Over the past week I have had occasion to necessarily and temporarily ditch my no-refined-carbs eating plan. The first time was on Wednesday when I unthinkingly said "sure" when asked if I wanted lunch at my in-law's place when I picked up Rowan for the afternoon (lunch turned out to be white-bread grilled cheese & ham sandwiches and canned chicken-noodle soup) and I felt it would be rather rude to turn up my nose and refuse to eat it. The second time was basically the whole weekend, with ferry food, cafeteria food and eating at a friend's house - trying to avoid the refined carbs was basically impossible and would have involved alternately starving and more unspeakable rudeness.
My point is not to whine about how circumstances led to my downfall. It's not a downfall, it's an acknowledgement about the reality of what people mostly eat in these parts, and how if you want to be sociable, sometimes you have to just suck it up, nutritionally. But my real point is - wow, did I ever feel like crap Wednesday afternoon and Sunday evening. And you know what? I used to feel like that ALL THE TIME. No energy, icky hollow feeling in my tummy, irritable - all bad. But if it goes on long enough, you don't notice. That's just the way you are.
So my temporary foray back into refined-carb-land has been a major learning experience. Not eating white flour & sugar really does make a HUGE difference in the way I feel, both digestively and with energy levels. Refined carbs make me sluggish, energy-less, and irritable. They probably contributed quite a lot to the post-partum depression I went through. They certainly make sleep deprivation a LOT worse, experientially.
Anyway, lately I've been getting more and more into so-called Traditional Foods. This consists pretty much of whole, unprocessed, natural foods grown natural ways. Pastured, grass-fed meat & eggs, whole dairy (I'd love to be able to get RAW dairy, but the only thing I can get that's not pasteurized is cheese), organic vegetables and grains properly prepared. For grains that means soaking and slow-rise breads, to release all the nutrients, and for vegetables that means a blend of lightly cooked, raw, and lacto-fermented veggies (like sauerkraut made the traditional way). It also means fermented & cultured dairy, like the aforementioned kefir, and yogurt.
Sounds all weird and icky, you think? Some of it takes some getting used to. I haven't done much in the way of fermented veggies yet. The sourdough I have temporarily decided to abandon since my starter sucked and I tossed it. My sister will hopefully bring some of my mom's proven starter and I can get going on that, but until then I'll buy as much Wildfire bread as I can (Wildfire uses all sourdough leavening). But organic meat & veg - I'm all over that and not only is it better for us, it's DAMN tasty too.
I will post more recipes and more musings as I get more into this. If you're interested, check out the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. Lots of good info in there on why you'd WANT to eat this way. (Beyond the fact it encourages eating lots of butter. Who couldn't go for THAT?)