Morning: In the morning before I am about to rise, I often contemplate how I’m feeling. For one, I often feel differently in the morning than at night. Sometimes it’s from the glass of wine the night before. But other times, like this morning which was not preceded by wine, my body felt heavy. The thoughts in my mind were “I’m overloading my body”. It was a general thought about the types of foods and drinks I am consuming.

Other days, as I lay in bed, my thoughts are “tonight, we should not have ________.” Or, “this weekend we should go easy on _________.” That blank isn’t always filled in with wine (or rum and coke) but I assure you that blank is never filled in with “carrots or kale”!

Daytime: coming up down below

Evening: In the evening, I often feel “fine” to have a little wine. It’s nice to wind down with a little to relax. Trouble is after 2 glasses (4 oz each), I become invincible and will have a 3rd glass. Another problem with alcohol is snacks. And what’s a few ….err, I mean a bag of Hawkins Cheezies? What’s a “few” going to do to me?

So that’s the beginning and end of day. But let’s go to the middle of the day.

Daytime Defaults

From breakie, as I call it, to dinner, in the current way that I eat (and will soon be changing – that’s the plan), I often fall back on “default choices” that usually include some form or another of wheat. I am increasingly aware of this.

Thanks to previous meal experimentation, my family has some alternative, non-default, meals to those with wheat. But having enough of them is still a work in progress. AND if the alternative to wheat is not ready to go, I’ll “end up” having wheat and “something”.

Recently, I looked at what I’d eaten in a day for veggies. All I’d had that day was asparagus! At least I’d had that. I didn’t count the iceberg lettuce I'd had in my sandwich (!) because while it is a vegetable, Dr. Terry Wahls does not include it in her suggestions for green leafy vegetables and she knows a thing or two about vegetables! She is famous for beating progressive MS through diet changes. She spoke about her experience

in a TED Talk and also wrote “The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles”. She is changing lives with her work and helping people overcome all kinds of autoimmune disorders.

So, if Terry doesn't count iceberg lettuce,  then I’m with her! 

Anyway….Not all my days are like that and in fact, since reading “The Wahls Protocol” I’m looking at my veggies rather differently. 

Wahls breaks the vegetable category down into 3 main separate categories and says “eat from each category every day."  The categories are: leafy greens, deeply coloured veggies and fruits and sulfur-rich veggies:

I find her approach with that very specific delineation and especially her reasons why, more understandable and compelling than “eat the rainbow”. Since starting to read her book a year ago, I’ve been tracking my vegetable consumption and trying to include each category every day. 

But let’s go back to default meals I keep having!

Default meal choices

I don’t know about you but when I’m hungry I don’t choose the broccoli in my fridge as a rule. Instead, I often choose some form of wheat. It’s easy, flexible, uncomplicated, filling, tastes great and, currently it is usually available in my house.

Wheat: You can toast it and slather something yummy on and, Wa-La! You have breakfast. Bake it and you have a snack or lunch. Pour a sauce over it and you have dinner. Mmm....

Have you ever considered the vast flavours of wheat? Just walk into a grocery store and it’s everywhere from the bakery section to most of the middle aisles in the store!

And it’s in most people’s meals! And don’t get me started on corn and sugar! But coming back to me, wheat is in many of my meals, too. Do you consume it in many of your meals?

Why the default meals?

If someone said to you “you can never have cauliflower again” (or if you already don’t like cauliflower, fill in the blank with any vegetable you do like).

“You can never have        (insert vegetable)      again.”

Does that upset you? Or are you, you know, like… “meh. No problem.”

What if I fill in the blank with bread?

How about ….sugar??

Is there a sense of discomfort when I mention those two? For some people I’ve mentioned this idea to, there was definite resistance to the idea of not eating them again. For myself, I still eat those though I have had short periods of times when I have avoided them or ate much less than my usual. But our North American culture is built on those three (wheat, corn, sugar). They are:  

What. We. Eat.

Beginning of New Ideas

Honestly, after some early reading about diet in the ‘90s (“Protein Power” by Eades and Eades) and in particular when I taught First Aid and had to teach CPR, I began to wonder about how we get heart disease, for instance, which we know is preventable (see “Willet” last post).

Do we get heart disease because it “runs in the family”. OR, do we get heart disease (or stroke, or diabetes, etc) because our meal traditions “run in the family”. AND now, it isn’t just that, but also all the pre-fab food in boxes that we often – maybe usually – eat? 

Are we inadvertently passing down through the generations a way of eating that very often leads to illness? And you have to admit, there is a lot of illness of all kinds. Then along comes someone like Dr. Terry Wahls who reverses a disorder that previously was considered permanent. A done deal. But not her and she did it by changing her food choices. She is but one example. YouTube is full of stories of people changing their diet and changing their lives.

But this is a challenge. Deciding to change your diet can bring up that resistance I mentioned above. Is it because it's just so darned tasty, all that "wheaty" goodness? Or is there more to it?

Feeling the Pull

I have to say that these days when I consider what I’m going to eat during the day, when I have available wheat options, I gravitate to those options. They’re easy. They’re quick. They taste good. 

And, they’re satisfying.

I believe it’s that last one that’s a big part of the problem.

There’s something about breads and other wheat products. I have come to believe it’s not just the carbs in the breads, etc, but the sugars, too. Ultimately, carbs just turn into sugar anyway and I’m thinking that it’s what they do to you. They pull you. And it’s weird.

Cute puppy dog "tug-o-war" pictures aside, do you ever feel it?

When I did a 21-Day Paleo challenge a few years ago (Based on the book “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple) and then more recently did a period of several months of focused intermittent fasting along with reduced carbs, I felt a shift in my body each time.

I felt a shift away from the pull of simple carbs. 

I stopped thinking about them and wanting them. I stopped feeling hungry between meals, too. 

It lasted for a few months after each session. But then each time, I let myself shift back. One sandwich here. One cookie there. Two cookies there…. Pizza for dinner. Spaghetti. Cheezies. You get it, I’m sure.

Who’s Responsible?

I have to own the responsibility for what I put in my mouth and I do. That’s why the earlier diet experiments and now the upcoming Elimination Diet. But I also look at [consider?] what the food culture is here in North America (Canada, where I am). I grew up in this culture and its foods. If I lived in India or Morocco, for instance, I’d likely be eating very differently. I don’t know exactly their common foods but I think it’s more veggies and less wheat.

Here, though, I wonder if most people aren’t representing the vegetable kingdom in their diet with iceberg lettuce, tomato sauce or mustard. Wahls suggests the 3 categories of vegetables in order to properly and thoroughly provide the nutrients our mitochondria need to avoid dysfunction and be the powerhouse energy generators they are! And just how does this work? Well, according to Medical News

"Mitochondria convert chemical energy from the food we eat into an energy form that the cell can use. This process is called oxidative phosphorylation."1

From reading "The Wahls Protocol" I have learned that our mitochondria are key to keeping us strong and helping us avoid disease. You need them working right to have optimal health. BUT they need – NEED – the right foods to function properly.

And, I wonder: if our cells are unwell due to a lack of the right fuel to sustain them AND if we are also loading our bodies down with unhelpful and possibly/probably detrimental “foods” (cheezies, sure, but even sandwiches, etc.), is it any wonder that so many people are sick with so many different diseases beyond heart disease? [Note, I decided not to worry about getting a statistic on rising health problems in North America. I think we know people are sick. LOTS of people have all manner of diseases and disorders. Actually – and isn’t this sad – it’s normal to get sick, isn’t it.] 

………whoa! It shouldn’t be!

Bad Fuel

If we know that we can’t put regular gasoline in a diesel vehicle and expect it to run properly, why do we figure ….why do I figure this non-healthy food will be okay in my body?

Oh! I know! …really, I just thought of this…. 

The car with the wrong fuel put in it will almost immediately stop running properly if it even runs at all. Multiple answers in Google say “if it runs, it won’t run long and it will burn out your engine”….paraphrasing all the answers I saw.

However, because our bodies are SO resilient and they do everything in their power to stay healthy, it can take years – YEARS – to really see the effect of poor food “fuel”. But eventually our bodies ‘poop out’.

For example, think “adult-onset diabetes” which generally used to occur in people’s 40s. But, as I understand it, that was just when their pancreas finally couldn’t take so much sugar anymore (from all the carbs from wheat and other high carb foods) and their system stopped working properly. If you have not heard of “adult-onset diabetes” lately, it’s because the pancreas just gives out when it gives out and today, it’s in younger and younger individuals due to even more sugar consumption. The medical community seems to have dropped the name “adult onset” and simply calls it Type 2 Diabetes now. (I know there's a little more to it including insulation resistance but anyway.....)

Diabetes is bad, of course, but I haven’t even talked about a newish buzz about foods like wheat and sugar what excess of this apparently does to us: inflammation. But I’m going to pass on that rabbit hole for now.

Can "Default" be "Redirected"? I hope so!

In the end, even if there are outside influences, I DO have to own the responsibility for my own well-being. We all do. In my case, for my upcoming Elimination Diet that I am hoping and anticipating will help reverse my unwellness (more on that in a future post), I will be trying to set up strategies to help me deal with the pull to the foods I want to avoid for the duration. I want to redirect my "default" choices.

For instance, taking the coffee maker off the counter and putting it away in the basement (will reduce the sugar and dairy I consume and the caffeine). Removing bread, crackers, etc from the cupboards (for the wheat and corn). Emptying the fridge of bottles of no-no items. (I have to admit I hesitated writing that last one. We have lots of bottles in our fridge.) Anyway, you get it. Remove temptations. And, instead, have good options handy to help me make better choices.

I want to stop the default choices. I want to feel light and energetic in the morning and throughout the whole day. I want to get to sleep at night AND stay there! I want to feel good. 

I’m generally a happy person but I think I haven’t truly felt good – physically good – for a very, very long time. Soon, I want to be able to say: 

“It’s surprising just how good I feel.”

How about you?

Do you feel good?
Have you taken steps to improve your health?
Are you thinking about it?

Please feel free to leave a comment down below and share your thoughts and experience.


I made my 6th experimental meal in preparation for the start of my Elimination Diet beginning in May. I made Beef Tips. It’s okay but not great. Even the picture doesn't look so good! Oh well....trial and error and eventually success!!



Photo Credits:

Dinner setting photo by Karen Sewell on
Wine and cheezies photo by D. Ford
Flour photo by Mae Mu on
Spaghetti dinner photo by D. Ford
Cute puppy tug-o-war photo by Rebecca Campbell on

Photo Credits continued:

Veggie collage:
   Green leafy veggies photo by Brian McGowan on
   Color veggies photo by engin akyurt on
   Broccoli photo by Shelley Pauls on
   Onions and garlic photo by Romina BM on
Bread bags photo by D. Ford
Gas into car photo by engin akyurt
Beef tips in crock photo by D. Ford

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