A Brief Hiatus

My lovely readers: If you know me at all, you know that I am prone to thinking myself a failure. But I’m trying to move out of that mindset because of the seemingly irreparable damage it does to my wellbeing and to the people around me. And because it’s become so very boring.

In any case, life has been really nutty, lately. Work is way more intense than usual; this diet, though remarkable, is taking up a lot of my time; the ten year anniversary of my mother’s passing is coming up and even though I’m doing everything I can to ready myself for it, I’m woefully unprepared; and, I’ve recently been elected to a co-chair position for a non-profit steering committee.

I’ve learned pretty recently that I often set myself up to fail (i.e. not succeed to the degree that I want to) so that I can justify and excuse my self-loathing practices. Unlike many self-saboteurs, I’m not afraid of failing, and don’t use fear as a reason to not try. I try like hell. I expect myself to put a thousand percent of myself in everything, yet I somehow always-already know that I will not accomplish what I want to accomplish. For example, I will tell myself that I’ll practice an hour of piano a day knowing full well that that I won’t and can’t (since I’ve over-committed to just about everything in my life), so I can have a reason to berate myself. I’ll make a goal of writing a new blog entry per week and use my inability to execute (because there are only 24 hours in a day) as a new source of self-doubt.

I want to break free from this strange self-defeating trend, and in order to do that, I need to change some of my habits. So, to stop using something I love (this blog) to treat myself poorly, I’m going to do something radically different, and rearrange my own expectations. Starting today, I’m going to take an intentional hiatus from Exposed Eats until April 2016, when work and life are less bonkers. Scouts honor, I’ll be back. I just have far too many thoughts and feelings about food and other things to stay away.

Before I go on this self-imposed break, I do want to say a few things about this sort-of-elimination diet we’ve been on the last three weeks.

Honestly, it’s been kind of laborious. I think there’s been some kind of psychological impact in knowing I cannot consume red meat, dairy products, added sugars, gluten, and eggs. Everything we’ve been eating has been quite delicious, but I’ve put a lot of extra work into the meals to compensate for this real or perceived lack. But I’ve been feeling AMAZING.

Things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Breakfast is so important. I know this is a really silly thing to say, since everyone already knows it. For most of my life, I have not eaten breakfast. I don’t like waking up earlier in the morning to prepare something. I find breakfast foods to be very boring, unless they are are a bacon, egg and cheese croissant or german pancakes with caramelized apples. For the last three weeks, we’ve been eating mostly quinoa porridge with coconut milk, berries or fried bananas, and nuts. Though I’m not completely sold on the taste just yet (especially since we can’t add any sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.), I have to say that I’ve been insanely energetic during the day. I’m already a pretty upbeat and high-energy person, so it’s possible that this new breakfast-eating Yejin is actually a bit terrifying. In any case, when this diet is over, we’re going to continue eating these porridges for breakfast because they’re awesome. With a tiny bit of maple syrup? Ugh, it’ll be so good. And, when we can reintroduce eggs (in a week),  I’m going to be all over that shit. Fried eggs over rice with vegetables. Soft boiled eggs with a touch of sea salt. Yes. Yes.
  2. Consuming too many sweets has dulled my tastebuds. The hardest part of this diet has been the elimination of added sugars. I never had a sweet tooth until recently (I blame my nutella-hoarding husband), but I’ve never really realized how many products have added sugars in them. In any case, after being sad about sugarless breakfast porridges (only sweetened through fruit) and 80+% cocoa chocolates for two whole weeks, something remarkable happened. I started tasting the natural sweetness in everything. I’m not supposed to have alcohol on this diet, but have cheated a couple of times. One of those times, I had a tiny splash of scotch. And it was SO SWEET. I was stunned by how much sweetness I now suddenly tasted in this beverage I have consumed a great deal in the past. I’m also now officially obsessed with really dark chocolates. Oh, and fruit. Fruit is like candy.
  3. Eating with a new level of ingredient-based intentionality can lead to surprising things like weight loss.  I have accidentally lost seven pounds from this diet. I am not eating less than I normally do (but definitely less than I was over the holidays), but am obviously being super intentional about what I’m putting in my body. That’s not to say that cheese or bread or steak or any other amazing food is the cause of weight gain – I just think thinking this much about what’s going into my body has had some interesting results.
  4. I love gluten. Next week we will be slowly reintroducing gluten into our diet to see how our body reacts. I’m pretty sure I’m not intolerant or allergic to it, but I am open to the possibility that it slows me down. However, I’ve never thought I would miss bread so much in my life. This surprises me.
  5. Cravings can go away. I have a weird relationship with cravings, especially as someone who once had an eating disorder. In the last couple of years, I’ve tried fall into my cravings (in moderation) so that I’m not a prisoner to them, and to a certain degree I think I still will. However, for the first two weeks of the diet I had what felt like insatiable cravings for pizza, macaroni & cheese, croissants, and more. I would think about those foods before falling asleep, and they were the first things on my mind when I woke up. But once I entered into the third week, most of those urgent tastebud needs went away. Of course, I still want those things, but I’m no longer near tears because of them. So, yay!

See you in a couple of months, my doves!

Things I’ve Cooked for this Sad Diet

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Pumpkin quinoa porridge with coconut milk, pepitas, dried cranberries, and sliced bananas

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Lentil, roasted broccoli and shallot stew over jasmine rice

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Scallion and ginger shrimp with roasted cauliflower and brown rice

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Hainanese chicken with roasted broccoli and jasmine rice

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Roasted butternut squash risotto made with homemade cornish hen broth

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Roasted cornish hen with jasmine rice and roasted brussel sprouts

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Grilled branzino with roasted veggies and jasmine rice

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Chicken soup with cranberry beans, carrots, celery, onion, chicken, and kale

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Lamb meatloaf (with mushrooms, zucchini, caramelized onions, garlic, raisins, and pine nuts) with roasted veggies and jasmine rice

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Roasted butternut squash, spinach, and chickpea curried stew with brown rice 

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Grilled branzino

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Mixed quinoa porridge with coconut milk,  berries, and walnuts

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