An Acupuncturist's 2 1/2 month experiment: Don't try this at home!

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An Acupuncturist's 2 1/2 month experiment: Don't try this at home!

6/2010

This spring, an interesting and unlikely event occurred…yours truly conducted a spontaneous and unplanned study in which I ate worse than I’ve eaten since I moved out of my childhood home after high school.

I ate more pints of Ben & Jerry’s in those short 10 weeks than I had in the last 10 years combined.  I ate more home-popped popcorn for dinner than any person needs to eat in a year.  (OK so it WAS organic…) I barely cooked at all, I ate burritos and “health” bars, and had less servings of vegetables in a whole week than I usually do in a day.

While I felt like I was kind of just sitting back helplessly watching this whole strange thing unfold, luckily I was able to find the humor in this. Because I knew that based on the past – when I have done shorter and less severe versions of this experiment – it would last only until I started feeling scrappy enought that I would finally lose all desire for the junk and go effortlessly back to my normal habits.

…and BOY did I start to feel crappy……and I mean CRAPPY!

Symptoms:

I decided to document the symptoms I started having around week 5 of eating crappy, so that I could use them as a teaching example for all of us. 

They are as follows: 

  • Chronic sinus congestion upon waking
  • puffy eyes
  • low grade headaches
  • insomnia or restless sleep
  • spongy/inflamed muscles
  • painful ligaments
  • low energy
  • lack of motivation
  • and best of all…just under a 10 pound weight gain!

Unbelievable!

Last week, when I’d finally felt bad enough for long enough, I just suddenly got tired of it and shifted right back to my typical foods.

Within 2 days of eating normal again, all my symptoms were gone. 

Luckily, I have a strong enough foundation of balance that my body knew exactly what to do once it was given balancing foods again.

But how could this possibly have happened to your Fearless Leader In The Realm Of Whole Food Eating!?!

Did a junk-food zombie come and invade my body and force Coffee Heath Bar Crunch down my throat as I helplessly struggled to insert steamed broccoli into my mouth? 

Well, not really…

It happened one innocent night when I was invited into the basement of a coupon-cutting, bargain bulk shopping friend of mine.  There, I was suddenly surrounded by boxes and cans of every kind of processed “food” imaginable.

His affectionately termed “bomb shelter” looked like it was donated by the Processed Food Association of America. Enough cereal boxes to stock a small convenience store lined a long top shelf; Apple Jacks, Cookie Crunch, and many other barely remembered names from my childhood stood infantry style in a row, menacingly peering down at me ready to go into battle should the apocalypse hit. 

And in the freezer, Mint Chip ice cream – which I eat maybe once every several years but is my favorite!!! – was waiting anxiously for its turn in the ice cream bowl.

And before I knew it one thing led to another. What started with one cup of ice cream ended up as a habit of too many nights being uninspired to cook, and having yet another heaping bowl of popcorn for dinner…or driving to the store to buy yet another pint of good old B&Js.  Not to mention the final blow of a bowl of Apple Jacks at said friend’s house 2 1/2 months later.

Wait a minute…Apple Jacks!?! I haven’t eaten sweet cereals since HIGH SCHOOL!
 
That’s when I knew I’d sunk to a whole new low…  Something was seriously, clearly WAY out of balance.
 

Getting back to balance

Luckily, acupuncture, herbs, and healthy eating has taught me what “balance” feels like, so the difference was so startling I could not ignore it.
 
Nowadays I’m back to my morning veggie scramble and the aroma of chicken, onions, and spices cooking in my slow-cooker to be refrigerated and added to chilled quinoa and chopped crunchy veggies for a wonderful cool summer salad filled with protein, vitamins, and antioxidants.
 
But I received a powerful personal reminder of how important diet is in our feeling good.
 

So I implore you…next time you get into one of those ruts and feel helpless in slipping out of it, think about how GOOD you feel when you eat the foods that are right for you.

And if it’s been so long since you’ve eaten well that you can’t even imagine how different you could possibly feel…BELIEVE ME…you WILL FEEL AMAZING!  You will be filled with a vibrancy and grounded stable energy that is beyond your comprehension now.

If even I can go off the wagon and slip into unhealthy habits, then that means we all can do it.  It’s OK…just get right back on and move forward, and be proud that you’re once again taking care of yourself. Put your focus on how good you feel rather than on your choices of the past.

(Sorry Ben & Jerry’s…no more profit off lil’ ol’ me for a long, long while…)