What?! C is not a mama. He's not even a woman. The idea of a male, non-mom doing a guest post at Mama Flock is just craziness.
But here's the thing, this is my blog and he's an important part of my life, so I'll allow it. I think you'll be glad I did. If we encourage him, maybe he'll do more guest posts down the line. His way of telling kid stories is usually funnier than my way -- I just get to experience more of them every day. But of the ones he does know about, we want him to provide guest posts now and then to keep us entertained. He also has great recipes he might let me share on here, which really put my Easy Smoothie and Simple Snack posts to great shame. One guest post at a time, I suppose.
One thing we do share in common is that we like to write very long-winded pieces. So, instead of one guest post, I'm breaking this into smaller bite-sized posts and will set them up to post here over the course of this weekend. It won't be so much, so fast that way.
Enough with my lengthy explanations ... on with the guest post!
In the past, I've tried vegetarianism (5 sad years) and South Beach (a few months) in an attempt to lose weight and be more healthy. In these "dietary diversions" I failed to maintain the diet but I came out wiser about various things including my cravings, my actual physical needs and my habits, both good and bad, dietary and otherwise.
I knew there was no way I was going to live the 30-Day Challenge requirements strictly for the rest of my life. In both the vegetarian and South Beach diversions, I set myself up with the expectation that it was going to be forever… a life long change. Yeah, well, I love cheeseburgers and donuts. So much for those plans.
On the other hand, I have been able to convert many of the lessons learned during those times as lifelong changes in habit. So for this challenge, I went in with the expectation that it truly was a 30 day challenge. It would end. Cheeseburgers would return. My goal was not immediate lifetime conversion. Instead, I set the goal to understand myself better and see if I could establish some new habits that could reside permanently and comfortably in my life.
Today is the end of the 30 days. Here's what I've learned....
1. I can live without Diet Pepsi.
I switched off of sugared drinks years ago under the delusion that Diet Pepsi (or Coke or whatever) with it's nutritional label full of zeroes was water-like enough. For the years since, I've heard nothing but bad press about artificial sweeteners. I have no idea what the true story there is. To my understanding, no one has died from artificial sweetener poisoning but I suppose it does make sense that our bodies aren't naturally set up to process that kind of stuff.
For the last 30 days, it's been water alone. This has produced many positive effects. First, our eating-out bill is reduced. A beverage at a restaurant is often around $2.25 per person. Next, I do not stalk the "4 for $9" sales on 12-packs at the grocery store like I used to nor do I maintain stockpiles of 12-packs in our garage fridge. I do not have to run to the grocery store because we're out of soda. When I think about how much time and money I spent maintaining a habit of drinking carbonated, sweetened beverages, it seems silly. It's rehydration. Why I had I put such a value on that specific kind of hydration? I can't explain it.
On the other hand, water does get kind of boring after a while. I have found sparkling water which contains nothing but water and carbon dioxide to be a very pleasant occasional change of pace. Some foods just go better with bubbles. I had a taco salad today for lunch and I chased it down with a 65 cent can of sparkling water. I can honestly say, and I can barely believe I'm saying this, that it was equally as satisfying as anything I remember Diet Pepsi being.
2. I can live (mostly) without dairy
I love stinky cheese. The upside to stinky cheese is that I don't need a lot of it. A few crumbles of Maytag blue cheese turns a salad into a meal. The same goes for feta, goat cheese, superbly aged hard cheeses and anything in that "slightly gnarly" category. The upside to those cheeses is they typically have low milk sugar. After all, the bacteria creating that gnarliness had to eat something, right? Right. So even though Paleo says no dairy, I'm standing by stinky cheeses.
What I can set aside without any issue at all is the fresh dairy stuff. Milk, ice cream, cream sauces, dairy-based toppings and desserts. To be honest, I think most of these had been giving me stomach issue for years anyhow so it's with a slight bit of relief that I say goodbye to consumption of this category of foods. Why would humans need to drink the milk of other animals anyhow? Think about it.