"I saw few die of hunger; of eating, a hundred thousand." -Ben Franklin

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I'm a Sugar Addict

For the first year or so of this lifestyle, I was pretty strict: I only ate animal protein and vegetables.  I rarely touched fruit and wouldn't eat starches, nuts, or dark chocolate (I can't control myself around any of those).  But then when I really got into this ancestral movement and discovered things like Paleo/Primal baked goods and desserts, I loosened up a bit, thinking that my sugar addiction was long broken and I'd be perfectly content to just eat one cookie or one or two squares of dark chocolate.

Bad move.  I was so wrong.

I'm not going to deny that all of those Paleo/Primal brownies, cookies, cakes, and chocolate- or fruit-based dishes are amazing... because they're so delicious!  But what I realized right away last year is that if you give me any of those, I can't just have one-- I'll eat half the tray!  Or I'll finish off an entire dark chocolate bar or bag of nuts or bowl of fruit... and then feel disgusting afterward and say I won't do that ever again.  But guess what?  I do do it again, and I end up in a vicious cycle.  All of these sweets have reawakened my former food-addicted self, which is something I've tried very hard to suppress these last 2.5 years, and I can't live like that anymore.  Even starches (such as sweet potatoes and yams) will trigger me to go insane, because my body goes, "OMG SWEETNESS!  EAT!  KEEP EATING!"  It needs to stop!  I had all of these habits under control, but when I gave myself an inch, I took a marathon.  I've gained weight (and if I look at anything other than a plant or animal, I put on weight), my acne is back, and I just feel gross.

So it's time to stop the baked goods/desserts, starches, nuts, and fruits.  Yes, they're certainly better than eating non-Primal foods (i.e. things with gluten, sugar, and other toxic ingredients), but they're still not optimal for health.  I also need to stop snacking while I'm at it (I've noticed that I only snack when I'm eating a lot of sweet foods throughout the day).  So no more trigger foods!  I'm still-- and always will be-- a food addict, so I should know better by now not to let myself touch things that set me off.  (You'd think I would've learned a year ago when I first realized the addiction never went away, but nope.  I got back into the I'll start tomorrow mentality that's been going on ever since.)

This is the "MyPlate" I'll be sticking with from now on:

Animals and plants!  I can do that!  I've done it before, and I can do it again... assuming I can get that self-control back in order, and learn to only eat when I need to, and not because I'm bored or emotional or because it's in the house.  As much as I love all of the yummy baked goods that the Paleo blogosphere has to offer, my health comes first... and optimal health for me doesn't include anything even remotely sweet.  (If you're in my position and like timed challenges, check out the Whole30 or 21-Day Sugar Detox from Balanced Bites!)

Quote of the Day:
"If you're happy, you eat.  If you're sad, you eat.  You lose a job, you eat.  You get a job, you eat.  It's, you know, it's addiction."  -Barbara Cook

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Result of a Multi-City/Country/Continent Quest for Kerrygold

Since I first became involved in the Paleosphere, I'd been hearing about the wonder that is Kerrygold butter.  I had never seen or heard of it before-- it isn't in any of the supermarkets near my home in New York (despite what the locator on the Kerrygold website says), and it wasn't in the one near Penn's campus in Philly either.  So I figured that when I went to Edinburgh, there'd be a ton of Kerrygold, given its proximity to Ireland, right?  Wrong.  So when it wasn't in Lidl, Scot-Mid, Tesco, Sainsbury's, or the Middle Eastern markets I went to, I was pretty much convinced that the Kerrygold butter gods hated me and that I'd never find it.  Maybe it was like Brigadoon: it'd only show up once every one hundred years.  Or perhaps it was like the Loch Ness monster: a myth.

During my spring break, I went on a five-city adventure that started off in Amsterdam (Argentine steakhouse heaven-- no problems finding a good steak there!), then moved to Geneva (which is so expensive that I cooked out of my hostel the entire time).  I couldn't find Kerrygold in either place.  Then I headed to Germany, where I first encountered Kerrygold in Berlin's main train station, the Hauptbahnhof.  (Berlin is Paleo heaven.  One word: Sauvage.)  I had an "Oh my god, it actually exists!!!!!" moment of both extreme disbelief and extreme excitement.  This was the butter that the entire Paleo community has been raving about!!  IT'S REAL!!!!  But since I had a four-hour train ride (to Prague) ahead of me, I couldn't hoard a brick of it to see what the big deal was.  (Well, I guess I could've...)  So I settled on some Kerrygold cheddar cheese to snack on instead.  Nom.  However, since I didn't cook at all in Prague or Vienna, I still hadn't tried the most talked-up butter in existence by the time I headed back to Edinburgh.

Fast-forward to mid-May.  Four months in Europe, and still no Kerrygold... but a trip to Dublin changed that.  I was convinced by this point that Kerrygold leprechauns would hide all of the butter before I got there, and I'd spend the rest of eternity missing out on the one butter that puts the Paleo/Primal community into an "OMG NOM" frenzy.  But no!!  I got to Dublin, and Kerrygold was everywhere-- it's even sold in the airport!!!!  AHHH!!!!!  So after sight-seeing all day, I bought a brick of it from the grocery store and headed back to my hostel to cook dinner and finally try this practically mythical butter. It did not disappoint!!!!  It's creamy, smooth, rich, delicious... and totally worth all of the hype.  It's great for both cooking and eating, and I truly don't have words that accurately describe how absolutely incredible this butter is.

I brought my Kerrygold back to Edinburgh.  They must've thought I was insane at airport security for having almost a pound of butter in my backpack!

So I finished off an incredible semester in Edinburgh by smothering everything in Kerrygold, not knowing the next time I'd get to have this fantastical butter again.
I was in for a real treat when I ended my time in Europe with a week in Mijas Costa, Malaga, Spain, for some desperately needed Vitamin D.  (Seriously: don't take the sun for granted.  After living in Scotland for a semester, just seeing the sun makes me insanely happy now.)  I never thought I'd stumble upon Kerrygold there, but I did!!!!  I hadn't even been looking for it, and it was in the supermarket!!  Vitamin D/sun and Kerrygold in the same place??  Paradise!!  My mind was also blown by finding Kerrygold on the plane ride back to the US-- sure, it was a tiny packet of it, but still!  (But thank god for it: it was the only thing I ate... the rest of the meal served was just sad.)

So what exactly is so special about Kerrygold?  It's made from the milk of grass-fed cows!  Grass-fed butter has more carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K2, has a totally balanced O3:O6 ratio, and just tastes so much better than other types of butter.  This stuff is truly incredible, and if you tolerate butter and live somewhere where you can get this stuff, do it!  Really: it's that good.  (And you can also use it to make Bulletproof coffee!)

I can't believe I just wrote an entire post about Kerrygold.  But after a semester-long quest to finally find/try it, it totally deserves its own post... and all of the hype!

Quote of the Day:
"Some people would say they couldn't do without olive oil.  I could do without olive oil a lot quicker than I could do without butter."  -Paula Deen