Well, I did it! 30 days without sweets and I lived to tell the tale. Since falling back off the wagon last Friday, I've had dessert quite a few times. I spent the weekend mindlessly munching on handfuls of candy and bowls of ice cream until last night, when I finally took note of how I was feeling. I realized (drum roll, please) that all that sugar simply didn't taste as good. My body wasn't used to its intensity and I was eating dessert because I could, not because I wanted to. Even crazier - after a month walking through the "chocolate covered everything" aisle at Trader Joe's and lusting after its contents, I was finally allowed to purchase something and I came home empty handed. Who am I? Major revelations happening over here! Going forward, I'm going to listen to my body and enjoy the treats that I crave, when I crave them. It has been a very interesting, challenging experience, but I'm so glad I stuck with it and gained some new insight.
Here are a few things that I learned from 30 days without dessert:
1. Cutting out dessert is the same as quitting or starting anything - it takes time. It takes your body two weeks to crave exercise, or two weeks to stop craving cigarettes. It took over a week for me to not think about the dessert I would have been eating after my meals.
2. When you don't have something, you learn not to miss it - after the initial period, I didn't want or need the sweets I was so used to eating. I made an effort to replace them with similarly yummy, but healthier treats.
3. I felt lighter - I didn't weigh myself before or after this experiment and I ate plenty to make up for the missing dessert calories, but I felt healthier and more fit and I craved less heavy food in general.
4. Sugar tasted sweeter - because I only cut out things that I consider to be dessert, I was still eating fruit, cereal, yogurt, and oatmeal. These things tasted so much sweeter when I wasn't eating candy and they actually felt like a special treat.
5. I'm capable - it might sound silly, but this was a big deal for me. I'm so used to my routines and eating patterns, and dessert has played a big part in my life. Not having it, and knowing that I could challenge myself to stick to my guns, was a huge accomplishment.
And now, a Vietnamese Pork and Noodle Bowl because it's delicious.
Recipe, adapted from Hungry Huy:
For the pork:
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1.5 pounds pork shoulder, cut into small pieces
For the fish sauce:
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice (1 lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
3+ tablespoons fish sauce (to taste)
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other chili paste
12 ounces rice noodles
3 cups cucumber, chopped
3 cups carrot, shredded
6 cups mixed greens
6 cups steamed broccoli
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Add pork and marinate for at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes, then broil for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add noodles, remove from heat, and cook noodles for 8 minutes or until al dente.
Mix all of the ingredients together for the fish sauce.
To assemble your bowl, put 1 cup of mixed greens on the bottom, followed by a scoop of noodles, a scoop of pork, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of cucumber, 1 cup of broccoli, and 1/4 of the fish sauce. Garnish with additional lime juice, crushed peanuts, and Sriracha.