Engine 2 Diet Update, Part 2

Looking back on my previous posts, I decided to comment a little on my Engine 2 “diet” experiment. I do not do diets anymore as part of my recovery from food addiction, etc., but I thought that adopting a lower fat food plan would be healthier for me, especially since my cholesterol is still stubbornly stuck at about 173 total.I felt especially motivated after seeing Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. So many people in the vegan community are on fire about this dietary approach right now and it seemed, on the surface, to be a fantastic idea. Plus, I loooove the recipes in the Engine 2 book. I have a Tex Mex and “guy food” fetish. Perhaps it’s my years of living in Austin, TX or the years of bodybuilding and being a tomboy. Give me a veggie burger and fries or a fake “steak” and potatoes and I am a happy vegan chica.

It seemed like a no-brainer. My path to a healthy weight was stalling out on regular, albeit mostly healthy, vegan fare. I don’t really like cooking with oil anyway, and vegan cheese is not so appealing to me anymore. I noticed that as I eliminated oil and cut my fat down to just nuts, seeds, and avocados, I felt fine. Then I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to also cut out those sources of fat. I left in full fat almond milk , tofu and protein bars that had nuts in them. After a few weeks of this, I decided (see a pattern here?) to also cut these out, replace all protein bars with fresh fruit and switch to rice milk.

Somewhere around this time, I began to feel pissed off and frustrated. I was working my way through a variety of fat free dessert recipes from several cookbooks with a vengeance. Suddenly I developed an obsession with french fries. I wouldn’t binge on them, but when I wanted them I wanted them, and I wanted them NOW. I felt guilty if avocado even touched my food. I also started having almost pornographic longings for salad dressing that wasn’t fat free and sugary. I would bypass the dressings that I really wanted and reach for the fat free balsamic vinaigrette with determined righteousness. What the fuck? My Wicked Stepmother had come back to visit, and she was trying to move into the guest room, whispering, “Only lazy fat asses want drive through french fries from Wendy’s. You can’t fool me by telling me that they now use natural sea salt. If you weren’t so weak and pathetic, you could just do the right thing and eat nothing but kale and adzuki beans.”

I decided to step back and re-assess the situation. French fries were becoming a problem, because I couldn’t stop thinking about them even if I wasn’t actively binging on them. I was having a recurrence of thrush, which sometimes happens when my sugar intake is too high. The fat-free salad dressing was irritating the hell out of my mouth because of the thrush flare-up. I was making brownies and fruit cobbler with a frequency that made it seem like I was running a one-woman bake sale, even if I was eating one measured portion once a day. And, to top it off, my blood work was exactly the same! My cholesterol stayed stuck at 173. I was losing weight, but I also felt like I might be losing my mind!

I took a look at the OA “Dignity of Choice” pamphlet and decided to keep the same basic E2 principles in my food plan, but add back in full fat vegan salad dressing that was low in sugar, nuts, seeds, avocados, tofu, almond milk and protein bars if I wanted them (also with no added cane sugar). Right around this time, I finally got a new sponsor. She was in support of me eating foods that I felt good about and that didn’t cause cravings, obsessive thoughts or melt downs. I let go of OSS (Overtly Sugary Shit) and french fries because they were ruining my sanity. I focused on working a food plan that had protein, a small amount of fat, healthy carbohydrates and vegetables at most meals. I included fruit at breakfast and snack time. This, so far, is working for me. The thrush is gone and my sanity is back. I’m still vegan and I’m still abstinent.  And as of today, thanks to OA and the process of recovery, I’ve lost 46 pounds so far without resorting to crazy, eating disordered methods. More importantly, I’m experiencing daily peace most of time time when it comes to food. Yeah, I’m still crazy, but it’s getting a little bit better one day at a time. And the Wicked Stepmother is staying somewhere else. I like to imagine her in exile at the trashiest extended stay hotel known to man, Sportsman’s Royal Manor on Boulder Highway. It’s like a castle, but with hookers.

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