Challenge of St Valentine’s: “For the Love of Food” By Roslyn Franken
My husband and I are both foodies. We love all kinds of food. Trying new recipes, tasting new foods and discovering new restaurants gives us tremendous amounts of pleasure. Why? Because it’s fun and it tastes good, why else? So when my husband recently got a bacterial infection in his colon and was told he had to follow the BRATTY diet, it was devastating. The BRATTY diet stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, Tea and Yogurt. That’s it. That’s all he could eat. Nothing more and nothing less. After just one day on the diet, he already started feeling much better, but he still had a week to go on the diet. Here’s what happened and some vital lessons we’re learning from this experience that can help you manage your own love of food. And if want to lose weight, this article will help you too.
While on his strict diet, we went to a friend’s house warming party and the food was incredible. They really went all out with a variety of gourmet cheeses and crackers, crab salad, jumbo shrimp, meatballs, a selection of wonderful fresh breads, gourmet cookies and so much more. And sadly all my sweetie could eat was his cooked rice, bananas, applesauce and yogurt that we brought with us in Tupperware containers. He pleaded with me, “Can’t I just have a little bit of all the other wonderful foods?” Jokingly I said, “Eat as much of it as you like as long as you don’t swallow it.” He said, “Really???” And so what he did was put the foods in his mouth to taste it, chewed it a few times and then spit it out into a napkin. I know that sounds disgusting, but he was very discreet and it allowed him to enjoy the taste without suffering the painful consequences. When people go to a wine tasting, they swish the wine in their mouths and spit it out openly into a bucket so how can what he did be so bad? The taste and spit strategy allowed him to have the satisfaction of the taste without the added calories and more importantly in his case the pain and negative consequences of his illness. I must say he’s looking a bit trimmer this past week than prior to his illness.
Now that he’s getting better, we’re slowly introducing more foods to the diet, but still avoiding dairy and sugar and keeping things really simple as in no spices and very little fat, if any. The strange thing is that the grilled chicken with no sauce or seasonings actually tasted really good. Last night we baked fish in the oven coated with egg and breadcrumbs, that’s it. You know what? It was really good. Neither of us missed the usual seasonings and sauces that we’d normally put all over our food. Not only was it good, but we were actually satisfied with a smaller portion. I’m not suggesting that you start eating all your food without seasonings and sauces, I’m just suggesting that so much of how we eat or how we think our foods ‘should’ be eaten is simply a matter of habit. He also tried some salad but with no dressing to avoid the fat. He said he didn’t mind it at all and that it was nowhere as bad as he thought it would be. He said he would even do it again when he’s not on the BRATTY diet for when there may be a lot of excess fat in other parts of the meal. As for his tea, he’d normally take sugar, but recently switched from sugar to honey. With the BRATTY diet, he couldn’t even add honey so he had to drink it straight. He was astounded at how good it tasted to him without the honey. For years he always added a lot of sugar because that was his habit. He never thought he could enjoy his tea without any sweetener and get used to it in such a short time.
Taking this all to heart, I went to a business luncheon yesterday and had the chicken in a cream sauce, steamed vegetables, a bun and salad. Since the sauce was somewhat creamy, I opted to have no butter on the bun and no dressing on the salad like I normally would so as to compensate for the creamy sauce that I chose to partake in on my chicken. I didn’t miss the butter or dressing one bit. All this to say is that the choices we make in our food, how we eat and the portion sizes are so much a matter of habit.
I encourage you to look at your habits. Look at what you eat and why you eat it in the way you do. Do you really have to add all that salt, butter, mayo, sugar and sauces to your foods? Do you really have to order dessert with your meal? Do you really have to have that extra glass of wine or beer and that before bedtime treat? Do you really have to have all that extra cheese on your pizza? Do one thing slightly different today and see how it goes. A little less salt on your food, a little less sugar in your coffee or tea, a little less butter on your roll, a little less cheese on your pizza. Or maybe one less cookie or handful of chips. Focus on one thing and let me know if you have a success.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know the changes you’re making, how it felt and if you think you could do it again. How much of a difference did it really make? Was it so bad that you would never do it again? If you have habits you want to change, whether in your eating habits or otherwise, just pay attention and do one thing differently that you can feel proud of at the end of the day.