Change is hard – whirls you out of your comfort zone. If you had asked me a month ago if I could survive without half and half in my morning coffee, I would have gasped. My motto has typically been “everything in moderation”; which allowed me to indulge in the French pastry, gelato con panna, delicious cheese or berries with cream when the situation merited. Alas no more. I took my self off dairy two weeks ago and have found the process and results curiously gratifying and surprisingly emotional.
First of all, I was unprepared for how much it would change my diet and eating patterns. Each meal I took for granted (Greek yogurt and berries for breakfast, a salad with feta or goat cheese for lunch) had to be reconstituted. A seemingly small change had such radical consequences! I found myself at a loss for what to eat, and looked longingly at my friends at work eating yogurt with granola. What could I eat?? Eggs with salt and pepper! Oatmeal with raisins! Toast!. I’ve experimented with the above, and even cashed in on my 18 year old macrobiotic self and ate sautéed tofu and apple slices a couple of mornings. Not having dairy in my midday salad has also been hard, so my salad consumption is way down, and my hummus consumption up. I find myself eating nuts and fruit (and chocolate) for snacks, and dinner is the easiest time, with standard fare still in play.
Eating is an emotional event, and provides us with comfort, security, and a feeling of being safe. Surprisingly, I’ve observed myself letting go of my eating patterns more easily than I anticipated, and even look forward to my new diet of strange substitutions as my body adjusts to reduced fat and higher carbohydrates. But the slight sadness, and feelings of deprivation kick in before I remind myself that this ban is volitional. Though still early on in the process, I am goalless, but cautiously optimistic, as to where this dietary modification takes me. What is most surprising is how one change can have such dramatic consequences – and it makes me happy to experience the ripple effect that just one addition, or subtraction, can have. I cracked open that window, don’t always love the smell, but am partial to the light.
Oh, and the morning coffee is not a shadow of it’s former self. Sigh.