I recently took on a "clean eating" challenge which made meal planning a whole new endeavor for me. This proved challenging when creating a menu for Monday Lunch as I wanted to find something that would fit my new eating plan and be something my friends might actually enjoy. Ultimately, I rediscovered this healthy recipe.
[Find the recipe for Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup here]
Trying to find foods that fit the parameters of this eating plan was difficult for me and felt complicated. I gained a whole new appreciation for those who battle food allergies and intolerances. Reading every label, scouring the internet and cookbooks for acceptable recipes and searching multiple stores for specialty ingredients is just...a lot of work! If you are one of these people, I applaud you!
Even though I knew that a restrictive diet would go against my grain and be challenging for me I was intrigued by the idea of giving it a try. I wanted to know if I would feel better cutting out certain foods and really just wondered if I could endure giving up some of the things I love to eat.
[Interested in trying the clean eating challenge I tried? Click Here]
My fellow Trio members tried to be supportive as I rattled off the list of ingredients I could no longer eat: dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, corn, peanuts and the most painful of them all...sugar. I could almost see my dear friends rolling their eyes at me behind their supportive façade of my current whim. Monday Lunch has certainly never been about counting calories or self-deprivation so this felt strange. As we curled up on the sofa under our lap blankets after lunch the rest of the trio enjoyed sweets while I watched.
I have three girls and have never been a dieter. In fact, I have been conscience of trying to model a very healthy relationship with food for my girls. We love our treats but certainly know the difference between things we eat just because they taste yummy and real nutrition. Three weeks into my clean eating sweep, I heard my 12 year old telling her friend all about "my mom's new diet."
That was it, I was done.
I was not looking at this eating challenge as a "diet" but in that moment it became clear my daughter was and that just felt wrong for me. I also realized that she was right. The fact was I had been indulging a bit too freely as of late (we'd recently enjoyed a cruise...and by enjoyed I mean taken full advantage of the buffets, slushy drinks and sit-down dinners where they serve you not only what you order but also a few bonus dishes).
I was feeling frumpy and frankly thought it would be pretty nifty to find a magic formula to shed a few pounds. That sounds an awful lot like going on a "diet", which wasn't actually what I needed. What I needed was to get back to my usual ways. Leave vacation mode and return to my everyday habits. No excessive over-indulgences and, as it turns out, no excessive restrictions. That's the formula that works for me.
Maybe we all feel the need to do something that goes against our nature now and then. Sometimes we are trying to prove something to ourselves or to someone else. Going out of our comfort zone can be good for us, it can help us grow and discover new things about ourselves. Other times, these wanderings away from our authentic selves serve as a nice reminder of who we really are. In the end, it usually feels comforting to slip back into our old ways...kind of like a warm bowl of soup on a cold day.
The Simplicity Buff