Sorry, but there is no way to abbreviate that any more. I’m a guy that likes spending time with people in a social setting surrounding food. Call that the curse of my ethnic background but food, and often drink, is a standard part of that arrangement. We aren’t talking a gourmet foodie Instagram worthy meal every time, but we also aren’t talking about just hot dogs and hamburgers either. Abstaining from the wine or drinks is pretty easy, there are other rather good options. Abstaining from almost all the food is another matter.
I knew that we were going to be doing a family dinner so I planned accordingly. I knew that the focal point was going to be whole lobsters. Who could complain about that? I guess someone allergic or revolted by shellfish, but not our family. We like tearing into them almost as much as tearing into crabs. I therefore figured I was going to have relatively low barriers to overcome with respect to food choices when hanging out. Still, I didn’t want to be caught totally off guard. I therefore ate a pretty hearty greens, eggs and bacon breakfast and then a late post-workout lunch consisting of a huge salad. I didn’t bother with any meat on the salad because I knew I’d be eating a bunch of lobster in the evening.
We were supposed to bring corn on the cob which my partner’s family had fresh picked from some local farms down state. With such ready access to fresh corn I’d probably be eating it every night of the week if I lived down there. That is, I would be if I wasn’t doing my Paleo experiment. Corn on the cob is a summer tradition for many, including me. Everyone gnawing down on the cobs while I sit there and watch wasn’t going to be appealing to me but I could live with that. Give me mine straight out of the water with nothing on it, but lots of people love slathering it with butter. Either way it’s a pretty tasty treat.
The bigger problem I had was with the rest of the appetizers. Sure, I wasn’t exactly starving with the prosciutto wrapped fresh sliced tomatoes that I concocted, but those sure would have been even more delicious with some fresh mozzarella and a slice of toasted baguette. Same too for the pulled pork crostini, again served on toasted baguette with grated cheese sprinkled on top. Like the Fourth of July picnic with the selection of corn chips (all non-GMO, organic, and so on) for dipping into the salsas, guacamole and (unfortunately) dairy-based dips, these things were just screaming for me to try yet I just have to waft in some scent of what everyone else is eating. I wasn’t starving, nor was I craving to eat a dozen of them. I just wanted a taste of what everyone had made.
After the lobster dinner, complete with roasted potatoes that I had two helpings of, I did indulge in one bite of homemade dulce de leche ice cream. My dad and his wife made it for the first time and everyone was raving about it. I always enjoy the ice cream they make, almost as much as my own, and while I may have been able to pass on items that are more staples of our party I wasn’t going to miss at least tasting a bite of the ice cream. It was just one bite, not even a tablespoon. My belly didn’t explode. My face didn’t break out with acne. My joints didn’t ache. It was about as ordinary as a bite of anything else, which of course isn’t surprising. It was a totally deliberate cheat, albeit a small one, but one I think was totally worth it.
When I finally settle on an eating style that works for me I’m not going to be as dogmatic about it as I am now. Life shouldn’t be about beating yourself up, it should be about enjoying it in a manner that allows you to continue doing so far as long as you can. I’m therefore not going to obsess about the one Coke Zero I had, or the one bowl of ice cream. That’s counter productive. During the experiment phase however I’m trying to be more deliberate and remove as many variables as I can. Once it’s all squared away this Catholic-like guilt complex thing will be a thing of the past.