I’m back baby! Back to report on a thing that actually began back on Day 108, Saturday. That was the day I decided to eat and drink nothing but actual food. (I think torturing myself with junk food deprivation was some kind of literary penance for not writing anything for almost a month.)
“Eating clean” they call it. I don’t really like using that term – like a lot of fitness industry buzzwords, it’s a bullshit made up term that means whatever someone wants it to mean (if you don’t believe me, try Googling it and see how many different definitions you find). So for my own purposes, it just meant eating actual food. Real food and nothing else. No junk, no Coke, nothing in a packet with added sugar, salt and artificial whatevers. Real food. Sounds simple, but for someone who has been subsisting on largely Coke and chocolate since Easter, let alone the general pre-packaged-ness of the everyday modern diet, not the easiest of tasks.
More than anything else it was just…horrifically inconvenient. I know there are people out there who do eat clean or follow Paleo all the time, and honestly my hats are off to you because it must take a gargantuan effort to completely eliminate processed food and additives from your diet without spending every minute of the day shopping and cooking. It’s not news to anyone at this point, but there’s additives in EVERYTHING. To go super strict I couldn’t go in for things like canned vegetables, or cheese; basically anything packaged will have something in it. I can’t imagine the hassle of trying to live like that. I’d starve. But for a 24 hour experiment, it was a fun little exercise. I love grocery shopping, so I had a tremendous amount of fun going to the market, picking out produce and coming up with meals made out of pure food, and then spending the rest of my day in the kitchen cooking said meals. It helps that I now feel confident enough in the kitchen to feel my way around ingredients and recipes without setting the house on fire. Along with cleaning, organising and shopping I now enjoy cooking and my transformation into Martha Stewart is complete.
I lasted on my strictly clean diet until Sunday afternoon, when my caffeine withdrawal symptoms inconveniently sprung up right in the middle of my football game: nausea, muscle weakness and a splitting headache. Because playing football isn’t hard enough! We had Maccas after the game and I was back on the Coke by Sunday night, and the spell was broken. BUT that isn’t the end of the story. I may not be eating completely “cleanly” but I’m still eating real food as much as I can, which I guess was the point in the first place. I’m cooking dinners, I’m taking lunch to work, I’m having proper breakfasts, and I’m eating fruit and drinking juice. It’s now Tuesday night and I’ve only had four cans of Coke since Friday. I normally have four in one day.
Like I said last month in Day 75: Life’s Too Short To Eat Quinoa, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t eat what I like. Just like I’m not going to waste my time forcing down “healthy” but unpalatable food, I’m not going to waste my time scrutinising food labels trying to eliminate every additive and artificial product from my diet. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But I am going to try to eat real food, cook meals and drink water as much as I can. Real food is good man…it tastes good and always makes me feel better for having eaten it. Most of the time I feel like crap when I eat fast food. It tastes good in the moment, and then afterwards I feel like crap and regret everything. Not that this stops me from eating fast food, of course. It’s cheap, convenient as hell when I’m out working, and tastes really good for those precious first moments. But real food always goes down better. The oatmeal with strawberries you can see in this post’s feature image is just delicious, and so much better than eating cereal out of a box. Lunches and dinners cooked with real ingredients is so much more flavourful and satisfying than eating fast food. I’ve been making batches of ANZAC biscuits with basically the same recipe as they used during WW1, and they’re the bomb. Real food will do it every time. So I’m resolved to eat as much of it as possible. Life is too short not to.
I like it when these little one-day adventures that I try out for this blog give me something that I can take with me going forward. And I promise, I am back on the horse again. Without going into details or excusing my lethargy, a lot of personal things left me with no time or energy to write for a while now. But no more. Onward march!