The Downside to Eating Healthy

Friday, 15 October 2010  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

So I’ve been eating relatively well since the end of July.  I can’t believe that I’ve gone this long on low-sodium, low simple sugar, and as little processed food as possible.  What I thought would be a killer diet turned out to be a lifestyle change I can actually live with.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had my little slip ups.  Quite a number of them, actually.  Harvie, my friendly nutritionist and food conscience, once told me that I’m one of his most difficult students. While I manage to eat proper wholesome mini meals every 2.5 to 3 hours, I also succumb to the temptation of stealing a handful of treats from my kids’ lunchbox or tasting a spoonful of ice cream. But, that’s about it.

Only twice did I mess up BIG time.

1) The first was when I overdosed on Bee Cheng Hiang one Sunday. Being half-Chinese,  I have fond memories of devouring loads of cured pork from my lola’s cabinet almost every Sunday.  Yummy and, at that time, completely guiltless and harmless…or so I thought!  The last time I feasted on these was every single day we were in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Marathon last February.  Since then, I had been craving for it.  Then, one Sunday, we were in for a treat: they had the Chinese food bazaar at Powerplant Mall and there was Bee Cheng Hiang right before my eyes. I thought I died and went to Chinese food heaven! For a moment, time stood still, tears started flowing from my eyes, and I ran (in slowmo) towards the stall reunited with my beloved.  I spent P800 on cured pork, chili pork, and golden chicken coins.  Gone in a couple of hours.

2) Then, a few days ago, I chanced upon the new Shakin’ Shots of KFC while ordering the kids’ lunch.  We bought one box.  I tasted it.  Liked it.  Tried another one.  Liked it even more.  And, you can probably guess what happened next.  Needless to say, it was finger lickin’ good!

What happened hours after both instances was something I never used to experience in the past.  I had major migraine attacks probably from the sodium and whatever else they put in that food.  Harvie would probably say “Those things come from the devil,” which is exactly what he said about fries this morning.

For half the day after eating those “evil food” my head was pounding.  I could barely work or focus on anything. I didn’t feel like working out.  I couldn’t sleep.  I could barely get out of bed!  In short, I felt like total crap.  I thought: Is this the price I have to pay for eating healthy all these months?  Why not continue to eat the same way as before and remain completely oblivious to the junk I was ingesting?!

But, of course, I was ranting. And feeling awfully guilty about cheating on my diet, too.

Looking back, the migraine is really the only downside to healthy eating (I know, I know, it wouldn’t even have happened if I didn’t cheat at all!)  I continue to reap the benefits of a more nutritious diet: more energy throughout the day, faster recovery after long runs, less cravings for unhealthy food, slightly smaller belly (I wonder if it’ll ever fully shrink to pre-preggy size?!) and last but not the least, enhanced performance during runs.  It is completely amazing and I have no intentions of heading back to my bad eating days.

As for Bee Cheng Hiang and KFC, can I be honest with you? I know I cannot bid them goodbye forever.  Life is too short for that.  I will indulge in them once in a while and in moderation.  Maybe just P400 worth of Bee Cheng Hiang at the next encounter.