Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tuning the brain to the real food channel

As I have journeyed into better eating habits there are still some things that I really struggle with. These are things that I want to believe, but my brain has been "trained" to believe other wise. It has been a battle inside to retrain my brain, but it is working. I am changing my thoughts and my actions while improving my health. 


1. Probiotics.  I understand the fact that there are "good bacteria" that are essential for good health. I know that culturing milk to make yogurt and  kefir have really helped my gut, but sometimes my inner germ freak kicks in. I can't seem to help it when I have thoughts like..... "Food should not be left out on the counter growing things" or, "How do I know that it is not growing the wrong stuff?"

Being the chef and going through the courses that teach the danger of  bacteria because it can kill people, where we heard over and over again "hot foods are to be kept hot, and cold foods are to be kept cold" has made me a wee bit paranoid.  Milk (or any other food) left at room temperature for more than two hours, and/or kept in the "danger zone" sends out a red flag, it says "Danger, Danger, throw it out before it kills someone".  It has been a challenge to retrain my brain on this matter.


2. Fat.  Growing up in the low fat era has really had an impact on me. The more I learn about how good fats are helpful for the brain and heart, the more I have to turn down and drown out  those voices that keep telling me lies about fat. My brain and heart feel so much better when they have the proper fuel (fat). I am finally getting to where I do not feel guilty buying and using butter and other good fats.  I can use sour cream without the guilt that used to crush me.

It is still hard at times.  Because I am a large woman, I feel judged when I go to the store and buy full fat milk, butter, and cream. I often feel judged by my sisters who are plagued by the "fat monster" inside of them. They are still of the opinion that fat is the enemy. Fat itself is not the enemy, it is essential to good health, but the wrong fats can be detrimental. When I feel judged by others I have to just know deep down inside that I am getting healthier and the good fats are an essential part of it. I have to remember that they don't know about my inner struggles. They do not understand how badly my brain and body were damaged by a low fat (high sugar and starch) diet. They do not understand how the change of diet has helped my digestive system which was out of order.  One day my outside will reflect the health that I am feeling inside.  

3. Starches.  I do not have to have a starch (pasta, potato, rice, bread etc.) at each meal. As a naturally frugal person it has been hard. Meat has always been stretched out in a casserole or such. Sandwiches and cold cereal (cheap foods) have been a main part of life. We learned early on in school that starches are the staff of life and the basis for a good diet. If you look at the 1992 Food pyramid you will see that starches are at the base it is the foundation of our society. We learn it from a very young age. The first foods we are given as infants are the grains and starches.  It is a way of life for so many of us and it is hard to break free.


It has taken a long time for me to believe that I can have a dinner without a starch. Dinner for me would often start with which starch do I want; pasta, potato, or rice? Then I would build around it. In chef school we spent weeks learning how to prepare starches. This is how food is created, sold and marketed to us.  I have had to work really hard at changing things at our house.

I still have hard time thinking that A piece of fish and a salad or vegetable is a complete meal. I still want the starches to go with it. I am getting better. I used to crave starches so much that I would eat a full meal and then go and eat a bunch of carbohydrates a while later just to satisfy the carbohydrate/ starch cravings.  I was not full until I felt the warm comforting feeling of a carbohydrate load in my body. Things are slowly changing.

 I have enough flavors in my life, I have a full menu, but saying goodbye to a long held carb obsession is hard. I can't help but still hold onto it, my excuse;  "it is for the kids."  It is time to let that excuse be gone. I have learned that the kids can learn to love new flavors and textures too. They don't have to be raised to be a carb addict. Things can change; your health can change; It starts with changing you mind about food and it's power in your life.

What about you? What new thoughts and behaviors have you had to create to improve your health? Share in the comments below so we can all benefit.    

 Additional reading

 My first adventures into making yogurt
  My adventures with kefir

Why a high fat diet

Ex-vegetarian goes high fat/ low carb



  1. I pickled my first batch of carrots by fermentation this past weekend, and they are delicious! My parents taught me great habits in healthy eating and I thankfully was not picky growing up. I don't buy anything low-fat/low-calorie/diet, and avoid artificial sweeteners. I try to eat in moderation, if I have a carb-heavy breakfast, I eat a lighter dinner, or if I know I am going to indulge at dinner I try for a veggie-heavy lunch!

  2. Great post. The challenge of retraining the brain to pass by sugar is a tough one for me. I eat healthy meals, but the snacks are tough. Thanks for sharing ..

  3. This is a great post. Sugar is so addicting and causes so many health issues - it can be hard to get off of but any one I know that has is amazed how much their healthy improves. Probiotics is the key to many gut issues. Eating any fermented food can be very helpful - yogurt, kefir as you suggest. Thanks so much for sharing on ideas on Real Food Fridays Blog Hop!

  4. Great post! Sugar is my most difficult challenge. Thanks for sharing with Foodie Friends Friday!

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