I’m quitting cooked food for good.

Tonight is my last night in Edinburgh as I’ve been flat-sitting this past week. Come tomorrow I’ll have just one week left here before I start exploring Europe for six months, so I’m very lucky to have this opportunity to catch up with my Edinburgh friends one last time before I leave Scotland.

Anytime I’m away from home, aka my home with my boyfriend in Dundee, I tend to stray from my fruit-based diet. Sometimes I’ll indulge in a decaf latte, other times I’ll eat an entire plate of cooked food while out and about. It really just depends on the social situation I’m in, as I only stray from my diet when in the company of friends. (Diet here refers to the foods I typically eat, not to a diet where I restrict myself from calories or certain foods.)

This past week I deviated from my fruit-based diet a few times. Now that my body is used to a clean diet of fruits and veggies, it reacts to anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes the reaction is mild, like bloating or a puffy face because of water retention due to excess salt, but other times the reaction is more severe.

On Monday, my very first day here, I ate an entire pack of oatcakes because I was ravenously hungry. All those calories satiated me but I felt ill afterward. Oatcakes contain more fat and salt than I’m used to, so my stomach was not happy. Stomach cramps and an unquenchable thirst followed my oatcake bender. The next morning, my entire body (especially my face) felt bloated, thanks to the salt.

Recently I made the connection that I only crave heavy carbs like crackers, bread, or pasta when I don’t eat enough. I had walked 44 miles this past weekend (30 of the miles on Sunday) so my body simply needed calories. I should have eaten more fruit instead of gorging myself on oatcakes!

I’ve made the mistake of under-eating before. Sometimes I forget to eat if I’m busy, but usually, this problem arises because fruits and veggies, while high in nutrients and fiber, are much lower in calories that other foods. Anyone eating a diet of predominately fruits and veggies will need to eat a larger volume of food to consume sufficient calories. And if you lead an active lifestyle, like me, you’ll need to eat even more!

Under-eating this week only caused one of my slip-ups. I had a lapse in judgment when offered a home-cooked meal by my lovely friend Ivy. I chowed down on a hearty helping of cheesy pasta (vegan, of course) and hoped I wouldn’t pay for this indiscretion later on.

It didn’t hit me until 3 or 4 in the morning following dinner, but *wow* my body had a hell of a time digesting it! Fats wreak havoc on my intestines, so I suspect the culprit was either fat or wheat, depending on the type of pasta used. Mind you, this reaction does not reflect the quality of the food or the cook, as the food was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed every bite.

After a restless night and several toilet trips later, I went about my day in a fog. My head ached and I felt like I had the flu! It wasn’t until Thursday evening (two days later) that I felt back to normal. Crazy! I was hoping I could indulge in a cooked meal once in a while without any issues, but I find it increasingly difficult to do so the longer I maintain this clean diet.

My digestion is back to normal and I feel energized once again. But, as expected, I can already notice subtle changes in my skin (particularly on my face–breakouts on the horizon!) following these detours from my diet.

It’s amazing to me how resilient our bodies are and how quickly they let us know when something’s amiss. We should listen to our bodies and not beat ourselves up if we make mistakes. Learn from these slip ups and be more attentive to what your body tells you. Right now, my body wants me to stay away from cooked foods. I’ll stick to fruits and veggies because I want to feel the best I can 24/7.

What does your body tell you?

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