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Can’t vs. Don’t

I’m working on the way I perceive the food choices I need to make on a daily basis. It truly is an exercise in mental fortitude. I’m discovering how much my emotions come in to play when I’m presented with making a decision about what or what not to eat.

I have also discovered that it’s much easier to make good choices when I’m feeling great and energized. Whereas when fatigue has set in hard, or I’m PMSing and feeling crappy anyway, it’s much easier to make bad choices.

I recently came across a fantastic post over at Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, Foods to Enjoy, which has encouraged me to switch my thinking about food choices from “I can’t eat that.” to “I don’t eat that.” What a difference one word can make!

It is important to just say, I don’t eat this anymore and be done with it, rather than tormenting yourself with what you are ‘missing out on’.

And boy, have I been tormenting myself!

I need to plan ahead so that I’m prepared for the times when I’m emotionally down and tempted to lift my spirits with food I DON’T eat anymore. Food is my medicine. I’m taking a dose each and every time I eat. If my dose is bad, it’s going to hurt… and it does. It’s probably like missing a daily/weekly shot, if I had chosen that type of treatment.

Various fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains; ...

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So… planning ahead… what does that look like?

Predetermined options to combat cravings.

I may have to research this a bit. What could I replace for a fast food burger craving? Something salty, perhaps.

Don’t get caught with your pants down.

Always have the right food choices available, else I am at risk of taking a bad dose. We have gotten in the habit of making sure there are always veggies & chicken in the freezer, so I’ve almost got this one covered. I think we just need to get into a good habit of buying more, bulk style, so my pantry doesn’t get caught with its pants down. So instead of one bag of veggies, buy two.

Food prep.

Life is just fantabulous when I take the time to do this. And really, it doesn’t take that much time. An example would be to chop up a cup of walnuts to put on my salads for lunch at work. Easy peasy, right? I just have to be diligent about setting aside the time to do this (well, not just chopping walnuts!). Sundays seem to be an ideal day. And if Sunday is taken up by something else, I still need to set aside the time.

Meal planning.


It seems easy. It seems productive.


I would definitely need help from the husband and kids to make this work.

Plan for eating out.

For restaurants, look up their menu online. If they don’t have one, call and ask about their gluten/dairy free options. If they don’t have any, suggest some restaurants that do. If there aren’t any, move.

For eating at other people’s houses, politely inquire as to what will be served. If you don’t eat any of it, make your own dish and bring it to share. It’s an opportunity to share how good healthy eating can taste!

This is something I’ve been doing and it’s worth it. I made gluten/dairy free pumpkin bars that were a hit at a birthday celebration this past weekend. I was so proud of myself!

To sum up.

  • Practice trading out the word can’t for don’t: I don’t eat ice cream! (and I haven’t for some time now)
  • Plan, prepare, anticipate, look ahead…
  • Have fun with trying new things!

Oh, and I just received my Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis book today! I am looking forward to reading it!


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