Relearning Tastes

Probably the hardest thing to do when changing how you eat is to learn to change tastes. Taste is a learned behavior. Think about it; some people can eat things that make you gag while you do the same. Consider raw oysters. With a heritage from New Orleans, oysters should be something I can understand. But I’ve never developed a taste for anything raw that used to be alive and walking. The distinction is made because raw veggies are totally one of my greatest joys. But raw slimy oysters are something I don’t think I’ll ever willingly eat. That goes along with other raw meats or fish. However, I certainly respect that some people adore these foods. That’s what diversity is all about. It also illustrates my point that tastes are learned behaviors.

Here are some of the tastes I have the most struggles with as I change my consumption patterns.

1. Coffee. What I miss is the rich, full taste of coffee. However, after the experience of the withdrawal the desire has definitely diminished. Will I ever enjoy it as much again? Probably not because of what I know it did to my body. Something with that powerful of a hold on my life has no place in it. Instead, I have a new box of Oolong tea on my kitchen counter that I’m going to try. I can tell there’s a fear of caffeine addiction. I was informed by the nutritionist at the health food store that one cup of caffeinated herb tea has about 30 mg. of caffeine compared to 150 mg. in one cup of coffee. That’s a lot to consume.

2. Chai Tea. I also miss chai tea. That’s because the brands I use have a lot of sugar and I don’t want to get back on so much is that white sugar. Unfortunately, artificial white sugar is found in almost all prepared foods in the US. That is a taste that a lot of people are developing and small children are bribed with a sweet taste. That’s a taste that needs to be unlearned. I’m sure I can find a way to enjoy a god tea without having to aldd any sugar. A splash of soymilk could do the trick.

3. Fried Fish. Living on the Central Coast makes fish and chips a normal meal. You get spoiled having fish straight off the fishing boats to eat along with freshly fried garlic fries. A new thing is sweet potato fries too. This fried meal is probably the most difficult thing to change at this time, but my health dictates that move. I have been working on some good recipes for oven baked fried foods that have the same crispy, crunchy tastes and flavor without any of the calories and fats. Even though I use olive oil for frying my food, that’s not the best thing for me either. I’m going to perfect the oven baked recipe and share it with you.

4. Fries. I have to go back to the fries. The classic French fry is one of my favorite comfort foods. Why I don’t really know whey I can easily eat a baked potato and be happy. I think I just enjoy fried foods. The reason is that I only trusted fried foods in restaurants for a long time. I felt that nothing could be “messed” with and that the food was well cooked. So I would eat fried foods when out. Plus, my comfort food is crunchy. Therefore, the other hard potato is of course the potato chip or other fried snack such as Cheetos. Baking fries is an option. Also, using Jicama, a root vegetable often found in Mexican foods. It’s sweet with a character like potato. I’m going to work on substituting this vegetable for the potato and fries.

5. Oatmeal cookies. I am a true Cookie Monster with no excuses. Give me a bag of cookies and it is impossible for me to eat just one. I can eat fewer potatoes than cookies and oatmeal raisons are my favorites. I like the crispy one of course. Crunch again; comfort food for me. Another difficult to resist cookie is the shortbread. Not all shortbread cookies are good. The really buttery ones that are flaky and light are the best. I love Pecan Sandies; can eat the whole bag unfortunately. .

6. Good Cake. I have to emphasize, the “good” with the cake. There’s nothing like a light, fluffy cake that makes you feel like you’re to really cheating on your calories. The other is a just sweet enough and very dense, perfect pound cake. My favorite cake is a great carrot cake. I used to be a carrot cake queen in college and kept cake baked and on my table in my college apartment. Anyone could come by and get a hunk of cake. Of course there was the great crème cheese icing too, all home made from scratch. There was nothing like it. I have to find that recipe. I’m grateful for places that sell one slice of cake instead of making you buy the whole thing. I found only one place in Los Angeles that has the perfect red velvet cake. I’ll also work on that recipe. The question is can you really create a real low-fat cake without losing the texture and taste? I’ll let you know.

I’m sure I’ll think of several more foods as soon as I sign off. That will have to be another post.

Day 7 – Coffee Detox and Cleanse

CI can hardly believe a week has passed since I decided to make a drastic change in my life. Finally, I’m reaching the goals I’ve always wanted to reach by just saying “Yes” to my desire to be healthier and to help other reach their desires to be healthier.

Today, Day 7, I finally, finally, have relief in this coffee detox experience. My body is “sore” as if I’ve been on a long climb that used every muscle. But for the internal pain, it’s essentially gone. I guess it was so bad that this relief is something that I am just thrilled to experience now.

I still realize that I’m a bit dehydrated. I always thought I was drinking a lot of water, but now I realize that the caffeine masked a lot of dehydration in the body. That certainly had a lot to do with the cramps. Also, I’m going to look for a high quality vitamin mineral supplement. Magnesium, calcium and zinc are three essential minerals that are depleted with high level caffeine intake.

As for the Raw Foods Cleanse, I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed going through that process too. I don’t think I’ll go completely raw in my life but I’m definitely adding more raw foods to my diet on a regular basis. I’ve learned that it’s possible to exist with uncooked foods and feel satisfied. I missed hot foods. I know that foods can be heated to around 140 degrees without destroying their enzymes and all. But I really enjoy really hot foods; probably from my Peace Corps years in Africa where hot foods were all I knew.

Either way, my intention is to stay more vegetarian in my diet. I don’t think this is best for everyone.

In fact, I have a client at this time that is studying to be a Personal Trainer and he is very interested in a high protein, meat based diet. Every body requires a different diet. That’s the point of working with a professionally trained nutrition and health counselor. I certainly would love to be your health counselor and will continue to let you in my adventure this year as I become healthier.

Day 6 Coffee Detox – Evening

Since it’s July 3rd, my husband and I went to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch this afternoon. I choose to break the cleanse and ordered a roasted vegetable sandwich on Fortini bread with sweet potato fries. Probably should have ordered a simple salad but the food was getting boring to me with just veggies and fruits and nothing else. I miss various tastes. Still I realize that the best health comes with no fried foods and sweet potato fries are not the best to have. The common idea at this time is that sweet potato fries are healthier than regular fries, but oil is oil.

Before leaving I tried to find a raw food or vegetarian reswtaurant in the area. Being along the coast I was surprised to not find a lot of choices. Guess I never looked before. It was surprising to me that the choices weren’t much more than deli’s, Thai restaurants or other sandwich shops with vegeatable sandwich choices. It made me wonder how people that eat raw or strictly vegan or vegetarian ennjoy a family meal out in th earea? Do they have to bring their own foods?

The coffee temptation wasn’t too much fortunately. I usually get coffee at this restaurant for lunch. After my week of detoxing from coffee, there was no temptation. I skipped it without a second thought and stuck with water.

Fortunately, the fries were shared so I didn’t eat all of them. I also removed about 90% of the bread from the sandwich, eating it with a fork. I just wanted to get the fresh basil sauce from the bread which was actually quite delicious. The sandwich was simple; portabello mushroom, tomato, pesto sauce, roasted on the bread. It was good.

We usually go for a long walk along the shoreline after eating but neither of us was feeling up to it today so we just drove along the shore and came home. Something about the ocean is always refreshing and stress relieving. My legs are sore this evening but I’m praying the cramping is gone. It really hits when I try to rest so I’ll find out in a little while. So far today has been much better. I’m having hope.

It’s been a good day. I think the worse is over – I’ll let you know.

Day 6 Coffee Detox

Woke up this morning feeling a bit better. Some cramping was still there. The chills came and went yesterday by the way which I forgot to mention. Right now at 11:00 a.m. on day 6, my legs are still sore but feeling better. Mentally and emotionally, I need some relief from the pain.

I’m going to drink water like crazy today. I cleaned the water filter yesterday. I had put lemon in the tank but found they get rather funky. So don’t take that step, just add lemon to the glass of water instead.

Today is also day 6 of my raw food cleanse. That’s going pretty well. I have to admit that I cheated a bit on that. I started putting some raw cashews in my veggie salad about two days ago which set up eating the raw cashews. I guess I’m just really feeling hungry at times. Last night for dinner I fixed a piece of salmon for my husband and had a small piece in my veggie salad. Adding that small piece of protein probably wasn’t too bad.

Overall I’m really pleased with the cleanse and detox. I feel much lighter in one week and it’s obvious that some weight is coming off. That is a great reward for this “jump-start” program. No doubt I’ll keep going on that. I doubt that I’ll go back to coffee after this, even for a small amount. It just doesn’t seem worth it right now; I’ll see how I feel afterwards.

Getting through today will be the problem. It’s the 4th of July holiday weekend so I expect my husband will want to go do something. I’m usually the one talking about getting bar-b-que ribs. I can’t see doing that after a week of raw foods without tearing up my stomach. But I might fall for a bit of fish.

Everything on the coast will be fish and chips I know. We leave by the Pacfific Ocean where the smaller towns always have some type of festival or something on holidays. It’s really a fun thing to enjoy.

I still need to get my green smoothie for the day. That’s a part of this adventure that’s going very well and I’ll start letting you know about that soon.

Day 5 – Coffee Detox

Yesterday, Friday, was Day 5 of the detox. I was too busy then too tired to write even though I lay in bed thinking about getting up to make at least this one post. The leg cramps really got to me yesterday. One reason was that I had a business meeting all morning; was out of the house by 9:00 and got back around 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

The meeting was to scout out a new place for an event so it involved a lot of walking up and down stairs, hills, and on trails. The place is gorgeous and will make a lovely setting for a health retreat. I drank a fabulous herb tea from Africa and sipped water all morning.

I was famished on the way home but that was my fault for not thinking ahead to bring some fruit or a veggie mix to munch on until I got to really eat.

But the leg cramps set in as soon as I got home. They were so bad I was almost crying by 2:00. I did some extra research because of course, the mind starts to go crazy thinking there’s all type of diseases going on in the body at this point. What I learned was essential.

A large dose of caffeine can affect various minerals in the body. I knew about the calcium but learned that potassium and magnesium are also affected. It also has a dehydrating effect. So my legs were probably suffering from a lack of essential minerals and possibly dehydration. I did notice that although I’ve been drinking water like an empty lake I’m always thirsty.

So it’s possible my body is regulating the water needs that I never noticed before. I have a wonderful health drink called “Calm.” It’s a shot of magnesium in powder form. I put it in a cup of hot water and drank a cup of that like tea. The only bad thing is that it contained stevia, a natural sweetener but another trigger for a headache! I took two Aleve and tried to rest. That helped for a while.

So this leads to the theory that the minerals are depleted in some areas of my body as well as a problem of dehydration which causes cramping. I drank water for the rest of the day and tried to rest.

By night time, the legs cramps were back so much I had to get out of bed and took another Aleve and drink another huge glass of water. I hate admitting I took so many tablets but I never expected to hurt getting off my levels of coffee consumption. If I had to do it again, I would probably get off coffee slower instead of cold turkey. I was trying to do raw foods cleanse and cold turkey coffee in the same week. That’s a real shock to the system. My way of doing this is to just make up my mind and get something done rather than piece-mealing it. That’s why I’m doing the cold turkey thing.

My coffee habit was so severe it really is drastic to get off. Your consumption levels might not be as severe as mine so take a detox problem in a personal way. I am going to develop pa program to start assisting others with this process as it will lead to so many other health benefits too.