A Former Dieter’s Guide to Microgreens
I’ve been dieting for as long as I can remember. Second grade marked the first year my doctor would suggest I lose weight. It was not the last. If you think that eight years old is too early to start dieting, you are absolutely right. Sadly, I have a feeling that many readers will relate. Despite my long, tenuous journey with my body image, I never reached my “goal weight”. That’s because diets are a scam. I’m not talking about living a healthy lifestyle. I’m talking about the toxic cycle of shame and restriction that is diet culture.
In my experience, dieting has only perpetuated my strained relationship with food. Despite countless attempts to slim down, I always ended up weighing more after any given diet than before I began. Experts theorize this experience to be common because those who “follow a rigid ‘all or nothing’ diet approach may [more likely fail] to stick with their diet and tend to regain weight in the long-term.”1 Many dieters restrict too much, making their new meal plan unsustainable. The more drastic your new diet, the bigger a chance you’ll crash and burn.
Be honest- how many times have you caved in for a midnight snack, telling yourself that you’ll “start tomorrow”?
Dieting is proven to intensify the sensation of hunger.
We can’t blame ourselves for breaking fast. Traci Mann writes that “individuals in a deprived state experience more hunger, and feelings of hunger remain increased for deprived individuals even after eating a regular meal.”2 Dieting not only sets you up for a binge episode but puts long term stress on the body. An article published by The University of Exeter explains that our brains interpret dieting as periods of famine, resulting in the storage of more fat cells.3 Even if you see results in the short term, there’s no promise those pounds will stay off.
Of course, when one diet fails, there are endless more to try.
A five-minute scroll on Instagram will open your eyes to trending diets that promise scientifically impossible results. “Drink lemon water every morning to shed ten pounds in a week.” “Give up gluten, you’ll be a new person!” Dieters fond of the “ketogenic diet” boast about losing tens pounds in a matter of a few short weeks- a disturbing caloric deficit to say the least. Keto enthusiasts acclaim their fast results to be an effect of glucose deprivation, causing the body to go into “ketosis”. When the body is in ketosis, large amounts of fat can be lost very quickly… but at what cost?
The ketogenic diet, originally used to control epilepsy in children, has now become mainstream.4 Unfortunately for dieters, the long-term effects of using a high-fat ketogenic diet for weight loss isn’t well researched yet. From popularized keto recipes on the internet, one can imagine it isn’t the best regimen for the body. Bacon cheeseburgers are keto without the bun. You can have a keto coffee by using butter instead of cream. Bacon makes an appearance in nearly every overhyped ketogenic recipe. One can only imagine what all this butter and bacon will do to your heart…
The cycle never ends.
When so many people are clogging their arteries in hopes of shedding pounds, it’s difficult to believe dieting isn’t just about appearance. I know I’ve been sucked in by promises of “fast results”, even if it means a liquid diet. The results weren’t fast- in fact the results never came. Juice cleanse, Atkins, the Whole 30- all diets that made me gain weight. We are always either “dieting” or “cheating on our diets”. Constantly bouncing from one extreme to another is stressful for the body and the mind.
Therefore, it’s obvious why my elementary crash diets were such a bust. No sustainable change happens overnight. After more than fifteen years in the vicious cycle, I’m finished dieting. I still have health goals I’m working towards, but they no longer involve letting myself go hungry or giving up sugar. I always told myself I would eat sweets without guilt after I achieved my “dream body”. I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to nourish my body and enjoy food, starting now.
Turns out that’s easier said than done. I tend to think of things as either black or white, so I’m new to the idea of a “balanced diet”. It’s not often I leave a pint of ice cream unfinished. My journey with Giant Gorilla Greens began with me promising to myself that I would take steps towards a healthier lifestyle. I haven’t given up on that- in fact we’re just getting started. I’m committed to improving my relationship with food, starting one meal at a time.
If you are a returning reader of the blog, you probably know that I hate vegetables. Except for potatoes- but even then, toppings are a must. In order to adopt a more balanced diet, I needed to get over my fear of veggies. There’s no balanced diet that doesn’t include micronutrients from plants. The antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in vegetables are vital for the body to function and thrive. Like a child, I couldn’t get myself to choke them down.
Then came microgreens.
Fluffy and mild, microgreens proved to be an easy stepping-stone to getting more plants into my diet. I started out small, a few microgreens mixed into my noodles or a handful on my bagel in the morning. As I got used to them, I found myself unable to enjoy a bagel without the microgreens. That is absolutely mind blowing to me. Now that I’m stuck eating from home, I find myself eating microgreens at every meal, it doesn’t feel like such a big struggle either. They are so soft, I swear they would blend in with ice cream if I needed it to. I haven’t tried it yet, but if I ever hit rock bottom, I’ll let you guys know first.
For the first time in my life, I feel energized and satiated after a meal.
Having treated my body like a garbage fire my entire life, the food I normally eat makes me feel sluggish, irritable, and nauseous. Microgreens have allowed for me to experience the pleasure that food can give to my body. I’m getting more vitamins and minerals into my diet than ever, and I don’t even have to eat salads. In greens and purples, these microgreens make any plate gorgeous- and with up to 40X the nutrients of their full-grown counterparts! If you told me a year ago that I would be eating greens on a daily basis, I would have told you there was a higher chance of a global pandemic. Here we are.
Microgreens have opened my world to foods I swore against a year ago. Beets are my absolute least favorite food, but I love the little purple beet microgreens in the House Salad Microgreens Mix. The mild flavor of these fuschia microgreens make it easy to reap the benefits of the beet plant. From fighting lung cancer and vision loss lowering your risk of heart disease- the House Salad Microgreens Mix does it all. For something crunchier, I go for the Sunflower Microgreens. Not only do they have a sweet flavor, but they add a snap to my favorite recipes. These sunflower microgreens help your body fight infection and work as a cough remedy! Check out GGG’s blog post on the benefits of Sunflower Microgreens to learn why you need them in your fridge!
The bottom line is, you can’t expect yourself to make a lifestyle change overnight. Take it from me, I’ve had more success with baby steps than I ever had with a diet I found on the internet. Microgreens have opened my eyes to a new world full of foods that actually make me feel good. What’s your excuse? I guarantee you won’t look back.
1“Black and White Thinking May Hinder One's Ability to Maintain a Healthy Weight.” Black and White Thinking May Hinder One's Ability to Maintain a Healthy Weight: (EUFIC), 2015, www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/black-and-white-thinking-may-hinder-ones-ability-to-maintain-a-healthy-weig.
2Mann, Traci. “Why Do Dieters Regain Weight?” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, May 2018, www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2018/05/calorie-deprivation.
3University of Exeter. "Yo-yo dieting might cause extra weight gain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2016. < www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161205113908.htm>.
4“Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss.” The Nutrition Source, 22 May 2019, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/.