So far, my fears about sugar seem to have been unfounded, and I am happy to report that yesterday's new food, which was lettuce, led to one of my more astonishing experiences.
I decided to add lettuce, even before some of the more interesting vegetables that I love, like zucchini and eggplant and cabbage, because I figured that when I go out of town in a couple of weeks and have to eat in restaurants, lettuce would give me access to a whole bunch of choices that will make my life much easier. It's a rare restaurant that doesn't offer a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, fish or steak -- I never eat the croutons anyway, don't need the parmesan and usually prefer to have it without dressing, so if they can give me the protein without seasoning, I'll be fine.
Now, like most perennial dieters, I have long had a love-hate (sometimes even a hate-hate) relationship with salad. For the 4-5 years I followed the Carb Addict's Diet, a hefty salad was a required prelude to each "reward meal" -- the one where you could actually have carbs. When I did low-calorie programs or old-style Weight Watchers, salads were the "free" food, the one you almost didn't have to count, unless you used a lot of dressing, which I never did, by choice. Even at Green Mountain, where the program emphasizes the joys of eating rather than restriction and deprivation, salad is an ever-present entity, usually a planned part of every lunch and always a choice if you are still hungry after finishing lunch or dinner. Though Carol thinks of salad (and also raw fish!) as comfort food, salad never did it for me. Ever.
But yesterday, I can't tell you how excited I was as I picked out some succulent hearts of Romaine to have as the new food of the day, the accompaniment to grilled salmon and boiled Yukon Gold potatoes. The excitement built as I assembled my salad -- tearing up the romaine, slicing some cucumber, washing a handful of super sweet grape tomatoes, and cutting some black olives in half to add a salty contrast. And when I ate the first bite, I felt as though I had never tasted anything so delicious.
I'd have to say that I enjoyed that salad significantly more than the long-awaited almond horns I added on Sunday evening. And I enjoyed the lettuce again an hour ago as I munched my way through the remaining leaves with my lunch.
Is this a simple case of absence making the taste buds grow fonder? Or have I really changed in some very fundamental way in my relationship with food?
Only time will tell.
A hui hou.