When someone makes you something special

I had an awesome chicken salad in an avocado during one of my business trips. It was midnight when I got to my hotel and the only option for food was take out from a nearby deli. And I was very happily surprised by the chicken salad in an avocado dish. I’ve raved about that dish for a while now.

Today my awesome guy surprised me with this for lunch.

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And yes, I know I need a lot of practice before I become a professional food photographer. Frank says I also need to write down what’s in the foods I enjoy. He seems to think it’s important to know if there were apples or jalapenos in the salad.

Not only was the thought awesome – it made me feel cared for – but the dish was delicious.

I survived 30 days without sweets

A month ago I set a goal for myself: no sweets nor alcohol for 30 days. In this post I'm primarily going to discuss the sweets part. I'll address the alcohol part in another post.

IStock_000011166708XSmallHow did I do? I did excellent sticking to my goal. (That doesn't mean I felt excellent just that I stuck to my goal well.) I did quit the alcohol part on day 25 for Superbowl weekend. But I didn't have any sweets, not even a bite of birthday cake, for the entire 30 days.

Best side effect? The whole family is eating better. I have been buying a bunch of fruit to take care of sweet cravings and the whole family has been loving it. We've discovered that our 3 year old will eat all of his dinner, including spinach salad and broccoli, just to get an apple or some grapes!

Did you feel different? Not really. I was really hoping that I'd feel different, i.e. better, if I ate less sweets. Other than craving sweets every day, for the most part I felt the same. With one exception – on day 3 I felt miserable. My whole body ached. I have no idea if that was from giving up sweets or alcohol or if I had a one day flu. Thank goodness it was over in a day.

Did you ever get over craving sweets? Not really, I had one day where I did not crave sweets – day 12. It lasted only a day. And the last week was better – I didn't crave sweets, I just really wanted some. It makes me think I'm still addicted and perhaps I should continue with the no sweets for a while longer.

How did you cope with the cravings? I ate a ton of fruit for the first 5 days. After that I just ignored them. (Or complained about them on identica, twitter and Facebook. πŸ™‚ I also drank a lot of carbonated water.

Were you hungry? I was very hungry the first 5 days and then again on days 21 and 22. Unusually hungry. Other than that, I think I was less hungry than normal.

I was surprised to discover that it is possible to not be hungry between meals. I always thought people were really hungry between meals but just holding out for the next meal time. It was a new thing for me to be able to go from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to dinner without snacking. I don't think I've done that in several years.

Did your energy levels change? My initial response would be no. But I think my running suffered a bit. And at bedtime I was more than ready for bed. Nothing I can prove though.

Did you lose a lot of weight? I lost 4 pounds. As I wasn't doing it to lose weight, I ate whenever I was hungry. The problem (or advantage) is that most of the snacks I enjoy are sweet, so often nothing appealed to me. I think I ate a lot more at meal times but snacked less.

Did you exercise? I did my normal exercise which is running 1-3 miles a day.

What qualifies as a sweet? Candy bars, cookies, anything with chocolate in it, cookies, flavored yoghurt, chocolate chips, pudding, … I interchanged saying I gave up sweets and saying I gave up chocolate. To me a sweet isn't worth eating if it doesn't have chocolate in it. Except maybe marzipan. And even marzipan is better with chocolate.

Did you give up bread, rice or pasta? No, I did not give up bread, rice or pasta. I did not have any of the yummy cinnamon bread we had though. I thought the added sugar on top turned it into a sweet. And I didn't make any banana bread during this time as I consider it a sweet too.

How many sweets do you normally eat? I estimate about 600 calories a day. But I never really counted.

How come you don't talk about the alcohol? I didn't crave wine or beer. I craved sweets. I only really missed alcohol when I was having food I thought would be better with a drink, like beer with pizza or red wine with pasta. And even that went away after a while. The second time I had a pub hamburger without a beer, I decided maybe it was ok that way. I do have some insights about the alcohol though that I'll share in another post.

What's next? I think I'm going to continue to try to eat less sweets. Maybe not no sweets, just less sweets. I don't know what that looks like yet. And I will start drinking wine again with my pasta.

What was the hardest moment? I'm not sure if it was not eating sweets while sitting at home by myself or if it was the cooler full of ice cream bars that they wheeled into a conference room and left right next to me … on day 30. I couldn't think of any way to take an ice cream bar to keep in my room until day 31!

What have been your experiences giving up sweets?

30 day trial: no alcohol, no sweets

IStock_000008800699XSmall For the next 30 days I am abstaining from alcohol and sweets.

Why am I telling you this?

I'm telling all of you about it because I realized that I didn't really
think I'd do it. But if I tell the world, I know I'll do it. (Or at
least I'll try much harder. πŸ™‚

What am I really giving up?

By sweets I mean things like cookies, candy bars and chocolate chips.

I think the alcohol part is self explanatory but I mean beer and wine. (I don't really drink anything else although that Amarula stuff that Frank picked up before Christmas is pretty yummy …)

I know you should only give up one thing at a time, but for a multitude of reasons (including a lack of patience), I'm not doing that.

Will you have to listen to this for the next 30 days?

No, I won't be blogging about this again during the month unless something unexpected happens. (Like I have an amazing amount of energy or need 3 hours less of sleep a night or start losing 2 pounds a week. Not that I expect any of that.) I probably will be twittering about it so you might see updates on identica, twitter and Facebook.

Why 30 days?

I want to see how I feel without alcohol and sweets. 30 days is enough time to figure out if I feel different. It's also enough time to establish new habits but a short enough time it doesn't seem too daunting. A 30 day trial allows for success where as "giving up sweets forever" probably doesn't. (And I am not giving up sweets forever. No way!)

So I encourage you to do your own 30 day trials. They don't have to be about food. 30 day trials are a good way to start any new habit or break any old habit.

Gasp! A salad for lunch!

I had a salad for lunch.  I would dare to bet that none of you have ever seen me eat a salad at a restaurant … because this is the first time I think I’ve ever ordered a salad at a restaurant.  It wasn’t too bad … especially with the Red Ale to go with it!

This is a direct result of Frank and I deciding to eat less carbs … all because of Good Calories, Bad Calories. (And the best things I could find on the menu were steak, fajitas and salads.  I got the cajun salmon salad because we’ve had lots of steak recently and we’re having Mexican for dinner.)

How much caffeine in your Starbucks coffee?

Ever wondered how much caffeine was in your Starbucks coffee?  Between 6 and 20 mg/oz depending on what type.  Here’s the chart with all the info.   Diet Coke (my drink) has 3.75 mg/oz and Mountain Dew has 4.5 mg/oz.  So coffee is worse than Mountain Dew!

Famous tortilla de patatas!

www.flickr.com

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from the Tortilla de patatas group pool. Make your own badge here.

Maybe some of you remember the Tortilla de Patatas that I made – my first ever.  It’s now part of the Tortilla de patatas group on Flickr!

Crawdad party!

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We had our annual crayfish party!  Frank blogged about it over at Life of a Hunter, An evening with friends and crawdads!  We had a great time and really enjoyed visiting with everyone.

Here are some pictures and here are some more.  (I’d put a Flickr badge here but Flickr won’t let me specify someone else’s set.  I can display them by tag or one of my set but not someone else’s set.)

Photo by Bill.

Yummy spinach crepes

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I had yummy spinach crepes at Cafe Mason in San Francisco yesterday.  They came with an awesome fruit salad that included everything from blackberries and strawberries to melon and bananas.

Just be sure you leave any crying babies at home as they are sure to let everyone know that "Crying babies are not welcome here for other customer’s precious peaceful dining moments."   The waitress tried to take my menu away before I had a good picture and I said  "Wait! I’m going to blog about that."
491919237_c284fdfb7e"You and everyone else." Maybe that’s why I got such unfriendly service. Not bad, just not friendly.

Can you live off $5/week?

This husband and wife team is trying to eat off $10 for two weeks.  They each have their own $10 and their own stash of food. 

It’s interesting because Frank and I were just talking about this on the way to work yesterday.  What would you eat or buy if you had limited funds but access to a kitchen? Here are some of the things that would be on my list:

  • oatmeal
  • lots of beans
  • canned vegetables
  • peanut butter
  • whole wheat bread
  • maybe some bananas