A while back, I mentioned that the only reason I wasn’t going to do the Whole 30 instead of a self-guided “November cleanup” was that I’d already agreed to take on a major catering job in early November. As every cook knows, there are a few things you don’t typically want to serve without tasting them first. Soup is one of them…and, naturally, I had three soups on the menu.
The party took place last night. Leading up to it, I managed to bake several schmancy breads and schmancier desserts, plus an army of appetizers laced with sugar, dairy, grain, unacceptable oils, or all of the above. I spent all day yesterday up to my elbows in fig-walnut cheese balls, sugared cranberries, caramel-pecan tart, pumpkin focaccia, chocolate, butter, cream…you name it, it smelled really good.
And, of course, I was under a lot of pressure…and offered a lot of wine…no thank you, no thank you, no thank you. Smile and concentrate, answer questions about the food, drink water.
But back to the soups. I made three: a Guinness beef stew (which sounds relatively safe, except I dredged the beef in flour before browning it, so it contained gluten from both that and the beer); a clam chowder (which obviously contains a whole lot of dairy, plus a bit more flour); and a vegetarian cashew chili (which features legumes and gets its fantastic flavor from a hit of molasses).
Poison, poison, poison! I know it sounds exaggerated, but read The Paleo Solution, Protein Power Lifeplan, The Primal Blueprint, The Paleo Diet, The Vegetarian Myth, GCBC, The Whole Soy Story, Dangerous Grains, and myriad others. The mere fact that a substance doesn’t kill you instantly doesn’t mean it isn’t deadly. For further information, see “nicotine.”
Anyway, I tasted just a sip of each soup — about a teaspoon — so the physical impact shouldn’t be too bad. Not nearly as bad as it would have been had I given in to a bite (or a slice!) of my speciality — the cheesecake.
I was tempted, of course, as I rolled cheese balls in nuts, sliced breads, browned twice-baked potatoes, and plated the desserts. However, it wasn’t nearly as strong as I expected. I felt it — that physical tug that says “I WANT!” — but it wasn’t overwhelming. A strong, mental “NO!” proved sufficient to curb the urge.
If I knew, I’d tell you. If I could make it easier for you, or for Ironman (who is also quitting, and facing more struggles than I,) I would. Here are my best guesses:
- First off, I have an unusual advantage in that I wasn’t raised on heaps of sugar. Desserts were only occasional in my childhood home; soda and sugary cereals were absent entirely. While I still enjoy sugar as much as the next person, I don’t “expect” it, which makes me less susceptible to addiction-style craving.
- Second, I have eaten a highly compliant primal diet for over a year now, and even in the vegan days before that, I rarely indulged in sweets (though I consumed plenty of sugar, unwittingly, in the form of grains and legumes). I haven’t made daily dips into the candy bowl, weekly pillages of the breakroom doughnuts, or even monthly stops for Haagen Daas. So, I’m only resisting temptation, not breaking a habit.
- Third — and this is the one that you might find useful — I am making a point of bathing my mind continually in the reasons for eating strict paleo. I have a stack of books and a list of websites that I peruse at every opportunity. There’s power in giving “why” to the “what.”
- Finally — this one might help you, too — I made a point of keeping myself well-fueled with satiating foods throughout the day. I started off with a couple duck eggs and greens sauteed in coconut oil, and consumed a mid-day salad packed with diverse veggies plus a large cod fillet and fatty dressing. Just before the party, I ate some berries and walnuts. It worked. While I sometimes wanted to TASTE the party food, I didn’t feel any actual hunger that would compel me to EAT it.
All the same, I’m glad the catering gig is behind me (and the leftovers abandoned in the host’s refrigerator). Now it’ll be that much easier to proceed.