Posts Tagged ‘temptation’


February 10, 2010 1 comment

Last night I had a dinner meeting at a board member’s house.  I was excited, because she’s a great cook.

This is a foodie family.  They love good food and wine – and there was plenty. For our casual meeting, she provided several appetizers.  Tomatoes and mozzarella in olive oil, garlic and basil.  Small dogs in bacon.  Goat cheese the size of quarters,covered in chives.  Stuffed mushrooms, with sauteed bread.  Sopressata.   Jim asked me if I needed any wine.

“Oh no.  No drinking for me.”


Nope.  I usually provide a bottle, and also drink it.

So I ate sopressata, picked out the tomatoes and tried a couple of the dog/bacon bites.  I’m sure it was probably processed or cured with sugar, so I decided, after a couple, to stop.  I’ve been having trouble finding bacon without sugar.

We then sat around the table.  Dinner.  Penne and Vodka sauce.  Before me, a challenge to all I knew about civility and manners.  Because there is one rule I’ve almost always followed:  eat what you’re served.   Maybe not all of it, but some of it.

I didn’t know what to do.

Sit there and not eat anything?  Should I give it back?  Everyone else began to eat.  They all began to murmur:  It was soo goooodLaura, what did you put in this? Cream?  Wow.

Within five minutes one person had gone back for seconds.

I picked up my plate and took the hostess aside, who wasn’t sitting down.

“I’m sorry, Laura.  It looks fabulous.  I’m not eating pasta.”

“Oh!  I totally forgot!” She said.  “What do you eat?”

“The normal.  Filet Mignon, Truffles in a light saffron cream sauce, Southern Bluefin Tuna.  I mean, meat, vegetables, nuts and fruit.”  I smiled.  “I’m not hungry.  I’ll have some of the sopressata.”  She was quite apologetic.  I shrugged.

After we finished, I sat next to her in the living room.  I wanted to assure her that it was not her, but me.  She apologized.  “No, I should have reminded told you,” I said.

“Yes, you should have!”

Normally, if I’m in such a situation and on a restrictive diet, I would have a little.  I wouldn’t finish it, but consume the amount the size of my hand – Zone quantities.  But not on these thirty days.  I might make that a rule:  pasta only when forced to, in extreme circumstances, for the sake of social harmony.  Not at parties, where people don’t care and there is a variety of hors d’oeuvres, but when people are watching.    Then a small amount of pasta may be endured, if it doesn’t kill you.    This time, however, for 30 days, I’m remaining obnoxious as an extreme social and physiological experience.

Fortunately, I wasn’t hungry.  The benefit of the paleo diet is that I’m hungry less.  My eating seems to be habitual, merely because food is present.   Yet, I’m still losing weight.

Later, she brought out dessert.  Key lime pie.  Chocolate chip cookies, all home made, still warm.  I’m sure if the chocolate chip cookies could talk they’d say, “hey you.  Stop staring.”

Trusting in my own discipline, I wrapped some up and brought some home.  For my brother.   Resisting kindles more resistance.

But on this cold day, a part of me dreams of Hot Chocolate, especially as a reward for shoveling.



January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I had a dream I was at work and started eating some curry my brother had made.  I started eating the potatoes.  And then I stopped, shocked, that I had made such an error.

But it was so good.

Later in the dream I made the same mistake.   With rice.


January 27, 2010 2 comments

Once a week, every Tuesday, I have hotel food.  I’m a member of a service club that meets weekly at the Crown Plaza in White Plains.

Usually I’m repsonsible about my choices.  I have a big salad, lots of vegetables, the meat of choice and one small potato.  I usually just have vinegar on the salad.  I never have dessert, even though they have an enticing selection.  Cheesecake, chocolate fudge, and a key lime pie are the normal choices.  And fruit.

I steered away from the vegetables.  I know how they are cooked:  a pound of butter.  Usually I forgive this, but not now.   I took two pieces of pork that had no sauce on them, and scraped off what I could.   I didn’t want to take the chance that the sauce would have flour:  the normal constituent part of a deep roux.  The flavor in whatever was rubbed onto the fat was enough.

Following Paleo would be tough for anyone who is in regular social situations.  I’m involved a lot in community events.  The week before the challenge I had a Martin Luther King breakfast where they served sausage, eggs, grits and orange juice.  Two evenings later at a YMCA event, the sponsoring restaurants would serve such delicious dishes as steaks on white bread; shrimp po’ boys in hot dog buns; pumpkin ravioli; pastrami sandwiches; chicken tikka on rice.   Paleo nightmares.  Fantasies for most.

Today the service club had a big birthday party, the 90th birthday of one long time member of the club.  There was singing, stories, and a very big cake.   In this case, a vanilla butter cream white cake with a chocolate filling.

I was the only person at the table who said, “no thank you.”  I can proudly say I said it with confidence.  As I said it, I thought, I do not need those toxins in my body.

I watched them consume.  I had the fantasy of saying to them, “You realize you’re killing yourself.  You’re destroying your bodies.  You’re encouraging slavery in Florida.  It doesn’t need to be this way.”  I didn’t.  Still, I wavered between horror and envy, wanting to feel the sensation of a velvety cream frosting upon my lips and tongue.

Inevitably, some compromises will be made.  I will probably, after the 30 day challenge, have a couple vegetables, even if steeped in butter from bad cows.  But I’ll continue to refrain from the potatoes, even though they looked pretty good, roasted, salty, inviting.

Dinner I could control:  leftovers.  Cod curry over broccoli, and a spinach salad.   The curry tasted better after a couple days, the flavors mingling, and more robust.  My lady friend thought it was a little salty the previous evening, but Cod requires salt.

The work out was 5 x 5 – 185 lb backsquats.  I had a longer day, so as I didn’t go to Stamford, my form wasn’t perfect.  I’m still not very flexible on my squat, but I was able to push myself up when I let the weight push me down.  I did do 4 strong minutes of rowing, and 10 minutes of run-walking in my new Vibram shoes.

And I weighed myself.  It was encouraging.

But I’ll wait to share the details.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , , ,

Watch Out!

January 26, 2010 4 comments

It’s easy to let habits get the best of you.

This morning I went to a coffee shop for coffee.  I went to the corner.  Poured myself their regular roast.  And instinctively, as if I were a zombie, went to the dairy section, and poured myself some milk.  I stopped after one second.

I didn’t want milk.  I didn’t crave it.  It was merely habit.

Of course, I went back, got myself a black cup of coffee.  My body moved before my mind.  It’s how I will sabotage this journey.

Then there are the hidden ingredients.  I was looking at a promising fruit and nut bar.  It had some sugar-like glaze on it so I checked the ingredients.  It wasn’t the glaze, but that the ingredients in the dried cherries and cranberries already had sugar.

It’s one way dried fruit is particularly deceptive.  Even dried fruit may have added sugar.

Check the ingredients.  For now,  I’m giving up all dried cranberries and raisins for 30 days, unless I’m sure they’re free of any added sugar.  I’m not going to feel guilty about being deceived.  I will, however, freely feel irritated.

Temptation #2

January 25, 2010 1 comment

My brother, who lives with me, made some chocolate chip cookies last night.  Inspired, my housemate went out to get some milk and made some brownies, which he left right square in the middle of the kitchen.

Normally, if I were my thoughtless self, I’d just have a piece.  Then another.  Then another.  In another time, it would have been breakfast.

Fortunately he makes them from a box.

I walked around it and considered it just another blog entry.

My brother placed the cookies up and out of sight.   Fan later moved the brownies as well.

It’s not that hard right now because I’m focused.  I have plenty of alternatives in the refrigerator.  I’ve got a half pound of sliced turkey, marinated olives and cut up carrots for snacks.  I even have Larabars.

I do not need box made brownies.  They are signifiers of all that has ever been wrong with modern food.  I reject them, no matter what instant pleasure they may give me.

No to brownies, made by Duncan Hines, placed in the middle of the kitchen.

I’m sure they’re taking bets to see when I’ll succumb.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , ,

Temptation #1

January 25, 2010 1 comment

On Saturday night, a couple friends of mine and I went to a little club in Harlem to listen to some world music.  A friend of my lady is in a group that does some pretty fat harmonies.  It’s old school R&B with a little funk.   They were phenomenal.

As it was my first evening out, I was feeling strong and mentally prepared.   I’ve been getting my mind around this for a few weeks, so on the first night,  nothing, at least nothing of the usual sort (an offer to share a bottle of 2005 Romanee Conti might … no would, be an unusual circumstance), could possibly tempt me.  I envisioned myself drinking seltzer water with a little lemon all night, and if we ate, I’d get a salad.

But when I first walked in, my eyes immediately fell on the beer handles.  They had some excellent choices.  Dogfish 60minute; Brooklyn Lager; and a couple other microbreweries that indicated some thought and taste.   My two friends ordered house wines.

The wines weren’t a problem.  It’s an unusual bar that has an excellent house wine.  They were satisfactory for the company, but a poor excuse for giving up the challenge.  I didn’t think twice.  I could tell they’d be tart single note fruit bombs.

The problem was the food.

For most of the evening it was standing room only, but after an hour we were able to get a couple seats at the bar.  Fan and Jen ordered guacamole with chips, plantains with hot sauce, and a Mediterranean plate.   This was my first challenge.

I knew that guacamole was OK.  Plantains, as well.  But the variety on the plate I would have to study.  And I couldn’t dip.  There were no veggies to dip.  Just pita bread and sesame chips.  I took one of the forks and just plunged into the guacamole and the eggplant.  Fan suggested the hummus.  In spite of it being considered healthy by most, it was still off limits.

I guessed that the pickles were sweet and avoided them.  The eggplant, however, had a sweet sensation upon my palate.  It wasn’t cloying; it was a sweetness that I guessed would come from a sort of vinegar.

This is one of the challenges of eating out:  it’s not what one knows – its what one doesn’t know.  I’m going to assume that the sweetness in the eggplant was not sugar.  Fortunately, I avoided all the other carbs that evening.  I didn’t drink anything except water, while my friends finished several glasses of an Italian house red.

Still, that night I my mind was foggy.  I felt like I had a headache, and I hadn’t had a glass.

Melissa Urban remarks that “black coffee is not that hard.”  She’s right.  But there is no getting around that one needs to be tenacious and diligent:  qualities that I’m learning only through brute necessity.  In a soft culture, it’s easy to be soft, lazy, thoughtless.  These thirty days are to learn something different.

First day, complete.

Categories: Diet, Food Tags: , , ,