The Whole30 tells you to never let yourself be in a situation where you have no compliant food available to eat. It also suggests that when going into social situations where others might be eating, you should bring something to snack on yourself. That staves off the questions, the cravings, and the envy.
Because I am a giant nerd, every weekend I play Dungeons & Dragons with my husband and some friends from his work. They are even more giant nerds and work at a video game development company, which has an amazing game room in it that can be rented out to employees for exactly such purposes as D&D campaigns and other tabletop game adventures. Right outside is a communal dining area, right off of which is where they keep all the snacks.
Oh Lordy. I shouldn’t have gone back there. All sorts of chips, candy, and chocolate. Apparently they also have fruit during the week, but it’s all gone by the weekend (which is probably a good thing). There is also a refrigerator for drinks, all of which have sugar in them. And most tempting of all… ***nutella***. Glorious little nutella packages with dipping sticks.
And you know what? I got out of there swiftly and didn’t step foot in there again. I had my own snacks, after all! Except a little part of me wonders if even those weren’t cheating a bit.
If you’ve been reading, you know I used Lara Bars to wean myself off of sugar in the first week. They are also good for situations like these where everyone around me is eating something sweet, and I want to have something slightly resembling what everyone else is eating. So right before D&D I went to the grocery store to look for more, preferably new flavours. I was thrilled when I found a chocolate lara bar with only 4 ingredients: dates, almonds, unsweetened cocoa, and unsweetened coconut. Omg!! I also picked up a new snack called an Rx Bar, which only had egg whites, almonds, cashews, dates, salt, cocoa, and cacao (which, apparently, are two different things?). All Whole30 compliant!
Except for a small detail… the moment I took a bite of the rich tasting chocolate Rx bar, I wondered. Is this what the Whole30 calls “sex with your pants on”? Foods that are technically compliant, but are basically just paltry imitations of food you wish you were having. Things like using Whole30 approved ingredients to make pizza, muffins, pancakes… maybe even candy bars. The idea is that if you have something that’s like the thing but is not actually the thing, your brain will just want to give in and eat the thing.
I understand that logic. But as someone who has been vegetarian for years, I can say that I very much enjoy eating “fake meat”, and it has never once made me feel like “gee, I wish this chick’n I’m eating was an actual chicken.” I think that part of it is letting go of the expectation that what you’re eating must taste like the original. Once you accept that, you can just enjoy playing pretend. And honestly, I’ve been to restaurants that specialize in “fake meat” and that serve food that is so convincingly animal-like in texture and taste (from what I can remember), that I almost had to pinch myself to remember that I wasn’t actually eating an animal!
Back to my “chocolate” bar, though- I think that some people might consider my consumption of this snack food as a break in the Whole30, meaning I would have to start all over. And I did consider it. But I think I’m just going to learn from it and trudge on through, for several reasons. One, my snack food fulfilled its intended purpose. I had something sweet to eat while everyone around me was eating chocolate and candy, so I felt included while still keeping my pledge to not eat sugar. Two, I did not feel “lesser than” my friends for eating my healthier versions of chocolate. It didn’t make me eye their snacks longingly. If I hadn’t had anything, I would definitely have had some FOMO. Three, it’s not like I’m making the junk food substitutes a regular and substantial part of my day. I can also learn from my experience toeing the line and do better. Will I avoid eating another one of these chocolate bar things while continuing my Whole30? Most likely, yes. Do I feel like I have failed, enough to start over, for having had one? Nope.
So, onward I go. Oh, and by the way. Accalia, my Dungeons & Dragons character, went to a feast held in her party’s honour during this weekend’s campaign. She got to eat a giant hog, drink mead and desserts she’s never even dreamed of. I guess that’s my waking version of #whole30dreams for the day!