What I did for love.
Or for better health anyway.
Time flies when you’re having fun (or just getting old), and so I’m looking toward (note that I don’t use the word forward) April and no refined grains.
I’ve got months coming up that are going to be obnoxious (25g of fiber, no calories from drinks, for example), but this is the one I’ve been dreading all along. And the more I think about it, the more worried I am.
No refined grains.
Think about that for a second. Look back through your day. Maybe you ate healthy. Maybe you try to get whole grains as much as you can. But did you avoid whole grains all day? I didn’t. Not today. Not yesterday. And I keep figuring out new things I have to avoid or at least check into to make sure there isn’t something hiding in it.
I set what seemed like a straightforward goal, and I don’t even fully know what counts as a refined grain. I’m having to do a Google search as we speak (type? read?) to figure this out. And that’s not as helpful as you think. Start looking up refined grains and whole grains, and you’ll get a lot of hippy sites that are high on information and low on facts.
It’s not a helpful process, and those hippy sites might be my best bet.
But, we’ll have to figure out a plan. So that’s what we’re doing today. We’re planning. We’re logging the things I know I can have and the things I can’t have, as well as outlining my best chances for success in this hellish, self-inflicted month.
I feel bad for everyone interacting with me next month. I’ll just apologize now. I’m sorry.
So let’s start this awful realization process:
This is kind of easy. No white bread. No white rice (or fried rice). Nothing breaded (unless I go the alternative route the hippy sites are recommending). No biscuits. No cornbread. No pizza. Basically, no fast food at all (there might be a couple of exceptions). Nothing that involves baked flour (seriously, even when places recommend putting in whole grain flour, they only say like half of the amount should be whole grain. I can’t make whole grain chicken and dumplings, and I wouldn’t want to). Popeye’s, Sonic, and Chick-fil-A are all off the menu. No donuts. No cookies. No corn starch. Wait, that just messed with a lot of my stir fry recipes. And no sushi (unless they use brown rice, and trust me, you don’t want sushi made with brown rice).
You get the picture. Does it taste really good? Then you probably can’t have it. Are you at a restaurant? You should probably go home now.
So wait. Is beer on this list? For real, no one told me I might technically need to avoid beer. Made from grains and clearly beer as an output does not count as a whole grain. Wait, are SODAS on this list too? Does the fact that both of these come from a grain count into this process? I’m going to need a ruling here.
Here’s another tricky one. Wheat tortillas and wheat bread. They’re not all whole grain. Some are only partially. Yeah, they trick you. They knew I’d set this goal, so they laid a trap so I’d have to put an X on my calendar when I realized I’d accidentally ingested refined grains. I just had to Google “Moe’s ingredients” to make sure their tortillas were whole-wheat. They are. That’s 1 place I can eat, as long as I don’t add rice or chips. But I can’t find actual ingredients for Panda Express, so I can’t figure out if they use corn starch in their stir fry.
This is the category that’s going to annoy me the most.
Oatmeal. Lots of oatmeal. I’m looking up steel cut oats recipes on Pinterest just so I can maybe may my oatmeal more versatile so I’m not just living off it for breakfast. It all looks very healthy.
Whole grain bread and brown rice. Those will be staples. I’ll also sneak in some whole grain pasta. Luckily, I’m actually very good about using these. I don’t really buy much in the way of refined grains when I’m buying the basic products any more. I live of Uncle Ben’s brown rice. It tastes so much better than other brown rice, I had to check its ingredients just to make sure it wasn’t messed with some way. It’s fantastic.
Potatoes and corn. Bet you didn’t see that coming? Technically, they’re not refined. I won’t live off of them, but they aren’t refined, and I’m taking whatever I can get, especially until I figure out what I’m doing about beer and sodas. And besides, they’re actually pretty healthy. It’s when you drown them in butter and such that they take on a less than healthy stance. I can also have corn tortillas, which I think means my enchiladas, beans, and rice are an option.
And of course, fruits, vegetables, and meat. By themselves, they fit right within the plan. I just can’t add any fun stuff. Seriously, no chicken fried steak (even if I could find a chicken fried steak in this state; they have country fried steaks. Not the same).
The big thing is going to be cooking and not eating out. It’s like running a marathon. It might not be easy, but it won’t be complicated.
I’ll also have to find more recipes to use. I’ve got a handful that will work, but even then, it’s more difficult than you think to avoid refined grains. Hopefully Pinterest and Google will save me. Maybe someone reading this will take pity on me and offer up a recipe or two. And hopefully I’ll find some meals I can freeze. If nothing else, I guess I can just live off of oatmeal and blueberries all month.
Of course, I have a trip planned in April. I’ll either have to call those days a wash or be very careful when I’m eating out. Salads are safe, but 1) salads are not a real meal, and 2) salads are actually high contributors to food-borne illnesses because they aren’t cooked.
I feel like I’ll have earned those vegan powers from the Scott Pilgrim movie.
Oh, well. Maybe I’ll survive.