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DIET

Cindy Maddera

Michael sent me a text early last week asking me how I felt about the Keto diet. I was glad this was coming at me through text instead of face to face so he couldn’t see me roll my eyes and gag myself with my finger. This is my reaction to any fad diet or even to the word ‘diet’. So I replied by asking why he wanted to talk about this Keto diet. Things have gotten a little off the rails for him since his summer vacation started. He and the Cabbage often have fast-food lunches while they’re out and about during the day. Then there’s the snacks and the booze and he was feeling it. I suggested that we do a week long reset where we basically eat a vegan gluten-free diet without caffeine and alcohol. Surprisingly enough, he was completely on board. So we came up with a meal plan for the week and I carefully picked out recipes that are big on flavor so he wouldn’t miss stuff like cheese. And meat.

The first time I did this kind of reset, Chris and I were living in Oklahoma and I was in yoga teacher training. I did it for a week and it was the most difficult food week I have ever experienced. I did not know what I was doing. I was not a creative cook. Ingredients where hard to come by without spending a whole paycheck. Shopping took hours and hours because of all the label reading and the traveling to three different grocery stores. All of that combined with the sudden loss of the refined sugars and caffeine that I was used to made me want to punch people in their faces. This week has not been at all like that first week. There’s a few reasons for that. One is that I already mostly eat this way. When I do the grocery shopping for the week, most of groceries have to be refrigerated. Very few cans or packaged goods have to be put into the pantry. Our grocery gathering is split between two grocery stores: Trader Joe’s and Aldi. Both of these places make it really easy for me to buy unprocessed and healthy foods without breaking the bank. I ended up reading labels on a few items like enchilada sauce (contains sugar, made my own) and salsa (the Aldi Simply Nature line salsa contains sugar…don’t be fooled by branding), but most of the list consisted of fresh vegetables. You don’t have to really read those labels.

The meal plan for the week doesn’t look too different from another week except minus the cheese and maybe fish. We had quinoa stuffed portobello mushrooms with a kale salad one night and enchiladas the next. Buddha bowls are planned for one night and lintel sweet potato masala for another. Michael gets up in the morning and eats breakfast with me before he has to get the Cabbage up for summer camp. This morning we talked about making this a regular thing for at least the summer. Sunday through Thursday we’ll have vegan dinners and lunches. That gives us Friday and Saturday night to be more flexible with the meal. Maybe eat a pizza or cook a whole fish on Saturday. Try out a new restaurant. When I think about it, this is exactly how I was eating in my single times. I’d treat myself to a nice lunch out somewhere on Saturdays but mostly I was cooking at home and leaned towards the foods that made me feel good after eating them. Most of those meals were vegan.

I am surprised at how well Michael has taken to this food change. He’s missing his tea and maybe cheese right about now, but all in all he’s fine. It was even his idea to extend this change through the whole summer. I guess if I had to choose a word for this summer, a theme word, it would be ‘change’. There’s a lot of change happening around here. We’ve seen friends head off to new adventures in a new city. We’ll be seeing another friend off to a new adventure and restart to his life at the end of summer. I’ve been working really hard at believing in myself and making changes in my life to reflect that belief. It only makes sense to make some minor changes with our food. In this case, I’m making a change back to a way of life that had become normal for me at one time. It feels like slowely settling back into a beanbag chair and that doesn’t at all sound like a bad place to be.