Although the time for clarification has probably passed, I realized the other day that I never actually defined clearly the ground rules for this month. So here they are.
- No food with added sugar (specifically, fructose).
- No fruits.
Pretty simple, but in some ways I don’t think they’re getting any easier. I was never in doubt that I could do this. I love rules. I love to follow rules. So following these two rules (by the letter) is fairly straightforward in that I’m not too concerned with whether or not I’ll fail in the strictest sense of failure.
But the deeper issue isn’t about following rules. As I said on Day 3, this month should be primarily about developing good habits, and whether or not I can make the most of this time by going a different way that doesn’t include instant sugar-gratification. It’s about following through on a long-term plan, something that we’ve managed here and there but needed a major kick-start to make permanent. If it’s only about not eating sugar, I’m just going to be angry and bitter this entire time about depriving myself of my absolute favorite foods.
And who wants to be angry and bitter? I admit that it’s been difficult not to be, at least, vaguely depressed about things. To use a wonderfully British turn of phrase, in some ways this challenge really has been the limit.
There have been, however, a few non-sugar highlights that are worth mentioning for their hopefulness. I would have been the last person to tell you this, my friends, but here I am confessing that healthy food can indeed taste good. Case in point: I came across this cauliflower recipe a few days ago, and we happened to have a whole cauliflower sitting in our fridge. So I did something I didn’t think I would ever do—as per the directions, I roasted it and served it with Garlic Tahini Sauce for dinner with nothing else. And it was delicious.
As I reflect upon this past week—already a week—I notice how much more conscious my eating decisions have been, and how unconscious they used to be. A piece of fudge here, a leftover cookie there, and all eaten quickly, most not even savored. We savored that cauliflower. The crispy outer edges, the undertones of sweetness, how well it paired with the sauce. It was glorious. And it didn’t have sugar.
Surely that’s a step in the right direction, even as I take two steps back by looking at recipes for currently forbidden foods. The road of progress is certainly far from smooth. Still, I don’t feel quite as desperate. Week 2, watch out.