Grief and Eating Clean

Grief, tragedy, and stress do funny things to a person. To me, they make me eyeball a plate full of chocolate chip cookies knowing full well that I shouldn’t eat them – ESPECIALLY if I’m clean eating – and say “fuck it” and shove all the cookies into my mouth with the wild abandon of Cookie Monster. Stress – real stress, not “ZOMG I LOST MY DEBIT CARD” stress – makes me eat all the things forever.

My brother and I both have adopted similar eating styles without really knowing it. He’s been living according to the Paleo diet where I have been clean eating. There are a lot of similarities, some differences, but both are based on eating whole foods. When mom was admitted into the hospital and we were both there all day long neither of us had the time to devote to cooking. So we ate out a lot. My poor brother did pretty well at first, modifying the things he’d get.

Once mom got into hospice and the reality sunk in, we both just said fuck it. We ate whatever the fuck we wanted. I’d have two to three beers each time we’d go out. I honestly did not care; I didn’t have the emotional energy to invest in making good food choices.

I’m finding it hard to break the habits of the past three weeks. The holidays are a hard enough time for those of us eating a certain way, but pile putting your mother in hospice and watching her die on top of that and you get a big fat nomfest of emotional eating. Sugar cookies? In my mouth. Gingerbread lattes? Directly in my veins, please. I KNOW YOU DIDN’T JUST EAT THAT LAST PIECE OF RED VELVET CAKE.

I’m still not back to emotional normalcy. I’m better; each day I am less and less sad but I am still easily distracted and feel emotionally fragile most of the time. I’ve found myself more interested in cooking, which is good. I chose 2 clean recipes for this week’s menu plan. I cooked one on Saturday night and it was delicious (don’t worry, I will share the recipes/links to the recipes here) and will probably cook the next one tomorrow evening. It was nice to cook. It didn’t feel overwhelming. We’re in a better place financially for me to pick my clean eating habits back up, so now I just have to get back into the swing of menu planning and hunting down clean foods for me to eat.

Saturday’s recipe was The Gracious Pantry’s 4 Bean Chili.


What I loved about this recipe was how simple it was. I look for recipes with inexpensive ingredients, easy-to-follow instructions; nothing too terribly complicated. I added a little bit more spice to this than the recipe calls for; I seasoned it with more chili powder and some onion salt and garlic powder to taste until I was happy with it. It was really, really good and made a LOT of leftovers.

The second clean recipe I have planned is also from The Gracious Pantry. It’s her Clean Eating Chicken Bok Choy. I can’t say for sure if this will be good, but I LOVE bok choy and the again, ingredients are very simple. I’m looking forward to making this.

I’m a huge fan of The Gracious Pantry in case you hadn’t noticed. I’ve tried maybe ten of her recipes so far, and have yet to meet one I didn’t like. Everything has been SO good, and I like knowing that what I’m eating is good for me. She is such a hardcore clean eater, I know that she is taking a lot of measures to ensure her recipes follow her eating philosophy, which I like. It takes guesswork out of it for me.

So anyway… Yesterday was my birthday and I literally ate junk all day. Thai food, cupcakes, chips and queso, more cupcakes. I decided that it was my birthday and I was gonna eat what I wanted, damnit. And that’s exactly what I did.

Baby steps back into clean eating. Each day gets a little easier to tackle the tasks and goals from my old life; the one I led before all of this shit happened. What once seemed an insurmountable amount of things to take on gets less and less intimidating each day. In the words of the Beatles: “It’s getting better all the time.”