Changes or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Stevia

When I was in my darkest stretch, I wanted to be well enough to write again. That goal was enough to make me quit alcohol, caffeine, dairy, sugar, and over the counter meds. My liver is likely still recovering from my Panadol Blackcurrant Hot Remedy addiction—I was up to three packets a day at work so that I wasn't sniffling like Donald Trump.

(I want to go back to watching Luke Cage, but I already punked out last week so here I am, showing up! I'm glad you're here with me. Don't worry, I wasn't able to write because I'd gotten a very painful massage to fix my wrists and not because I'd had another severe allergy attack.)

I dealt with being really ill the same way I tackle every problem: I read. During my research, I came across a lot of cancer blogs. (That's what happens when you're desperate and researching water filters and no-sugar recipes.) The one thing that echoed over and over again is that the people who live are the ones who make huge changes. One of my BFFs, J, and I used to joke all the time about an episode of Oprah with the theme "Change One Thing, Change Your Life". We were twenty-two and total dicks who thought we knew everything. Now that I'm older, I understand that Oprah was right, but it's more like "Change One Thing, Change One Hundred Things". But that just isn't as catchy.

This week, rather than writing about all the things I've been learning about trauma, I'm going to talk about food because one of my friends was ordered by her doctor to overhaul her diet. I told her I'd e-mail her, but a blog post is just as good, right?

Three Books That Helped Me Realign My Diet

I hate using the word diet, because this is not about deprivation or being thin. I've never restricted calories ever. If I need to feed, I become insane, so I drop everything and eat. (My friend A and I improved our relationship a thousandfold when we realized we both get hangry.) 

The reason why I changed how I eat was because I was having trouble walking after some meals and my skin was weeping and I just couldn't stay awake. Oh and I found out I was allergic to a huge list of foods and woke up one morning and couldn't really open one of my eyes. Anyhow, I recommend these three reads for anyone who has to cut out sugar and processed foods.

Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again by Dr. Frank Lipman

Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Dr. Alejandro Junger

The Candida Diet by Ann Boroch

This weekend I stayed in and organized my kitchen. I wish I'd taken a before picture because this cupboard was a total disaster before I got real and put things in order.

This weekend I stayed in and organized my kitchen. I wish I'd taken a before picture because this cupboard was a total disaster before I got real and put things in order.

My Pantry Staples

  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • adzuki beans
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • unsalted brown rice cakes
  • cashew nuts
  • cashew butter
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • raw pecans
  • raw walnuts
  • pinenuts
  • hemp seeds
  • flax seeds
  • chia seeds
  • black sesame powder
  • tahini
  • nori sheets
  • arame sea vegetable
  • wakame sea vegetable
  • kelp
  • sprouted granola
  • gluten-free rolled oats
  • soba (buckwheat, not regular wheat)
  • frozen spinach
  • frozen blueberries
  • frozen raspberries
  • bee pollen
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • Vega protein smoothie powder
  • sardines
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • pure stevia in powder form
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • basil
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • roasted dandelion root tea
  • ginger and lemongrass tea
  • lemon and ginger tea
  • Sleepytime tea

For fresh items, I always have lemons and limes on hand, and I rotate through various greens and root vegetables. Avocados are always perfect for salads or smoothies. (Gotta get in the good fats—this is key to not feeling insane from sugar withdrawal.) I'm allergic to eggs and coconut, or I'd have eggs and coconut milk and water on hand at all times. Sometimes I get a rash from almonds, so I avoid keeping them in my apartment, but almond butter is the best. At one point I was eating unsweetened baking chocolate slathered in almond butter, topped with cardamom and stevia powder. (I even bought a Hello Kitty chocolate mould to make my own sugar-free sweets.)

One life-changing tip I've learned is that soaking many grains and seeds makes them easier to digest. I give dry chia seeds sprinkled atop oatmeal in Instagram pics the side eye—you have to soak! For your convenience, here is a soaking chart, which I borrowed from Weed 'em & Reap.

Ever since I learned this, cooking brown rice has become so much easier: it takes twenty minutes rather than forty-five.

Another life change: I bought many freezer safe glass containers and now on Saturdays or Sundays I cook a large amount of food and freeze it for my lunches. I've been having amazing meals!

Soba, raw pumpkin seeds, cucumber, arame sea vegetable, avocado, and romaine with a lime, sesame oil, and sea salt dressing.

Soba, raw pumpkin seeds, cucumber, arame sea vegetable, avocado, and romaine with a lime, sesame oil, and sea salt dressing.

Okay, that episode of Luke Cage is calling me. I think I'll write more on food next week because there's so much to say. I leave you with a picture of the kitchen improvements I made on Friday night.

I got a new hanging dish rack, cutlery container, and shelf and now I have more counter space to prep meals!

I got a new hanging dish rack, cutlery container, and shelf and now I have more counter space to prep meals!