invited me to try a new Mexican food restaurant on the up-and-coming East Side of Austin -- who could resist? Learned the true meaning of "the diet starts tomorrow..."

Day One: Pretty Darn Close
Started late again. I may turn into a repeat offender on that one. Followed the plan for breakfast before work, and moved the noon-ish snack down to a later time, which turned out not to be too much later. Ate a salad "dinner" around 4 p.m. in the park. It was rather blustery and I really wanted soup instead. I felt full for a while, but was hungry within about an hour! I decided I needed a mantra and tried, "I am full of the love in my life and at peace with the world." Maybe some deep breathing would be good too. I noticed the busier I am, the less attention I pay to my rumbling stomach -- this can be both good and bad, pointing to the classic case of eating out of boredom, but throwing up warning signals that sometimes we are just too "busy" to listen to our bodies. Cheat #2: Ate a slice of toast with sunbutter (from sunflower seeds). Remembered to drink more water. Made it through just fine and happily prepared the suggested smoothie at 10 p.m. I've never read a diet book that told you to eat that late, but no complaints here. Well, except that I dropped and broke my glass before I was finished. Spent a few minutes mourning the last fifth of my smoothie, cleaned up the mess, and tried to sleep.

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