Over the last year, I’ve tried to navigate and embrace this whole alternative diet lifestyle, sometimes not so successfully, but I have learned two main and intertwined lessons:
1. Depriving myself of certain foods, especially those that I’ve loved and enjoyed most of my life is a recipe for disaster and will only lead to failure. As will denying cravings.
2. Sometimes cravings are less for a specific food as much as for the learned experience and/or social experience of consuming that food.
For the purpose of this post and recommendation/recipe that follows we'll use cereal as an example. I’ve eaten cereal most of my life for breakfast. I think many can relate unless you had one of those parents that cooked breakfast any time but special occasions. As a child, I preferred the sweet, terrible for you varieties: Captain Crunch, Sugar Smacks, Sugar Pops, Frosted Mini Wheats…you get the idea. Occasionally, my mom would let us have sliced bananas in milk with a sprinkle of sugar. As I got older and more health conscious, this turned into granola and fruit and yogurt and a lot of eggs (on occasion I would treat myself to sliced bananas and peanut butter in milk).
Fast forward to the present and I find myself craving cereal in the morning. The thing is, I was never really a huge fan of cereal or granola to begin with. It was more of a quick and easy meal in the morning that I’ve always had. It was a learned experience that my mind and body attribute to morning and morning meals. I was craving that quick, easy meal. I was craving the crunchy, salty, sweet in cold milk. I was craving a daily habit that had more recently been lost.
So, rather than deny myself the foods (or experiences) that I crave, I modify to reflect my new lifestyle similar to when I phased out the sweeter morning rituals with healthier granola so many years ago. Basically what it comes down to is nuts and seeds and even some fresh fruit. If you need the sweeter, feel free to add a drizzle of maple syrup or raw honey. It’s even easy to mix up a bigger batch so that you can just pour a bowl each morning and not have to worry about each bag of nuts and seeds. One of the biggest bonuses for me though is that when I’m eating too slowly or distracted by the news or emails or shiny objects, my breakfast doesn’t get soggy! Below are a few of my favorite combinations but feel free to experiment with your favorite mixes. Enjoy!