Were days 10 and 11 super hard, as suggested by the Whole 30 timeline? So far, that is not my assessment. This might be largely due to one of my personality traits: I don’t mind eating the same thing for several days in a row and I don’t mind leftovers. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy variation (I do, very much!), but when I’m particularly busy, I’ll choose healthy and convenient over a great variety… usually.
However, I do have a confession to make. Yesterday, I was lucky to spend the better part of the day with two dear friends (friends whom I see once per year, if I’m lucky). It was a perfect day with perfect weather, starting with lunch at Ray’s Hell Burger followed by a walk through the National Zoo. Ray’s Hell Burger has one of, if not the, best burgers in the city. I ordered my burger with no bun and toppings that are friendly to the Whole 30 with the possible exception of Ray’s Heck Sauce (I think it might be mayonnaise-based, or at least has added sugar). But, that’s not what needs confessing. What needs confessing is that I split a boozy milkshake with Sam, and it was one of the best darn milkshakes I have ever had. In fact, our friend that was dining with us said that the milkshakes we had at dinner must have been what the milkshakes in Pulp Fiction tasted like — they’re that good! Nonetheless, the milkshake breaks several Whole 30 rules — dairy, sugar, alcohol… and I don’t care. And I’m not starting over with the Whole 30 (but I will continue the Whole 30).
I’m not starting over because I think that I have mastered one of the main lessons of the Whole 30: if you’re going to eat something that isn’t going to positively improve your health (like a boozy milkshake!), then make sure it is very special and make sure you enjoy it. In It Starts with Food, the Hartwigs spend some time discussing just this. They argue that something like Oreos, or other processed junk food, are in almost no case to be considered special. A homemade or particularly delicious dish, on the other hand, often can be special because of emotional/cultural/celebratory reasons (like a dessert you only get at Christmas) or because it just happens to be one of your favorite foods. Thinking about whether or not an indulgence in a specific food is a really useful litmus test for me when considering whether or not to partake in something like a milkshake.
Another message that is helpful to me is one that Andie at Can You Stay for Dinner? has written. She recently wrote a post titled “Eating Healthy Most of the Time is Good Enough,” in which she discusses balancing her cravings for a series of delicious foods. She writes:
“But when I go out for cocktails on Friday and Saturday nights? That’s the more challenging part. That’s when it’s harder to walk the line. Because then there are things that everyone leaving the bar wants: like a seat at the late night diner, or a big slice of pizza, or strange street meat. And what about brunch the next morning? Or New York bagels with schmear? It’s a balancing act. And the key, I find is that one word: balance. It’s knowing that I can have it all (in time); I just can’t have it all right now.”
So, when I chose to go to Ray’s Hell Burger which is one of my favorite restaurants and an opportunity I only get two to three times per year, with dear friends, whom I only see once per year at best, I decided that I could have that milkshake right then. And it was so worth it. Advocates of the Whole 30 and diets that are similar to the rules of the Whole 30 would have endorsed this decision. They argue that of course no one eats perfectly all the time, it’s just that when they choose to not eat something healthy, they choose something totally worth and then continue to eat healthy foods afterward, rather than letting that one “slip-up” become a slippery slope back into unhealthy habits.
Oh, and then there was the celebratory glass of red wine later last evening, because I have some exciting career prospects (though big decisions to make). Besides, 11 days without red wine is long enough, right?
What I ate:
Breakfast: one banana, chopped asparagus and one half of Aidells apple & chicken sausage with two eggs sauteed in olive oil, one mug of Irish breakfast tea
Lunch: one Ray’s lil devil burger (1/3 pound), medium rare, with bacon, tomato, lettuce, grilled onion, and Ray’s Heck Sauce, one half of a Ricky Bobby milkshake (chocolate, caramel, and bourbon milkshake topped with real whipped cream and bacon)
After lunch: one small coffee with a splash of cream
Dinner: continued digestion of lunch!
Post-dinner: one glass of Malbec
Number of cheats: 2? 3? 4? However many the milkshake is worth plus the splash of cream in my afternoon coffee, plus the glass of red wine
How I slept: I slept very well, probably because I slept so poorly the night before. I woke up somewhat tired.