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A Sour Month Part 4

(post, Trista Cornelius)

End of week two, beginning of week three…

I swear I don’t eat that many sweets, but going sweet-free is so hard!  Like last March, it’s taking me about three weeks to stop craving dessert.  Week two was particularly hard.  I’d rationalized some great reasons why I shouldn’t do this, but before I finished explaining my reasoning to my husband, he cut me off with an understanding but firm smirk.  I’d been explaining that maybe my metabolism, my lifestyle, the unique nature of my being require that I eat sweets regularly, that going sweet-free could actually be damaging me…  It sounded logical in my mind, but even I could hear how weak the argument was when I started saying it aloud.  

Last Friday, I had a near-meltdown with chocolate chips that I choose to see as a moment of triumph.  I mean, you only reach greatness by risking failure, right?  

It was Friday afternoon, the last week before finals (aka:  I was exhausted), and I just needed that little pick-me-up, a moment of relaxation, a mindless indulgence.  You know where this is going, right?  To the baking drawer and the bag of dark chocolate chips.  

When I’m stressed and tired, a dangerous combo, I zone out on the sofa eating chocolate chips, letting them melt a little, then crunching away, the deep richness oozing down my throat as I stare off into space.  

The problem is, I eat and eat and eat until I’ve consumed at least two cups of chocolate chips, probably more.  It’s the quantity as much as the chocolate and sugar.  The freedom to indulge, consequences be damned.  A moment to give up all responsibility and sense of consequences.  

I’d decided to do this on Friday.  There was only a third of the bag left.  I knew I would have to tell my husband about it.  I decided I didn’t care.  This is just too hard, and finals week is coming, all those papers to grade; I deserve this.  I opened the bag, selected a small handful to begin (just three chips), and popped them in my mouth.

I let them melt the whole way.  I eyed the rest of the bag.  I paid attention to the taste.  A little bitter.  I either needed to shovel more chips mindlessly and not notice the mild dissatisfaction, or I needed to put the bag away.

I put the bag away.

My husband exclaimed, “Three chocolate chips?!?” and compared it to him eating three pieces of chicken (remember he’s meat-free for March).  I emphasized the tiny nature of these three chips and pointed out my triumph.

I did not indulge.  I did not compulsively eat the entire bag just to get it out of the house and over with.  I did not turn off my mind.  I also did not find any sweet escape from my life, but my life is not so bad, not bad at all actually, and my students are doing well, and after finals is spring break, so what do I have to worry about?  

The next day, as I whined to my husband and best friend over the weekend, “…not even any muffins!  I mean, I just wanna a muffin…”  One of them asked me about sugar-free recipes.  I thought of my friend Wendy Gabbe’s book “Scatter Sweets," which is vegan and gluten-free, and which has the chocolate smoothie recipe I’ve been making.  Could there be anything else sugar free?  

Yes!  

Blueberry muffins!  Cheating?  No!  My husband reminded me that Meatless/Sweetless March is about adventure and exploring alternatives.

So, on Sunday, I made fruit-sweetened blueberry muffins.  Perfect!  Sweet relief...