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: