As someone living with food addiction, there are many things I don’t eat. I often say ‘no thank you’ when offered ‘treats’. When I explain that I’m food addicted, people are often surprised and ask: So, what CAN you eat as food addict?
There are two ways I answer this question. The first one is that it is not that I CAN’T EAT something, it’s that I DON’T eat it. The language makes a big difference because it reflects my attitude. I’m not actually sad about not eating the ‘treats’. I no longer feel that I’m missing out because in my mind, the foods that are being offered are poison and I’m so glad I no longer have to wrestle with them. They’re just not my foods. I choose peace so I DON’T eat them.
The second way I answer this question is that there are certain principles that I follow. I have clear boundaries (I call them freedoms), which mean I know exactly what I do and don’t eat. There are no grey areas.
So what DON’T and DO I eat?
In my last blog I talked about there’s no one size fits all food plan for an addictive eater. But there are some common principles that work wonders for most food addicts:
I don’t eat sugar
This means I don’t eat anything that has any form of refined sugar in it. Of course I eat fruit and vegetables with natural sugar content. But any other forms of sugar, even honey and agave and all the fancy 61 names that sugar has, I stay well away from as they are highly addictive. This includes artificial sweeteners.
I don’t eat flour
I don’t eat bread, pasta, pastries, pies or any such things. And I don’t eat any form of flour because any flour, be it white or brown, is a highly refined substance. As you can read in my blog No Sugar No Flour, the refined nature of the stuff means that it gets absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly and causes my addiction to kick off.
I don’t eat my personal trigger foods / drinks / substances
Most addictive eaters have personal triggers that set them off on a binge. For me, there aren’t many, but I refrain from caffeine and alcohol (I’ve not met many food addicts who are able to do those in moderation), chewing gum, and artificially sweetened low calorie beverages.
I weigh my food
As I’m addicted to volume (meaning my addiction is not only a food but also an eating addiction), I can binge on anything. So my food plan contains agreed and very clear amounts. This gives me a lot of freedom. Not all food addicts weigh their food but many do and love it!
So, what DO I EAT?
I eat are anything that is unprocessed and contains as little preservatives as possible. I carefully read labels of all foods I buy and of course the best option is to buy food that has no labels. There’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen and spend millions of dollars in the supermarket. For convenience and to suit my purse, I sometimes eat tins of fish and vegetables, and sometimes frozen vegetables too. So here’s a list of some of the common foods I eat:
- Any other legumes
- Fish and seafood
- Yoghurt, cheese, milk (I personally keep these to a minimum, not because they are addictive to me, but because they don’t agree with my digestive system)
- Oils (good quality stuff like coconut, olive, avocado, sesame etc)
- Nut butters such as tahini and peanut butter
- Any vegetable under the sun
- All fresh fruit are fine for most food addicts but dried fruit can be triggering. I personally rarely eat fruit for digestive reasons.
Grains – as I have a gluten intolerance I refrain from the gluten ones
- Rice (brown or basmati)
Many food addicts are triggered by grains but I have personally not had a problem with grains.
Herbs and spices
- Whatever tickles my fancy
I really love my food plan. The food is simple, natural, easy to prepare, practical, cheap, healthy and not addictive. Of course my food plan changes every once in a while to take care of what my body needs. I always discuss those changes with my dietitian so that I don’t leave my addictive brain to its own devices when it comes to food decisions. All of this is second nature to me now and it gives me food freedom, every day, one day at a time.