I didn’t try some new kind of fancy exercise today; today was an exercise in restraint. Here in Israel the weekend is Friday and Saturday. So on by the time Friday rolls around, I’ve been working in an office for five whole days, I’m tired, and I want to let loose, relax and eat all my favorite things.
Since I’m still in the first 10 days of being sugar free, cheat day is not in the cards. That being said, and very much realized by me, I still had very high hopes for the day because the boyfriend and I had a plan! Since his mom is in town and he and his friend have been wanting to go visit the Latrun Monastery/Winery, we rented a car and drove southeast. And in no time at all we were pulling up to the monasteries gates.
Avram (a kindly senior gentleman from a nearby kibbutz) kindly gave us a small tour of the grounds and sanctuary and afterwards a detailed introduction to all of the wines produced by the monks. There was a wide selection and luckily most of them were avaliable for tasting! A slightly tipsy hour later (none of us had eaten yet), and 7 bottles of wine heavier (what can I say the wine was nice and the price was good) we headed back to our car and in search of lunch.
We decided to make a trip over to Ramleh for hummus. I won’t say which restuarant we went to because, although I was in the minority, I did not like the hummus. But that is besides the point. Here in Israel and probably in other Middle Eastern countries, hummus is not a side to dip carrots in. It is an entire meal, and there is not a single carrot in sight. Utensils are within sight but not typically used. The hummus arrives to one’s mouth by the simple tool of pita bread. Pita bread that is very high in sugar. Pita bread that I find absolutely delicious. I had to sit with everyone watching them use and eat this pita bread while I ate hummus with a fork like an uncivilized person. Besides the cultural embarassment, it really was difficult for me eating hummus without pita just tastes wrong. And I caught myself simply staring at the basket full of pita more than once. I managed though and got through it.
The next trial was at dinner. The boyfriend wanted to use rice wine vinegar (hidden sugar) in the meal (minute steak served over gnocchi in a pea and purple carrot sauce, a play on the traditional steak and potatos). I told him he could and resigned myself to trying to find something else to eat in the fridge. Being the thoughtful person that he is, he relented and found another solution that I personally think worked just as spectacularly and dinner was saved.
The final trial though and the most difficult one by far was after dinner, where everyone wanted gelato. Who am I to stand between the people and their gelato after all? So we journyed out once more for this delicious treat. And most unbelievably I sat there and I watched them eat that heavenly gelato. I didn’t order one for myself and most importantly I didn’t steal any bites (and I didn’t throw a tempertantrum at not being able to have ice cream which I personally think merits a gold medal and a bajillion stars for my forehead).
Of all the trials I endured today, the last one was the hardest. The idea of giving up one of my favorite treats has been very difficult for me. But as long as it was out of the house and we didn’t go into any ice cream parlours, it wasn’t too difficult just because it wasn’t there. Having to sit there and converse and watch people consume it right in front of me was a special kind of torture. But somehow I managed to do it, proving that it is somehow possible (I’ll get back to you on the mechanics of how as soon as I figure it out).
Giving up the sugary substances that we love and crave is hard even when we don’t bring them into our homes. That doesn’t stop those same substances from being out there in the world, and out in the world, we can find ourselves in situations where we are in direct contact with them. It doesn’t mean that we have to give in; there is still hope for success in my battle to get my body free of its sugar cravings. It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun but it is possible and I think in the long run most probably worth it. Good luck.