The Food Part:

Gut-friendly food

Gut-friendly food

I’m amazed.  Giving up dairy, sugar and most grains last Monday hasn’t been as hard as it normally is.  The only thing I can think of that accounts for the difference is that I felt really ready and motivated to try this experiment.

Normally when I give up sugar for a month, I think about sweets—ice cream, muffins, and chocolate in any form—hourly.  I’m truly in awe that I’ve been okay…that is until last Thursday—four days in—when I drove by Starbucks.  Now, I’m not a big coffee drinker.  In fact I don’t like it.  Still a couple years ago, I started needing a little caffeine fix on Thursday afternoons.  I get a mocha to mask the taste of coffee and very often I only drink half.  I found myself pining as I drove past the green goddess.  And the urge didn’t dissipate until Sunday.  It didn’t help that I was visiting a friend in New York where Portland’s Stumptown Coffee was in nearly every shop.  Stumptown is my favorite, and I longed to go inside a small coffee house with a good conversation and a warm, frothy beverage.  Why was I craving a treat I don’t indulge in that much and wouldn’t have guess was a favorite?  I think it was in part about a pattern or ritual I’d developed.  I’d gotten used to that treat at that specific moment.  This shouldn’t be an ah-ha moment.  It seems fairly obvious, but it was.

In the past ten days, I’ve also found that if food tastes good, I assume there must be something I can’t eat in it.  This is an important lesson: simple food can taste good.  Last week my dad grilled me chicken in garlic and olive oil.  It was so good, I was sure he’s accidently used some kind of gluten-based, sugar-filled marinade.  Later that week my stepfather made me the best carrots I’d ever put in my mouth.  It turned out that to get creative, he cooked them in the oven under a rack of bacon and let the fat drip down all over those tasty carrots.  I can eat bacon, so it’s not a cheat, and bacon fat makes everything taste illicit, at least if you’re on any kind of diet or healthy lifestyle.

Do I feel better?  Sure.  I always feel better when I eat better, but time will tell if I think it’s worth sticking to.  I don’t love the amount of time it takes to prepare and plan every meal.  Making time is the hardest part.

The Stuff Part:

Piles of items we were purging.  This pile was only a mere 52 items.

Piles of items we were purging. This pile was only a mere 52 items.

I thought purging my household items would be much easier.  I’m not playing the game day-by-day.  My schedule doesn’t have open time like that, but on the weekends I thought Matt and I would purge 100 items each weekend and by the end of the month we’d basically be there.

Last weekend Matt and I gave ourselves an hour to purge 100 items from one room.  The room had gotten out of hand.  It has been a dumping ground for stuff you don’t know what to do with for over a year.  I thought it would be easy, but at the end of the hour we counted up the items we’d collect in the center of the room: 52.  Oh, no.  I wasn’t falling behind my goal this early in the game.  We went for another hour and got over 100.  The experiment is far more time consuming than I thought it would be.

This weekend, after one hour in a different room, we had 64 items.  By the end of the day we had 88.  We didn’t meet our goal.  Throughout the week I am grabbing random objects as I see them and so I’m doing okay with a current total of 242 purged items.  When I realize I still have to get rid of nearly the same amount, I’m a tad nervous about my chances of winning this little game.  I’m also a little disappointed that I’m not willing to let more go.

Also, what’s sad is that we get rid of all this stuff, it’s a struggle, and we haven’t made a dent.  It’s not obvious that stuff is gone.  I thought by the end of this experiment my house would be totally clutter-free.  Matt suggests if we get stuck we just go the attic.  I’m not there yet.  I’d like to make it work using our living space so we can appreciate that there is less stuff.  I’m not throwing in the towel.  I’m still in this game. I’m down a VCR, about 20-decks of playing cards (I kept six decks which is crazy), and five old PC’s we’d never thrown away.  Also, I found my college diploma, which I’d apparently stored in a folder in the corner of our living room under a bunch of old DVD’s.  I’m keeping that, even though Matt suggested that it’s clearly served me no purpose crumpled in the corner.