overcrowd your menu - veggies
Food Life

#MondayMusings – Overcrowd your menu

The week I decided to start sharing my blog in all social channels typically enough turned out to be the busiest week I’ve had in a long time, not due to work but due to family matters and following hospital visits. Thus, it took effort to stay on top of everything and it only exaggerated the feeling of being stretched too thin.

The last few months have been stressful for all of us because of this family matter. And, while I still am in the process of trying to figure out my dietary tolerances in terms of gut health it has been difficult to focus on food. This led me to constantly narrowing down my food choices to the point where it felt like the only things I could eat were meat, dairy and a very sparse salad of leafy greens and bell peppers. Still, symptoms persisted, and I kept repetitively straying from my limited menu choices with foods I shouldn’t (No wonder symptoms persisted, I hear you say?). This, in turn, made me pretty miserable, to be honest.

Low on food, low on mood

This whole food ordeal had me so down the dumps at one point, that some time Friday evening I sat in the sofa saying to Chris: “I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what to eat and what not to eat, and I just keep feeling unhappy when my symptoms aren’t subsiding.”

Luckily, I have a better half that knows how to keep his cool when I am a mess. He said that if things had turned this bad, the only thing we could do was to hit pause, reset and start again from scratch. After all, I did have a dietary plan that included much more variety in terms of foods than what I had been eating over the last few weeks.

The solution

It occurred to me, then, that there was one important dietary principle I had been forgetting to consider, namely the advice to: ‘Overcrowd your menu’. ‘Overcrowd your menu’ simply means to focus on all the things your diet allows you to eat instead of focusing on what you cannot. And it turned out that I had come to a point where I had been doing the total opposite of this. You can say I fell into the habit of ‘undercrowding my menu’, and it left me in dismal.

This Saturday, then, I created a grocery list. I went through the pages from when I kept a “food and symptom”-diary, trying to read from it what foods seemed to work and what did not. And I wrote an extensive list, only including “diet approved items”, leaving out “nearly approved items” such as diet sodas and artificially sweetened chocolates and other treats (insert sadface emoji here).

The result

And what can I say? It felt p-r-e-t-t-y good to be overcrowding my menu again! Catching up where I left off and feel like I can indulge a little again. Although, to be fair, no one else would call it indulging – ever, I guess. Unless they were also on a restrictive diet, and thus would understand the fuss I make about being able to vary my meals.

I overcrowded my diet with: Leafy greens, berries, different kinds of cheeses, different kinds of meat, melon, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, eggs, cucumber, avocado… Looking at it now, I guess I need to work on this “overcrowding” business. But I do feel like I am on to a good start, don’t you agree?

The hardest now is portion control. When even half an avocado is too much fiber in one sitting, the struggle is real. I mean, keeping one half of avocado fresh is hard enough, but ¾? I guess I will cut myself some slack on portion control at first, though. Eating a decent variety of  healthy, non-symptom-inducing foods will be the main issue in order to feel better again.

Overcrowd your life

I think the concept of overcrowding is something that can be applied to other aspects of life as well. It’s easy to get caught up in always focusing on our problems and our lack of things. If we tried to be better at focusing on seeing solutions instead of finding problems, and focusing on all the good things we do have instead of lack, wouldn’t life in general be much, much easier?

So, the (kind of cliché) takeaway from today’s #MondayMusings post, I guess, is: Overcrowd your life with all the possibilities it has to offer, instead of dwelling on the stuff that limit you and hold you back. Nothing good comes of that.



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