Maybe failure is the wrong word. Let’s call it ‘scaling of expectations,’ shall we?
But it’s day 11 of this experiment, and my body is calling it quits on this no grain or dairy business. I can’t physically keep up with the children, I’m grumpy(er) than usual all day long, and there are no sweet potatoes in Italy. None. I’ve been to every fruit stand this side of the Tiber, and I have yet to find one. In short, this isn’t a realistic concept for me to adhere to strictly for an entire month. At least, not at this point in our family’s life, and while living in this particular part of the world.
I have discovered the number one reason why Italians eat so many carbs: there isn’t really much of anything else. By that I mean traditional Italian food still dominates the Italian culinary scene. There are no (real) Mexican restaurants. There are no ‘French/Italian fusion bistros.’ There are no Vietnamese places, and the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants have (mostly) been infiltrated by Italian staples, so their menus end up including varieties of bruschetta and pasta dishes. You want American? They’ve got McDonald’s. But…come on.
It is, in short, all Italian, all the time.
And Italian cooking does not jive well with a paleo plan of eating. The things I’ve been trying to procure for some of the recipes for this adventure simply don’t exist here. Or, if they do, they are only available at select and remote (to me) locations within the city. So no almond milk. No shredded coconut. No sweet potatoes. No bacon (trust me, prosciutto is not the same thing.) Only seasonally-available, mostly local fruits and vegetables. (Again, not a bad thing, but…no exotic selections to break up the monotony. Like cilantro. Or raspberries.)
And the number one reason I’m calling it quits? I just don’t feel good. And I don’t have the energy to keep up with these kiddos while I’m carb-starved. Or to work out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we started eating this way, (and Dave is sticking it out for the month, because he is awesome) because it has radically expanded the kids’ palates, and to a certain extent, our own.
But…but…at the end of the day, it’s basically a diet. And diets are, by their very nature, unrealistic to maintain because of their restrictive nature. In short, I’ve decided it’s a wonderful framework to build a healthy weekly menu around. And it has some great insights into the not-so-healthy ways some of us interact with food and alcohol. But at the end of the day, I don’t actually believe that beans are toxic to the human body, or that nobody past the age of 2 should consume dairy products. Should grains occupy a higher rung on the food pyramid and meats and veggies a lower spot? Surely. But to cut out entire food groups for non-medical reasons is neither realistic nor feasible long term. And in mommy world, a month feels very, very long term.
-Learning to appreciate espresso normale again. Straight up, creamy espresso, no sugar or milk added. Perfect in it’s simplicity.
-Building meals around meats and vegetables instead of starches. Finding new ways to coax zucchini into behaving like pasta. Discovering how very little I actually care for pasta, besides the fact that it’s cheap and everywhere. Ravioli is my one concession.
-Feeding the kids a smorgasborg of fruits, veggies, protein chunks, nuts, and seeds and calling it ‘lunch.’ Thanks to Joey’s gluten intolerance, we’ve never been a pb&j family, but now we’re an even weirder pile-of-seemingly-unrelated-foodstuffs-on-the-high-chair family.
– 5 lbs down. Okay, that’s indisputably awesome. But, it could have had something to do with the vino and birra abstinence, too.
Am I a failure for calling it quits 11 days in? I don’t know. We’re still making better food choices, and I’m not eating taco chips for lunch anymore, so I’m calling it a win. Or maybe a tie.
Anyway, transparency and all that…you’re welcome.
p.s. Day 3 of operation Potty Training, and he is currently napping (or pretending to) in Thomas undies atop a ‘special big boy just in case pee towel.’ Today we had our first successful trip out of the house sans diaper, so I’m feeling crazy brave. Thanks Mary and everyone else for the words of warning/wisdom/encouragement!