The second of my three brothers graduated from high school this weekend and I brought the boys up so we could watch him walk across the stage and get his diploma. We've been staying with my mom and dad, and every time I eat something that I shouldn't, I can see the fear in my mom's eyes and hear her thoughts, "This isn't my fault." I told her she had better be careful this weekend or she was going to end up being the subject of her very own blog entry. I like having that leverage. But that's not the topic of this post either. I'll save it for a more opportune time. :)
Today I thought I'd talk about something that's pretty serious. It's something that lots of people struggle with in secret but are afraid to talk about in the open. It's something that has ripped families apart and brought even the most proud people to their knees.
OK. So it's not deep at all nor has it ripped families apart, but hey - for me it's a tough one to crack so I'm going to talk about it.
I. love. carbs. The bad kind. Potatoes, rice, white bread, pasta, you name it. They are cheap, filling, and taste good. Some men and women turn to chocolate or ice cream for comfort, I turn to mashed potatoes. Or should I say that I TURNED to mashed potatoes. I have been doing pretty good in my avoidance of them.
I was looking up some stuff online about carb addictions and found this on a website. I thought it was worth sharing: "Fast-burning carbohydrates—just like cocaine—give you a rush. As with blow, this rush can lead to cravings in your brain and intrusive thoughts when you go too long without a fix. But unlike cocaine, this stuff does more than rewire your neurological system. It will short-circuit your body. Your metabolism normally stockpiles energy so you can use it as fuel later. A diet flush with carbohydrates will reprogram your metabolism, locking your food away as unburnable fat. When you get hungry again you won't crave anything but more of the same food that started you down the path to dependency. Think of this stuff as more than a drug—it's like a metabolic parasite, taking over your body and feeding itself."
So what is the solution to a carb addiction? I don't think Atkins or other carb free diets are a long term, sustainable answer. I think the key is to retrain your brain, taste buds, and body to enjoy and want healthy carbs in smaller doses.
Replace your white stuff with whole grains. Bread, pasta, and rice all come in healthier forms that, once you get used to them, taste just as good if not better. Find good substitutions for old favorites. Spaghetti squash with sauce is a great replacement for angel hair spaghetti. Mashed cauliflower can serve as a quick mashed potato substitute. Try rolling sandwiches up in romaine lettuce leaves or napa cabbage instead of bread. Both zucchini and eggplant make decent substitutions for lasagna noodles. Craving pizza? Try putting your favorite pizza toppings on a portabella mushroom and baking it.
Will any of these things taste exactly like the original? No. But if you try them for a month or so, you may surprise yourself at your ability to adapt to the new textures and flavors. And your waistline will thank you as well.
Next blog post: How my mom caused all of my body image issues. ;-)