My family and I, along with most of our CSA members are committed to a “Low Crap Diet”. This means that we choose real food instead of processed, high carb, high chemical, high sugar options. The thing about eating like this is that it requires work. We cook most meals, and spend plenty of time dreaming up creative ways to cook real food, washing, slicing, dicing, and cooking. It can get old; hence the Crap Creep problem.
The Crap Creep is when, despite your best intentions, you find that several times during the week, junk happens. Then, the next thing you know, it is happening every day. Crap Creep can seem so hard to eat healthy, and it makes you think it’s much easier to just eat whatever. Surely it really isn’t that bad for us. After all, most Americans seem to eat like that every day.
Well, it is bad. I promise. The problem is that when you eat junk food, you rarely get sick right that minute and have to get rushed off to the hospital. Bad food is more insidious. It causes diseases that show up over time, or are difficult to directly attribute to what you are eating. This includes things like unstable blood sugar, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, mood problems, behavioral problems, gut problems, skin problems, allergy problems, and even sleep issues and mental disorders. Then, we go to the doctor to get treated (not cured) for any one (or many) of these issues. We buy some meds we are told we will need to take the rest of our life; meds that often further compound the issues. It is really important to avoid the crap creep and hold the healthy eating line.
Here are the main reasons I end up with crap creep:
- I am tired. I just don’t have it in me to cook something, and my brain is not feeling creative enough to put something together. This is a really tough one. A good solution is to be sure that the fridge is well stocked with healthy options. If nothing else, I can have Jay throw something on the grill and I’ll chop up a salad. That doesn’t take too much effort or creativity. If the fridge has no options, I’m doomed.
- I am traveling. This one is hard because good food is hard to find on the road and normally costs money. My solution is to be sure to build in enough time to actually sit down for a real meal and do my best to make it include protein and low carb veggies. If I know the next meal will be difficult, I will actually order a to-go meal as well and drag it along with me. Staying hydrated also helps.
- I get tired of missing out on some of my favorite foods that are not healthy. Things like ice cream, a slice of birthday cake, a fat burrito, or a piece of pizza. I can sort of solve this by cooking alternatives that are pretty tasty. Things like pizza with a cauliflower crust or a big taco salad. There is no substitute for Hagen Das, so I simply try to clearly classify that as a “cheat” and limit that to no more than once a month. If in my mind I am clear that some things are junk and concede that it is a rare cheat, it prevents me from making excuses for what it actually is (Crap) and allowing it to be a regular part of my life.
- Everyone else is eating all these things and there is nothing else available at this event. This is one of the hardest. My solution is to avoid high junk situations, or if I must go, try to not go hungry and politely decline the invitation to hit the buffet counter. This does sort of leave me feeling like a weirdo, but I think to eat healthy and be healthy, we are going to have to be slightly weird.
My final advice on this subject is to try to keep the crap out of the house. Do a kitchen and pantry purge, and eliminate everything that is not going to nourish your family. I hear a lot of excuses about why kitchens are full of junk. The most common is “I have kids and so I have to have this stuff’. WHAT??? How can we possibly decide that this junk is not good for us and will cause a host of degenerative health problems, and then feed it to the kids and grandkids?! I know that kids may struggle with the transition to healthy foods. It is worth that struggle. You are setting the stage for the rest of their lives. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that eating healthy is just about maintaining a healthy weight. It is about health! This means it includes everyone in the family, including the children and the skinny people! Clear the pantry! Fill the fridge with health! Keep the Crap Creep at bay. Your life and the lives of those you love are worth the trouble!
Eat your veggies.
If you need help cleaning out your pantry/fridge, or help with real food menu planning, you can contact CSA member Dana Ramsey, Organic Eater, who offers coaching and support for the Low Crap Lifestyle!