The Simple Life

Carbs Won’t Get ME

Carbohydrates…wah! I have never had to deal with something this strong in a long time.

I had reduced my intake but over a few weeks the cravings have hit again and hit hard. Every day is different but as I have watched myself the last few weeks it is increasingly clear that carbs need to be handled. It’s the feeling that I want two slices of bread with breakfast, shortly after I pick a biscuit, at lunch I eat a large serving of rice, only to reach for chocolate shortly, followed by a good helping of ugali or chapatti with dinner.

It would be dishonest to say I don’t know what to do in a situation like this. I have to move in the clarity I have found and operate in to make the choice to change and remain true to the path. This morning I realised I have to do something about the carb thing sooner than later because I can see my weight yo-yoing in ways I don’t like and some of the fat I had lost is returning.

I remembered my pregnancy this evening. It was largely free of drama other than a fibroid growing faster than my little one. My doctor had me taking the pregnacare supplement and I loved it; one tablet a day with no fuss. However, I when I didn’t take my daily dose, I had an insane craving for Steers fried chicken. In time I found that the crispy salty skin was what I really wanted and if I ate a piece without the skin I would feel nauseated. What I was really craving was salt, sodium chloride. When I checked with doc she said I needed to get back onto the supplements.

Is the current craving for carbs was a greater sign of a nutrient deficiency.

What carbs do I crave? Bread, chapati, marie biscuits, family biscuits (you need to have grown up with me to understand the love for those biscuits), rice, tortilla chips.

What do I mean crave? Even after I have had a full and satisfying meal, I will go back to the kitchen and grab an extra serving or a couple of biscuits or chips. It is as if I haven’t eaten yet a few minutes ago I was full.

Research shows that a carb craving is likely a sign of a deficiency in nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important component of nucleic acids and protein and a deficiency can result in malnutrition due resultant protein deficiency. The solution is relatively simple meaning the addition of nitrogen-rich foods like fruit and vegetables into my diet.

Who would have thought of this?

On the other hand, the carb craving could also be a chromium deficiency. Chromium is an essential trace metallic mineral needed by the body in very small quantities that can improve insulin sensitivity and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. To deal with this I would need to add foods like onions, grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, or sweet potatoes to eliminate your cravings.

This got me thinking about simple the things that need doing are. It isn’t some big prayer and fasting that this craving goes. It is watching what I eat, how much I eat and finding what can be added into my meals to deal with the deficiency and balance my life. I didn’t fully understand the meaning of having to learn discipline but every day is teaching me more about myself and I’m happy to learn because it restores my balance.

I will also add a detox as I believe it enhances all changes by removing what I don’t need. I love this journey because it isn’t cast in stone and demands that I am 100% real with myself.

The Simple Life

You never know who is changing around you.

I keep being reminded that this life isn’t about me. I am here to live a life that will mirror the plan God has laid out and provide a road map for others.

A cup of tea on a hot day, a slice of bread for breakfast, a slice of homemade cake and a scoop of homemade vegan ice-cream and the list goes on. I have tried many different diets over the years and lifestyles and there are things I like and things I don’t like. I have tried some foods and gagged and tried others and been on the wings of angels. How then do I share a road map with others? How do I help others on the path? Quite simple, be honest about the journey.

You don’t know how much you know until you meet someone who doesn’t – Wanjiku Lucia Mugo

I had some amazing conversations in the last few weeks that made it clear that I have something to share. The thing that is standing out for me is how for so long my life looked rosy on the outside yet it was so broken on the inside. How hard it was to explain to people how vulnerable I was yet they needed me strong and solid. I looked like I was drawing strength from my faith but it stopped working when things weren’t panning out as I planned and prayed they would. Then it all came crashing down. In my early thirties, it all fell apart when I realised just how unhappy I was and how unskilled I was to deal with it.

My faith as I had always practised it imploded and I needed another rudder in life.

In time I found one and it is a deep relationship with God that is outside the structure of religious practise. I stopped going to church and fellowship and dared God to show up and build a relationship with me outside these structure. I dared Him to connect with me, as I am where I am in a way I could understand and boy has he done it! I know many would say that God isn’t at my beck and call, but I found that when He hears a heartfelt cry for Him, He makes it happen. He made it possible in ways I didn’t even know before and my faith begun building. Note the faith was building not rebuilding because there was no foundation left from the implosion…nothing made it through.

Our relationship is very interesting. It is leaning on a pillar and being pleasantly surprised it is so solid. It is being brutally honest without fear of being destroyed. It is understanding that I don’t know it all but He is patient enough to teach me what I need to know. It is understanding love on a new and deeper level

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I learnt to listen to the inner voice and ask questions; to read scripture and find deeper meaning in the word; to pray as simply as I breath rather than have all the ceremony I had known; to fast things that mean something and not the things I wouldn’t miss; to share openly with my people and my village and grow together.

This new place also took a lot of unlearning.

To become healthy, I had to unlearn many things, shift things, realign things. What did I unlearn?

  • Routines of how services and prayer times should run
  • Concepts of who God is and how he deals with people
  • Rules and regulations
  • Culture and tradition that didn’t really add value to my walk with God
  • The belief that God is a policeman waiting for me to fall then he can beat me into submission
  • Fear of failure and being disowned for falling short
  • Conditional love that led to judgment and legalism
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What did I learn in its place?

  • The unconditional love of a father
  • The love of real family
  • To love me and choose me first every time
  • To sit still and mediate
  • To have honest conversations with God about how it is

If you have never known the catastrophic failure of the faith you have and rebuilding of the same, in some ways…it is quite likely that you  haven’t really lived.

The Simple Life

80% Rule

Recently while reading about ikigai, I came across the 80% rule. Before I get to rule, let me explain ikigai. In simple terms, ikigai is the purpose for life. I call it existential fuel, fire in my belly and the reason I am alive. Ikigai is discovered internally and not externally because it is the compass for life, not a map. Living in purpose is really an art and it has many components that include eating and exercise habits.

As we walk towards ikigai, one of the key elements is diet hence the eighty percent rule which states that we should eat until we are only eighty percent full. Yes, eighty percent full! This means that we should be a bit hungry at the end of every meal. Tell that to an African mother or grandmother.

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When we were growing up, it was expected that we should eat a lot. In many instances, it meant that our plates were piled high and we ate until we were beyond full. I remember many times when I visited my friends and their parents would be horrified about how ‘little’ I ate. Even my grandmother at times thought I ate too little. Ha! I was always conscious of the need for everyone to have a portion of whatever was prepared as well as the fact that I needed to take care of my size so I ate carefully. I ate so carefully that I was often teased that I eat leaves and twigs.

When a couple gets married, part of their success or suitability for each other was assessed by weight gain and not one two kilograms. When a woman is pregnant and has the baby the most common thing you hear about food is that you have to eat for two so just go and eat as much as you want. As we navigate work we are told that food is the fuel you need so we eat big meals to keep going and snacks in between. How come no one has ever told us about the eighty percent rule?

As one who has never eaten much, but has always eaten until full, this eighty percent rule really grabs my thinking. It is intriguing because there are whole communities in Japan who thrive on it and are living longer yet I struggle with remaining a little hungry after the meal. How do I rewire my mind and tummy so that when I stop I don’t go back to the serving dish or plate? Some say drink water, but drinking water with or just after a meal isn’t advisable because it dilutes the digestive enzymes and slows down digestion. I’d rather not drink fluids for at least half an hour after food so that digestion happens ASAP.

The recommended ways to achieve the eighty percent rule is to eat smaller portions, drink more fluids especially water and skip dessert. These are doable and I have done them before but now I wonder why it is hard to keep on the light food path. The last few weeks, I am dealing with a new taste for carbs and a return of my love for dark chocolate and dessert. What has changed? How have I shifted? Where are we going with this? I really don’t know.

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What am I doing about it? For a start, none of the usual things for sure! This time I am choosing peace. I will not criticise myself excessively or bang my head on the table as before. I will not ask myself how could you? I will not stress about it all? I will, however, take an honest look at the situation and dig deep to find the triggers and then deal with them. No more surface dealings. There has to be a way to get to eating only eighty percent of what I need.

Off I go to sift my life and find the tools to shift.