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What I Eat: From Kale to Forbidden Black Rice

Given all the ways that food serves as medicine, as sacred substance, as a boost to divine vitality, I often get asked by my patients, yoga students and tribe what I eat. Not vague generalizations and broad categories, but nitty-gritty specifics. I happen to do well with nitty-gritty specifics. Do you? I learned at the ripe age of 40 that I'm a bit of a compulsive overeater. And, to compensate and fit into my skinny jeans, a compulsive overexerciser. Elliptical? Interval training? Excessive running? Yup. It was not welcome information. I spent way too much of my brain power with complex calculations of caloric input and output. I spent way too much money on finding the right diet for me, and the right amount of the right exercise. I'm a stress eater. I eat and drink wine to celebrate life's great moments. I eat when I need to calm down. It's not a good habit. I realized I need to right size the role of food in my life. I need to find more peace and serenity around food. Here's the food plan that gives me peace and serenity, weighed and measured and gloriously free of debate. Breakfast: 2oz oats (weighed dry, then cooked) + 2oz nuts + 6oz fruit (note: when initially losing weight, I started at 1 oz of dry oatmeal) Lunch: 6oz cooked vegetables + 6oz tofu/tempeh/beans (or 4 oz meat) + 6oz fruit + 2oz whole grain (note: when losing weight, I skipped grain at lunch) Dinner: 6oz cooked vegetables + 6oz tofu/tempeh/beans (or 4 oz meat) + 8oz salad with 2T dressing   What vegetables? The non-starchy types such as organic kale from my bag yard (6 oz of kale is a big ol' pile!) or chopped baby bok choy with garlic and spray coconut oil. Yummers. Grain? Chinese Forbidden Black Rice or Red Quinoa. Crazy good. Massa's brown rice. Yes yes OH YES! That's it. I love it. Food is neutral. Not overly romanticized, not used to cope with emotional turbulence. This is an optimal food plan for balancing your hormones. Tell me what you think and let me know if you've ever struggled similarly.


April replied on Jun 07, 2018

Do you really eat almost a cup of nuts for breakfast? Just trying to understand this 2 oz. Thank you.

Lara replied on Dec 29, 2015

This is great, Dr. Sara. I struggle with compulsive overeating and have just started Overeater’s Anonymous. I realized recently that I have big issues with food…and it’s time to do something about it. Your article is helpful.

Sara Gottfried MD replied on Dec 29, 2015

Cortney – you mean email others who eat this way? What a great idea – I’ll take that to my team. We want to create more community around sticky topics like food, so let think through how we can create and support that idea! — SG

Cortney Rock replied on Dec 29, 2015

I really liked this blog post (as well as all of your other blog posts). Wish you had an option to email others.

Sara Gottfried MD replied on Dec 29, 2015

Right there with you, Lara. Let’s keep talking!

Sara Gottfried MD replied on Dec 29, 2015

Thanks, Lucinda, for writing! Yes, I eat 6 oz of fruit at breakfast and lunch. For my clients who are trying to lose fat, I recommend 1 serving of low-glycemic food per day, and 5-6 servings of low-glycemic vegetables (for me, captured in the salad). There’s incredible variety within this form for me, but to each his own.

I completely agree about the root of emotional overeating: distraction and disconnection. For some, weighing and measuring food feels like more restriction or even prison, but for others (such as myself), it feels like peace and serenity. It depends on how an individual responds to being bound.

Isn’t the answer always to let go? Amazing how I keep arriving at that place: surrender to what is true for me. Acceptance. Contented acceptance.

Love your musings and can’t wait to hear more from you.

All the best,
Dr Sara

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