Part of my journey to finding recovery from food addiction is to follow the 12-step model, which includes both following a food plan and identifying ‘triggers,’ or foods that cause an addict to overeat, or binge.
So after doing some research, I’ve found a food plan that’s working for me so far- it’s a combination of ‘eat fat, get thin,’ and ‘healing your gut’. It makes the most sense to me, because I’ve learned from experience and from those nutrition classes I took in culinary school that fat is more satiating and filling than a lean, or a low-fat diet, but I’m focusing on good fats and also incorporating fermented foods into my diet at every meal as well, in order to heal my gut. I believe that my digestive system is very off-balance, and that’s part of what’s causing some of my health issues, from making my autoimmune thyroid disease flare up to allergies, and more. Note- None of this has yet been confirmed by a doctor; it’s just my own ‘gut instinct,’ pun intended, and research. I’m still seeking an alternative healthcare provider, who can help me put the pieces of this puzzle together. So far, I’m enjoying this eating plan, plus, a lot of fermented foods are enjoyable to me, so I’m more likely to stick to eating food which is more healing than harmful. I’ll see what a nutritionist and my sponsor have to say about it, once I find them!
The idea of incorporating fermented foods into my daily diet appeals to me. For instance, I love olives, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi. I can’t get enough of the stuff, really, so following a food plan that embraces these foods works for me. Yogurt is something I am learning to love as well, especially combined with savory herbs and/or fruit. Frozen kefir is one of the greatest alternatives to frozen yogurt I’ve found. Fro-yo usually has way too much sugar to be really beneficial, and sugar is a trigger for addiction, especially for someone like me, who’s prone to binge eating. Frozen kefir is low-sugar, and delicious in combination with fresh fruit and coconut- yum! It’s satisfying and has health benefits- it’s a win-win.
Obviously, cheese has a lot of ‘bad fat’ in it, but because eating it correlates with both eating plans, for the moment I am going to try it balanced with other fermented foods, lots of veggies and a minimal amount of as much whole, unprocessed foods as possible. I am starting to believe after researching this topic for some time that food additives are triggering my addiction as much as the childhood trauma I experienced; I think there’s a connection- I just need to prove it, not for scientific purposes, but for my own peace of mind and healing process.
I’m not going to obsess over it (yeah, I do that too,) but I do believe that knowledge is power- I believe that the toxic chemicals in our atmosphere and in our food are making me sick. The dis-ease of trauma that’s been handed down over generations has certainly been the catalyst, or tipping point which led to the health issues and addiction (one and the same; it’s all tied in together, I believe), but I believe that food can be either medicine or poison, and part of healing my body, mind and spirit will involve choosing medicinal foods over addictive substances. It’s a fact, widely reported, that sugar is twice as addictive as crack cocaine, for example, and I believe that the crap that’s put into processed food is done so with the aim of enabling addiction, thus leading to buying more of the same junk.
It’s pretty screwed up when you think about it, but that’s how the food industry works, isn’t it? So my best defense as a recovering food addict is to stay the hell away from processed food as much as possible. Now, you can argue that most cured meats are processed; this is true. However, for now, the health benefits outweigh the potential risks. And they make it feel a lot less like a ‘diet,’ and more like an eating plan I can live with. We’ll see if it leads to weight loss in future. I hope so! As I get older, I get more and more concerned about my weight, though I have also been working on healing my self-image, to accept every part of me, the fact remains that my body was not designed to carry more than a little extra weight. That’s just the reality of the situation, yet all of my previous efforts to lose weight haven’t worked long-term, so I’m trying to heal the underlying problem first, and then focusing on finding a way to lose this weight that is sustainable for me. You wouldn’t expect someone who’s just gotten out of the hospital for alcohol poisoning to suddenly run a marathon, would you? That’s a rather extreme analogy, but putting it in those terms helps me not beat myself up for taking baby-steps along the way here. Undertaking a system of trial and error, and taking each step forward is the way to go for me.
Obviously, I’m talking about food a lot, and that may be a cause for concern too, right? But I assure you, dear reader, I am past the worst of the ‘crazy-making,’ obsessive part of my addiction, where you could be talking to me and you could cue a cartoon-style graphic, where your head would start to look like a cheese sandwich, because I could do nothing but think of food, 24/7. Thankfully, that part of recovery and abstinence is over…for now. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, all I can do is focus on today.
The next phase of this journey is finding what other things make me happy and bring me comfort besides eating. Stay tuned!
“This will be a wonderful song, which our bodies will sing-” this was a quote from an unknown stranger, via email. I thought it sounded good, and was pretty relevant, though the content was a little more risqué than this blog post! But it reminds me of my ultimate goal- to ‘sing a song’ of joy, good health and a long life. After everything I have overcome in this life thus far, it will be the greatest gift that I can possibly give to myself.
**Disclaimer** I am writing about my journey, and about what is working for me, to date. I am not endorsing any particular diet (those don’t work, anyway, in my experience) or eating plan- I’m just sharing information, and providing hyperlinks in case my readers would like to learn more about the eating plans I am referring to. I accept no responsibility for the efficacy or safety/health risks of any eating plan. It’s always a wise idea to consult with a nutritionist or doctor before trying a new eating plan.