Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Off the Wagon

And man, am I ever. Last time I wrote about quitting sugar forever. I did pretty well, too, for about a month. Then I realized that I hadn't really lost any weight, or noticed any other changes other than that the one time I cheated to eat birthday cake with Robert and Jason, I felt like total shit all night long. I can't remember exactly when I decided to eat sugar again, just to suffice to say that I did. And I'm done playing around. Girl Scout cookies? Donuts? Peeps? Bring that shit on. I still have moderation issues, and probably always will- you should have seen me tearing into those Thin Mints the other night like a hungry dog on a hambone. I'm now trying to limit my sugar intake to every other day, so that I'm getting roughly half the sugar/calories I would be getting. It's a start.

Something I Never Would Have Touched with a Ten Foot Pole that I Now Worship

Last week I was making one of my many trips to the supermarket and wandered into the natural foods/fake meat/crunchy people section, as I often do. I almost never stop to browse the first aisle, where they keep all of the body builder bars and protein powders- mostly because I am still working my way through the big cannister of chocolate protein powder that I bought 2 years ago. But I had recently read something about egg white protein powders, blah blah, and wanted to see just how overpriced they were. It was there that I saw the rack of Cliff Bars.

I never would have eaten these things about a year ago. First off, they say 'snack' to me, and I never was a big snacker- and really, I'm still not. I've pretty faithfully done the "4 small meals" thing for years, mostly because I find that snacking quite often makes me even hungrier. Second, even if I would eat them as a snack, I have this weird thing about '200 calories or less' for a snack, because otherwise you might as well just add something and make it a meal. Cliff Bars have between 220 and 260 calories per bar. That just seems like a lot for something you can finish in about 7 bites. As a matter of fact, I bet that if a year ago I saw you eating a Cliff Bar and I knew you weren't about to go run a marathon, I'd slap it out of your hand and into the gutter.

But there they were in the store, on sale, $10 for 10. And they were in so many delicious flavors. White chocolate macadamia nut. Maple nut. Peanut toffee buzz. Chocolate brownie. I couldn't take it. I had to buy them. And now I'm addicted. I can totally rationalize my decision, too. First off, for the same calories as a candy bar, you get (in general) 20% of your daily fiber and 22% of your daily protein (PS- always eat a protein with your carbs. Always.) This also makes them a great breakfast, especially for me- now that I'm back to my job at the historical society I'm finding myself constantly rushing to get out the door, leaving no time for a sit down breakfast, or even anything that needs heating up (big change from the Children's Museum, where I had a microwave right on my dressing table and was never more than an hour away from a break to eat.)

I really like Cliff Bars because they make me feel healthy. Maybe it's the little rock climber man on the package. With all that delicious, peanut buttery protein in my tummy, I too could climb a rock! They make me want to go camping. Of course, for me, camping is an excuse to smoke and drink wine and play cards and listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd and go swimming topless, not to rock climb or anything, but still, I could enjoy these whilst in a tent. They also burn pretty slowly, so I'm not ravenous by lunchtime. They're also surprisingly low fat, which I've said before isn't a huge deal to me, but that's just another reason why they are far superior to Snickers. If you love yourself, you will go buy a Cliff Bar.

Another Foray into the World of Calorie Free

I've made the ill advised journey down the 'sugar free' aisle at the grocery store many times, but I thought I had learned my lesson when I had the misfortune to try the sugar free caramel syrup. Well, I clearly don't learn, because today I purchased a jar of Walden Farms Marshmallow Dip. Last weekend some friends and I were discussing our favorite binge foods, and one of them was marshmallow creme. That shit is so good, but damn, is it LETHAL. So how could I turn down marshmallow dip that claims to be calorie free? That's right, no calories. I don't even know how that's possible. It's like a dream. So I bought it. Of course, I had to buy graham cracker sticks to go along with it.

You guys are so lucky that I sacrificed myself so that you wouldn't have to. This stuff is NASTY. It tastes like congealed sugar free vanilla coffee creamer, and has about that consistency. It tastes nothing like a marshmallow, I'll tell you that much. Luckily, the cinnamon flavoring in the graham crackers covered up the foulness of the dip, and Lord knows I'll probably give it another shot, but good Lort. Don't waste your money. I feel so bad for diabetic people. They have no choice but to eat this crap.

That's all for now! What calorie free things have you tried?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

No more sugar EVER!

Happy New Year, all. I spent mine at a punk bar and then at a swanky hotel party and finally in bed with two of my gays watching Sondheim- the common events of my life, all compressed neatly into six hours. I already had one resolution- to learn to read music and play piano (not that I feel the need to do any of these things well, but I do a damn mess of singing so it's time I learn a little.) I think last year's were to get more sleep (which I do- I just can't hang like I used to in my younger days), to quit smoking (yeah, that happened) and to eat healthier. I definitely ate healthier this year than I ever have before, but I still have this nasty habit of overdoing it. I think I have gluttony or greed issues. I can't be content with one piece of pizza or one scoop of ice cream- I have to eat it until I'm full and couldn't eat another bite. This is why I tend to cook just enough for one (or 3, if I'm feeding the family.) But I realize my worst trigger, and now that I have seen the light, I know the truth and wonder why I was blind for so long. So I bit the bullet.

I gave up sugar.

I told this to a friend last night and his reply was, "We need sugar to live." Well, I know that, but it's way more dramatic to say, "I gave up sugar" than "I gave up dessert-y type things." Which is actually what I mean. I am powerless over desserts, especially cake, candy, cupcakes and cookies, and especially when they're at home because I can eat as many as I want without the waiter staring at me like I'm a fat ass. Don't judge me because I'm fat, dude. Judge me because of my horrible habit of calling waitstaff 'honey.'

I first discovered the secret to not binging on sugar over Christmas, when I made all my Christmas yummies but did not partake in them. Except for that one time when Bill and I get all drunk and maudlin at the bar and the only thing that could console us was to eat a few handfuls of ginger cookies. But anyway, I knew that if I had one white chocolate raspberry bar, I would not be satisfied until I had five. So I just didn't eat them at all.

I've read before that if you can go a week without eating refined sugar, you won't crave it anymore. I don't really crave sugar so much as once I put it in my mouth, I can't stop myself. It's kind of like smoking in a bar. It's really hard, once you've lit up one cigarette, to keep yourself from pretty much chain smoking when the opportunity presents itself. If you don't want to chain smoke, it's better to just avoid it altogether in those situations. So I've given it up, cold turkey.

The problem is that this means I can't ever have refined sugar again. Again, like smoking, once you've quit you can't just casually pick it back up and expect to not be buying a pack the next morning. So I shall not be tempted. A few weeks ago I gave up tonic after I was horrified to learn it contained just as much sugar as regular Coke- now it's strictly gin and soda for me. So that was a start. Now my go-to stuff for craving sweets is my beloved Coke Zero, jelly or jam on toast in the mornings, honey, and fruit with Cool Whip. It's actually not so very bad- I've convinced myself that since I don't do desserts anymore, I can be more flexible with my 'real' food, so if I want bacon on my salad, it's cool, or cheese fries, that's cool, too. It's a fuckin free for all! Except no desserts. We'll see how long I can keep this up- I've already noticed the return of my insatiable craving for peanut butter, which is probably largely because of the sugars in it. But I've gone a week now with no desserts, so I have some hope.

But perhaps I'm going about this wrong. Sugar can be a great diet dodge, so says this ad, and who am I to question the wisdom of the 1960s diet industry?

On denying oneself

Oh, forcing myself to obey a strict set of rules always motivates me. Thus, I have been inspired to detox. I love detoxing, or else, I love the busy work of choosing food and feeling all righteous because I'm drinking water and the inevitable debauchery that follows when the detox is over.

Recently, I was rereading Skinny Bitch, which I now regard as largely the Bible for aspiring anorexics, meaning the vast majority of it is utter crap. The stuff about the horrible conditions that farm animals are raised in and all of the scary hormones in our food is absolutely true, but the idea that you should wait until you're starving to eat in the morning or at lunch time, or that most people actually eat too much protein, or that a big plate of vegetables for every meal is adequate caloric intake is all total bullshit. The main goal of the book is to promote veganism and organic eating, which is an admirable goal, and if I had unlimited money with which to buy groceries I'd definitely give veganism the old college try. But as it stands, it's highly unrealistic for a lot of people. However, the book did kind of motivate me to give this detox a whirl. I never regarded the organic eating part as crap, just as not important- when I eat organic, it's usually because the farmers markets I shop at tend to have organic crops. But since I have decided to detox, I figure, what the hell, let's try eating at least some organic stuff, and less meat while we're at it.

So today at the store I picked up organic waffles, organic pumpkin seed and granola cereal and soy nog, along with a big assortment of fruits and vegetables. Tomorrow I'm looking at black bean cakes with guacamole for dinner, later in the week no cheese pizza with a mess of vegetables, and portabello mushroom caps stuffed with pesto and pine nuts. I also have my absolute favorite tortillas in the world, Extreme Wellness, to make all kinds of wraps (seriously, follow the link- best tortillas ever.) I'm being extra ambitious and trying to lay off the cigarettes and booze, too, which isn't so very hard if I avoid the bar, which is the hard part. But today my show closed, and I still have one more week until school starts, so I'm going to dedicate all my time and energy to the detox until I get tired of it and quit, which I'm predicting will occur on Wednesday.

Comment and tell me how much fun you're having with your New Years resolutions! And while you're at it, tell me why I feel the need to capitalize New Years when I don't think of it as a real holiday.