Day-13 Virgin Diet: Easing into the weekend

After a pretty busy week with a lot of eating out, I ended the work week doing more of the same.  I think I may have had a minor slip up but interestingly (or sadly) I don’t think it affected me one iota.  Overall best intentions were still met, and I sort of treated Friday (as I will Saturday) as a bit of a “cheat day” without actually violating any of the rules of the elimination diet.

The day started off with the usual shake.  I originally was going to get a very early start to the day, but that didn’t pan out.  I wasn’t going to skip the shake or prepping for the afternoon snacks to actually make up for lost time and in the end it turned out not to matter anyway.  Lunch was not a salad.  I was feeling the urge to eat something more carbalicious and less vegetably, plus I wanted something warming.  I ended up getting a chicken dish called Chicken Tikka.  Traditionally that is an Indian chicken dish, but besides the name I doubt this borrows much from the actual Indian version.  This version is basically chicken, pico de gallo and another tomato sauce over white rice.  It’s pretty hearty, and I checked to make sure they hadn’t slipped butter or other dairy in it (like in a traditional recipe which would have had yogurt).  So while it probably didn’t have as many vitamins and minerals as my usual salad, it was still a tasty and warming way to do a lunch.

The afternoon blew by as I plowed my way through debugging some code (still not entirely successfully though), so mid-afternoon landed on me somewhat suddenly.  I had packed a huge thing of baby carrots and the homemade garlic hummus.  First thing I’ve noticed about the baby carrots this week is that I hate them, compared to regular carrots.  The way I usually snack on carrots is to take the ones out of the bag, rinse them off, cut the ends off and eat them.  I don’t peel them, I don’t cut them into strips.  Picture carrot eating the way Bugs Bunny would.  Sometimes they are bitter, but usually they have a very nice flavor.  These baby carrot things are the complete opposite of that.  They taste like nothing.  They are never bitter, but I think celery has more flavor than these things do.  Actually, I take that back, celery doesn’t have the hint of chlorine flavor these things have.  I bought them so that my partner would have something to eat the hummus up with, but since he is now back to bread it’s pita for that for him.  I therefore won’t be buying that again.  One thing important to note about the hummus as an afternoon snack is to make sure you have something to chase it with, some Breath Assure, or toothpaste and mouthwash, because all I tasted the rest of the day was garlic.

Dinner was a night out at a local restaurant called Portalli’s.  This was really going to be the first time hanging out in a setting where I would usually be having some glasses of good alcohol (wine in this case) and rich food, all of which I have to avoid because of the ingredients.  The alcohol abstinence is the easy part.  As much as I miss trying and enjoying new wines, I can actually get some hint of it by sniffing it from the glass.  That’s certainly not the same thing as drinking it, but I can make some sacrifices in the name of science.  The food avoidance is another matter altogether.  All places have at least a little of something that I shouldn’t be eating on this elimination diet, and it drives me crazy.  Usually I get really close to finding something only to find out it has a cream sauce, or butter, or soy sauce.  It really is incredibly restrictive for eating out.

While the rest of the table snacked on some flat bread, I found an order of PEI Mussels to hold me over for a bit.  They came out with the requisite sides of bread hanging off the side of the plates.  I distributed the bread to my friends and started into the mussels.  I got a spoonful of some of the broth and noticed the distinct taste of bread.  There wasn’t any bread floating in the broth, or anything left behind.  It was whatever few crumbs or bread material had totally dissolved into the broth.  It’s incredible to me that after two weeks of avoiding all bread products that my sense of taste for it is so acute.  I don’t consider that cheating in any way, but it was interesting how much I could taste, and how much I enjoyed the flavor.

Everyone else had ordered the Restaurant Week multi-course menu, but I couldn’t eat anything off it so I was sort of on my own.  When their Minestrone soup came out it smelled delicious so i asked if they were eating rice or orzo in the soup and if the soup had any butter in it.  The waiter was nice enough to come back with a big bowl of it without any pasta in it (it was orzo after all) and to tell me there was no butter in it.  The restaurant was also nice enough to make a mod for me by having their cioppino over spaghetti squash noodles rather than pasta.  As much as the presentation of cioppino looks great with all the shells, it’s really a pain in the butt to eat that way.  I was therefore very pleased to see that they had done that work for me.  What I was unsure about was the sauce.  A traditional cioppino is a dairy free affair.  Lots of olive oil, garlic, onions (maybe some shallots) and stewed tomatoes, but no dairy or gluten.  It is more of a broth than a sauce.  This came out looking pretty thick, which said to me that there might be some butter in it or potentially some flour as a thickener.  I didn’t taste any of that, but it was different enough from what I was expecting that I’m qualifying that I may have had some dairy or gluten in it.  Considering how sensitive my palate was to a small remnant of bread-touched sauce, I’m thinking that it’s probably not the case, but I didn’t ask because I was feeling high maintenance enough for the evening.

Health wise everything still feels pretty status quo.  Again, when I’m not getting enough rest I drag through the day without the jolts of caffeine or sugar.  I’m still having some weird knee sensations on the left side that I’ve never felt before I went on this diet, except after really long runs.  Other than that things feel pretty much in order.

Saturday is going to be another day of some good eating, all within the parameters of course, which I will hopefully be able to navigate successfully again.