Habits are funny things. You do them because that’s what you do. I’ve had a couple close calls on this diet – my autopilot goes to the pretzel jug – but I haven’t fallen off this soy-is-a-villain-coconut-is-cool diet. Yet.
Most of the stuff in this diet is old stuff to me. Lots of fresh food, grown and sold close to home. In other words, eat close to the source. I’ve agreed with this philosophy for a long time. But some stuff is new. And that is the challenge.
An old dog can learn new tricks, they say. Or is it ‘an old dog can’t learn new tricks’? At this point in the diet, all attempts to confuse me might be successful, since now I am using solid oil to cook my foods. I can’t remember the last time I allowed solid oil near my stove top. I know the label reads ‘coconut oil’ and the book swears that the stuff comes from heaven, but it looks like Crisco to me.
So these new rules about cooking might be just the newest in a very long line of diet fads. But there are some interesting pay-offs that I am hoping will stay around for the long-haul. Even though my main hope in following this diet plan is better health, my clothes are suddenly just a bit bigger than they were last week. Just a bit.
Still, if the oil looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably Crisco.
So I know you can’t eat butter in this Virgin diet, but can you eat beurre? I sat in a very nice restaurant debating whether I really needed to scrape off that wonderful-smelling sauce or if I could eat it (AKA cheat.) The restaurant turned out to be a really great combination of Central Cal Cuisine and French (hence the beurre,) so I could tell that the sauce was worth tasting. I had done so, so well with everything else on the menu and had been so, so good sticking to the drill these past couple days, I just wasn’t sure which way this would go. I’d already passed the bread basket to Stanley, who had been quite pleased. Since there was a sweet little array of boutique bread in the basket and yummy stuff to dip it into, I’d already paid a tremendous sacrifice.
Even the view was outstanding, and the weather spectacular. How could I ruin the day, whichever choice I made?
The author of this diet book stated that we do not need to eat grains in a healthy diet.
She could not possibly have been talking about all-round health, though, because everyone knows how wonderful grains make you feel.
Grains – whatever it was made into -flatbread, loaves, rice cakes – in whatever culture you come from, make people happy. Perhaps you can live a physically correct life without grains, but you cannot live an emotionally content life. Healthy diet versus happy diet – it can be a problem.
Have I been that long without pretzels? No. I can manage. But don’t even think of taking away my oatmeal.
It’s not so hard to dig out grated cheese from a field of lettuce. Our favorite Mexican Food restaurant serves a wonderful Pollo Asado Salad. The Virgin Diet is dairy-free for the first 21 days, so I had remembered on our visit today to ask for salsa instead of their wonderful avocado dressing. It wasn’t the avocado that was offensive – it was the sour cream that hides behind the other flavors. But I had forgotten the cheese sprinkles that come on top. So I pulled them off. No big deal. One by one. Even the little hidden squigglies under the lettuce. No big deal. Really.
The big deal was not being able to begin the meal with the best tortilla chips known to man. I thought that being without pretzels was going to be the most difficult part of this diet venture, but there the chips lay, right in front of me, reminding me of the great texture and perfect taste. The salsa sitting beside the chips, I could eat, but how was I going to get the salsa into my mouth without the chip?
Stanley was no help. He grabbed the entire bowl over to his side of the table and moaned with delight at each crunch.
At least the day provided one brilliant discovery:
I drink a lot of clear tea, but not a lot of water. So, for at least these 21 days, I had to find a way to drink more water. Perrier with lime to the rescue!
Not just red meat, but coconut milk and coconut oil: Things I had thought were really bad things are now on my list of acceptable foods.
Of course, so are all the usual vegetables, and in quantity. I had decided that the beef could wait until Thursday’s farmers’ market, when I can buy grass-fed beef from a local rancher. I’ve bought it before for Stanley, who gave it a thumb’s up. But I found some at Trader Joe’s and decided to surprise Stanley with beef hamburger in his tacos.
Maybe it took me some time to remember how to prepare beef hamburger,
but I thought that the result was pretty good.
“What’s wrong with the hamburger?” he said as soon as he saw it, cooked with farmers’ market peppers and onions, and waiting on the stove.
I didn’t know what to say to someone who could immediately see the difference between grass-fed and old-style hamburger. We ate, and there was nothing wrong with the hamburger. But I must say, my first foray into red meat after so long was dwarfed in significance next to the realization that my husband of more than 30 years had a talent I’d never realized: hawk-eyed red meat know-it-all.
I am in good health. Maybe I should just be thankful and go about my merry way, doing all the basically good things I have been doing all along. I love veggies, don’t eat red meat, get lots of exercise. I sleep well. I am as happy as the world will let me be. But we all have some things that might could use some fixin’. Me, too.
Enter the book that my aunt recommended.
It is written as if the author is giving a sales pitch. I’d already bought the book, so she really didn’t have to keep up the spiel. ‘Drop 7 foods, lose 7 pounds, just seven days,’ she kept on saying. I kept thinking about my pretzels. But a promise is a promise, and I had told myself I would give this a try.
It started out with almond milk, instead of soy, in my coffee.
No big deal. In fact, I have such great coffee, maybe I should just drink it plain.
All day long, I stayed away from bread, dairy, sugar, and soy. All day long, I stayed away from the pretzel jug.
And the day ended with a bowl of freshly-made applesauce topped with chopped nuts and cloves. Really, truly, this day was not all that different from most of my days.
But tomorrow… tomorrow I have to figure out how to begin to include red meat into my diet after several decades of abstinence. Red meat??? In a diet that proclaims itself healthy? We’ll see.
But Stanley will be very pleased.