April 14, 2010

Diet Danger: Faculty Treat Day

Where I teach, we have a "Faculty Treat Day" once a month. It's put on by the parents (read: mothers) of a given class, and the food is always amazing. They really outdo themselves, creating a spread of veggies and fruit with various dips, baked goods, Chex mix, cheese and crackers, etc., and they come back throughout the day to restock the table and introduce new goodies. It's insane.

Until recently, I was a slave to the Treat Day table, wandering in on my breaks and eating whatever struck my fancy, not because I was hungry, but because I was bored. I wouldn't really pay attention to how much I had consumed, and it was pretty easy for the calories to stack up throughout the day.

Given my recent elimination diet adventure, though, I've been really good about avoiding the Treat Day table altogether, and I even managed to stand in front of it and talk to a colleague without eating anything from the table one morning.

I walked into school this morning to see the moms setting up the Faculty Treat Day table, and I promised myself I'd be really good and avoid the mindless eating I struggled to overcome. I made it all morning, and then after lunch I told myself (in my best rationalization voice): I've been working out regularly, and I'm eating way healthier than I used to. One cupcake is not going to kill me.

And it's true; the cupcake did not kill me. It tasted alright (if a little processed), and it was small enough that I didn't immediately die of guilt.

But then the aftertaste set in, the empty, plastic-y, weird aftertaste that comes from eating processed food covered in sugar and Crisco, and I felt gross and mad at myself. It's the classic frustration of lusting after something for an extended period of time, and then having it not turn out to be worth the indulgence.

I've actually been enjoying finding my food stride post-elimination diet. Yes, I should probably be more scientific about my reintegration, but careful planning and moderation aren't really my thing. My trial and error method is simple: I try something in as pure a form as possible (so soybeans instead of soy sauce) to see if it bothers me. If I don't feel badly after I eat it and it's pretty healthy, it's back in my repertoire. So far, tomatoes, corn, and soy have made it back in.

The cupcake endeavor was not in keeping with this trial and error dealio. I ate a fairly scary combination of stuff I'd been cutting out, and it all made me feel gross afterwards. I still can't get the plastic taste out of my mouth, and it's safe to say that sugar is out for good, barring special occasions like spontaneous sacher torte or catch-me-by-surprise crème brulée.

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