Saturday, July 24, 2010

your cheating heart

As far as my personality goes, I could probably be (and have been) categorized as a "good girl." Generally speaking, I follow rules. I wear my seatbelt, drink 8 glasses of water a day, take a multivitamin, do my injections every two weeks, and turn in work on time. However, the temptation to bend the rules rises within me from time to time. I've found that the temptation to cheat rises in proportion to the likelihood of not getting caught. I was never a kid who'd go so far as to write conjugations of French verbs on her palm before a test or blatantly take a peek at my neighbor's quiz. But I would dabble in cheating from time to time. Take this story for example:

In driver's ed class we had these ridiculously boring assignments each week. We're talking pages upon pages of written Q&A about how to yield, what to do in a construction zone, etc. The goal was to prepare us for the quiz taken at the DMV, but the worksheets themselves were horrid, boring, and time consuming. Especially when we'd all rather be practicing picking up our friends and driving to the mall. A few weeks into the course some friends and I discovered that the teachers did not even read the answers! All they did was flip through and make sure you had an answer written down for each question. At first I tested the waters cautiously: I'd write a response with a few "driver" terms thrown in. "What should you do at a four way stop?" Yield the ice cream truck. "When can you pull a U turn?" Check to see if there is a cop, and then go. And guess what? It worked!

As the driver's ed weeks wore on, we got more courageous and adventurous in our responses. "What should you do in a construction zone?" Watch out for purple elephants wearing tutus. The thrill was exhilarating! And the free time allowed for more attempts to convince my parents to take me for test drives, although they never did want to go pick up my friends and head to the mall.

After I described my current diet to a friend she asked me if I have to be perfect with it. I answered truthfully: I had cheated a little. One time I was craving ice cream and ate some no sugar added Dreyer's, even though it contained maltodextrin and Splenda. The result: tummy cramping and digestive issues reared their ugly head. I tried again with Diet Coke, since it goes so nicely with Mexican food and I already gave up the tortillas and chips. Within 30 minutes I had a stomach ache. I also had 3 glasses of wine at a friend's wedding. And while it was fun to be a tipsy half of a "Night at the Roxbury" inspired mobbing of the bride, I woke up the next morning feeling bloated and gross. So in general, it is a good idea to try and stick to the diet.

When I first started the diet I think my body went through a carb detox period. At first I would crave sugar every day. Eventually the cravings lessened, and the concoctions I developed that were similar to desserts satisfied any cravings that would pop up sporadically. All of this is before last week, however.

Last week started with the stomach flu, followed by finding out something about my career, followed by a cold, dr's appointments, and having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. (Third life crisis? I probably won't live to be 108...) While I was sick to my stomach I didn't want to eat nuts or string cheese. I wanted 7-up and saltines. And when I was stressed and thinking big thoughts about my future, my natural tendencies to head to Molly Moon's for a hot fudge sundae overpowered my resolve. I fell off the wagon.

I have always been an emotional eater, and as a result have struggled a bit with my weight. I had lost about five pounds while being on the diet, but my week long foray into carb land resulted in a three pound weight gain! Not to mention all of my digestive issues returned, I felt fatigued, I was bloated, and was having trouble sleeping. It just wasn't worth it. Plus the foods I loved still tasted good, but not quite as good as I remembered or expected. The entire process was a bit depressing.

Needless to say, I am back on the plan. Sometimes being on a restrictive diet can feel unfair, or like too much work. Trust me, I know. It's really stinking hard to be perfect all of the time. Plus planning ahead was never my forte, and it's hard to be spontaneous when you can't eat most items on a menu. However, believe me when I say it really is better to stick to the plan. I learned this the hard way. With renewed resolve I went back in the kitchen and created some new recipes to get me through the next bout of life/work/family stress, whatever that may be.

Talking Rain 'Tini:
1 oz chilled vodka (I keep mine in the freezer so it's nice and cold)
5 oz of your favorite flavor of Talking Rain sparkling mineral water (my new fave is the Pomegranate Lime)
a twist of lime juice


Almond Coconut Bark
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup almonds
1.5 cups unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut extract
8 Truvia packets
4 TB heavy cream
1 TB butter

Chop the chocolate:

Give the almonds a rough chop:

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler:

When the chocolate is barely melted, remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, stevia, vanilla, and coconut extract. Then stir in the almonds and coconut. Press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Try to get the mixture as tightly packed together as possible, since it is a bit crumbly:

Let it harden, and enjoy! This was so good, I even licked the spoon!

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