It’s been 6 years in the making, but I believe this may be the first birthday completely free of cake temptation. Every prior birthday/ celebration/ etc. I’ve always battled a slight inkling of, “Oh maybe I should indulge on this special occasion.” #Funfetti
But at this point, what I eat normally tastes just as fantastic as cake. Seriously. With Paleo + Intermittent Fasting, every meal is like your birthday! There’s nothing better to me than sinking my teeth in some luscious salmon or seared steak, accompanied by a glass of vino! Why eat something yummy which will make me feel like yucky, when I could eat something even more yummy which will make me feel awesome?
I’ve also recently jumped on a higher carb bandwagon (Gasp!), which has simultaneously instigated and squelched sugar cravings. It’s complicated. I made a decision a month or so ago to just see what adding in some lower-carb fruit would be like. It’s weird. I distinctly remember growing up, thinking strawberries and blueberries were sour. Actually sour. Like my face is puckering sour. I’m now trying to wrap my mind around how that is conceivably possible. Eating a strawberry or blueberry now yields a sugar rush.
Which brings us back to THE GREAT CARB DEBATE.
Since adding fruit back in, I’m still not sure how I feel about the situation. At first fruit tasted so sweet and sugary and decadent, that it felt slightly wrong in a way. (To be clear – I’m not saying this is the case! I had just come to associate “sweet” with all of sugar’s negative manifestations.) On the plus side, consuming a bit of fruit added a little pep to my step. On the other hand, I felt some blood sugar swings come back. And by dinnertime the evening after my first fruit escapade… I was starving. With normal low-carb Intermittent Fasting, I can go eons without eating. Now that I had simply added back in some fruit, hunger was a thing again, reminiscent of that hangry feeling.
My hero/idol Robb Wolf (“The Paleo Solution”) frequently discusses this lower carb vs. higher carb issue. I appreciate his open and constant quest for improvement, and he often asks podcast guests about their thoughts on ideal carb ratios for performance. He seems to have reached a similar conclusion to mine: lower carb ketosis = never-ending steady energy, while higher carb diets can fuel high intensity exercise, but come with more blood sugar swings. I’m also a fan of Stefani Ruper (Paleo For Women) who often advocates a higher carb approach at times.
Now having tinkered with varying types (berries and apples) and amounts of fruit, I seem to have reverted back to my old(ish) low carb self, but with some fruit in the barrel. My Intermittent Fasting pattern is again completely normal, and the sugar cravings seem to have subsided. I think, as with any dietary change, my body just needed a little time to adjust to a new pattern.
As a further plus, I also feel absolutely no worries about being tempted by cake. Because who needs cake when you have fruit? Or steak? Or wine? (Actually… a sweet potato literally tastes like cake to me. Maybe I’ll have one of those!)
By the way, I plan to write a much more “scientific” overview and reflection on my experience with the low carb/high carb debate. (Because boy is it out there!) But until then, I shall revel in this one nice point about my birthday: when I decline dessert tonight, I feel like I can! Because it’s my birthday, right?
(Probably famous last words….)