I'll admit it. My diet isn't the greatest. I eat out more than I should and tend to buy more processed food because it's cheaper or more convenient. I drink a lot of coffee and not enough water. I've been able to sustain my current weight and even lose a little while eating like this but it's not as healthy as it could be.
Lately, I've been getting sick, and have had two doctors identify it as an autoimmune disease, which one they have not yet diagnosed. Instead, they suggested I change my eating habits and come back in a few weeks for more testing. Maybe I'll have a little more energy and have less pain. It can't hurt to eat more healthy, so why not?
I laid out a few rules for myself.
First, as my doctor recommended I would cut out caffeine. Instead, I would drink water, and water only. I downloaded the Plant Nanny app and started carrying around a 32-ounce water bottle.
Next, I found a meal plan that I would follow but allowed myself to switch out ingredients for other I preferred. I chose the Goodful 2 Week Healthy Eating Challenge to help me stay on track.
First off, the caffeine withdrawal was intense. I always started my day with a cup of coffee and usually got another cup of iced coffee or a latte by the afternoon. I got awful cluster headaches during the withdrawal.
My head hurt so bad I almost couldn't drive. That day I was exhausted. After day four with no coffee, I stopped getting those cluster headaches but still missed the ritual of drinking a cup before going out and starting my day. I replaced it with drinking a glass of water but it just wasn't the same.
Sunday night I went grocery shopping. The grocery list I made was supposed to last two weeks and I ended up with three large totes worth of food. I spent about 70 dollars on food, which is much more than I usually would. However, since I was starting from scratch it made sense.
Hopefully, I'll save money by not eating out and buying lattes from Starbucks.
On day one, the caffeine headaches finally began to subside and I was able to wake up without a hitch. I didn't feel extra tired at all, which was nice. For lunch, I made a sweet potato and chicken salad with a homemade vinaigrette.
Unfortunately, the vinaigrette called for way too much vinegar and I ended up dumping it down the drain and using some store-bought dressing. Regardless the salad was really good and kept me full so it will definitely stay in my rotation.
Once again for dinner, I had problems with seasoning. I used too much lemon juice so the entire plate tasted like a raw lemon. I was enjoying cooking when I had time, but planning out my life days in advance was adding to the stress of a new semester.
Until day five, I had gone without caffeine. Then, I was at work an exhausted with five hours left to go. I grabbed a macchiato with blonde espresso (aka, EXTRA caffeine) to get me through the day. I really missed it, and I really liked the new espresso that I wasn't supposed to drink.
So far, cooking all of my meals were going fine, but it was getting hard to find new recipes. I'm a picky eater, what can I say?
As the semester went from syllabus week to non-stop stress I fell quickly off the meal planning wagon. Even when I had the time I was recycling the same two recipes because I had them down by heart and knew I could get them done in what little time I had. When I couldn't pack my meals I bought salads to stay true to my diet, but they weren't as good as when I made them.
I had caffeine again... and it was bad. I had a latte with blonde espresso from Starbucks and about a half hour after finishing it I felt like I was buzzing. I was on a different astral plane and I wanted OFF. That's what I get for drinking caffeine when I shouldn't.
At this point, I was supposed to have gone through all 14 days of the meals and tbh I only ate like four days worth. The spaghetti squash I bought had mold on it which spread to a lot of the other products so I ended up throwing a lot in the trash. I had coffee one more time, but only having three drinks in two weeks wasn't too bad compared to sometimes three per day.
Changing my diet didn't magically fix my life or make me feel better. It will take much longer to feel any noticeable effects. That said, eating healthier will be better for me regardless of any disease I have.
Once I got through the withdrawal, living life without coffee was (mostly) manageable. I definitely had my slip ups but I don't miss all the time spent brewing a cup every morning. Everything is okay in moderation.
The amount of water I was supposed to drink was intense. I failed at it most days, especially if I couldn't keep my water bottle with me. When I didn't drink as much I got headaches, even when I was drinking more water than I had been.
Meal planning is no joke. Your heart really has to be in it, and mine was not! I enjoy cooking, but thinking days ahead was just too much for my unpredictable schedule. I will definitely be keeping some of the meals in rotation, but I have to be realistic.
Why did I think I would have time to make "noodles" out of a spaghetti squash?
I am not that girl.