I’ve been talking a bit about how I’m slipping into eating habits that mirror my old drinking habits. It’s not that I worry about the calories particularly, although obviously I am female and inhabit a patriarchal world, so I’d quite like to lose ten pounds yes, thank you. I worry about the fact that I wake up in the morning and wonder what treat I’ll have that evening. I worry about the way I drive home with both kids in the car and feel a stab of anxiety if I don’t have anything indulgent in the house for after bedtime; I can’t go out once they’re asleep, so I’ll have to make a stop on the way home, what excuse am I going to make, I can’t just drag two children into a supermarket to pick up some salt and vinegar crisps…oh, that’s OK, we’re low on milk, now I have to go to the store and hey, while I’m here, might as well grab those pistachios…
It’d be funny if it wasn’t sad, or sad if it wasn’t funny. It is exactly how I used to drink. The same thinking about it in the morning, the same anxiety when it approached bedtime and I was stuck for the night. In Australia, alcohol can only be sold in dedicated ‘bottle shops’, so I could never manufacture an excuse to just pop out for bread and pick up a bottle. It had to be an alcohol-related excuse. If we were low on wine, and it wasn’t a weekend with the weekend’s built-in excuse to indulge, I would decide to cook a casserole that took red wine, or steam mussels in beer, or if we’d already eaten it seemed logical to do some cooking ahead.
Food is easier. There isn’t the stigma, if I do drag both children into the store for ice cream. And I’m not a binger or a purger, and I’m not particularly overweight, and I eat decently, after all. I just like to snack in the evening, every evening, and that sort of eating is directly tied to my emotional well being in ways that aren’t working for me.
So I decided to blow the whole thing up.
I’m undertaking a Whole30 which is basically Paleo for people who think Paleo is too easy. No grains, including pseudo grains like quinoa. No dairy. No sugar. No alcohol, which includes alcohol for cooking. No legumes; chickpeas are out, as is the most amazing lentil soup ever invented in the world (have I talked about this soup before? I have been remiss if not, because this soup, you guys. THIS SOUP. If you live anywhere that is colder than 100F right now, drop what you’re doing and plan to have this soup for dinner), as is everything that contains soy, which is basically everything that tastes good in the world. You eat animal proteins and plant matter. I’m pretty sure that you cannot do this diet if you are a vegetarian because you would actually literally starve.
Why, you are asking, am I doing this insane thing? Well, I am glad you asked, my sober and extremely attractive friend. It is because I suck at moderation. “Why not just cut out snacking”, queried a well meaning confidante, and I flashed back to all those years of ‘if I don’t drink on a Monday or a Wednesday…’. Because that doesn’t work for me, is why.
The ’30’ in Whole30 is the number of days. It’s a temporary thing. For me, it’s a rehab. Not a crash diet, not a so-called detox, not anything that I expect to continue. A rehab. Like an alcohol rehab, where one gets some distance from the problematic substance, starts to see clearly what it was doing, how much denial one was in, and how much better one feels afterwards. A rehab doesn’t mean that you’re cured, and neither will this. But it’ll be interesting.
Also, I totally took myself out to McDonalds for dinner on the night before I started and I’m not even sorry.