Our dietary lifestyle has evolved drastically over the past 10 years. Just a few months after Ayden was born, we took it several steps further with a Paleo inspired healing diet for David's auto immune disease. I joined David on this journey for several reasons. 1) I had heard about Paleo and was intrigued to see how my body would change/perform and, of course, wanted all of the amazing health benefits. 2) I had tried the South Beach Diet in the past and liked how my body looked without grains in my diet. I knew it would help me lose any lingering baby weight and would make me feel great! 3) The most important reason of all, I knew this was going to be a difficult journey for David and that he'd need more than mere support. I knew in order to be successful with his goals that he'd need a buddy. Someone who was being just as strict about food. He is more important than any food could ever be and I was happy to sacrifice foods that weren't good for me in the first place to help set him up for success. He's had ups and downs in progress with his disease but with all of the changes and choices we've made he didn't feel right paying as much as we were in supplements each month. We decided to move from the healing diet (which involved even more restrictions than Paleo alone) to plain old Paleo (yay for eggs and almond meal!)
With that decision came a bit of wiggle room and we finally loosened the reins on how strict we are. Here are our new guidelines:
- only Paleo approved items kept in the house (except for my hummus, peanut butter that I have personally added back in for snacking) and of course the dark chocolate that we never gave up which has a small amount of refined sugar in it.
- allow a monthly "cheat" night where we can eat however much of whatever we want. Ayden will someday be included whenever he becomes aware that there are other options. We won't rush him into eating sweets but won't keep him from them completely once he discovers them. We want food to be a non-issue and want to arm him with knowledge and tools for when he is ready to make his own decisions. We understand that sheltering and withholding experiences is no way to provide knowledge and tools.
- Continue trusting and listening to our bodies. If we have digestion or energy issues after consuming certain foods, we take note and limit those foods in the future. The goal is to tailer a diet specifically for our individual bodies. My body handles beans and lots of eggs just find whereas David can't go too crazy with them without some discomfort.
We had our 3rd cheat night last night. The first was pizza and cupcakes for our birthdays and the second was Thai food for our anniversary. Last night was dinner at a local Indian restaurant (hello chicken tikka masala and garlic naan!) and dessert at a book store cafe.
This is working so well for us! We rarely felt deprived before bcause we totally subscribe to the long term benefits of a healthy lifestyle. We also truly believe it has to be a lifestyle. A way of living all the time, even on special occasions. That being said, we did grow up on the standard American diet and have foods from our childhoods that we miss sometimes and we can't argue that the creaminess of cheese or the sweetness of pie aren't delicious. A once-a-month cheat day is just enough to still enjoy our favorite foods from our pasts while not spiraling out of control as we both typically do. When we see a food that brings us back to our childhoods or makes our mouths water, instead of having it on the spot, we take note of it for a potential cheat day indulgence. Then we go on a monthly date where we eat those foods and it makes the indulgence even more fun and special.
We are thinking that next month will be Mexican for dinner. We haven't picked dessert yet... What's your favorite sweet indulgence?