Even though I only started the SCD intro diet a little over a week ago, I was eating SCD legal before that for quite a while. So its been a good few months since I've had any form of processed food containing sugar, or any refined sugar for that matter. I think everyone who starts SCD will be familiar with the cravings you get for all of your favourite sugar- and carbo-loaded foods...chocolate, a loaf of crusty wholemeal bread, a bowl of pasta, or a handful of Starburst party mix. Did I mention chocolate?
Most of us are also happily realise that within a couple of weeks these cravings lessen quite substantially. They might not go away completely, but the thought of knocking that little kid in the supermarket out and stealing his Freddo Frog is much less strong. After a painful first couple of weeks, I noticed that my carb cravings were becoming less and less powerful as time went on. I also noticed that more savoury foods, even things like broccoli, started to taste sweeter and more appetising than I had ever thought possible. Its quite a novel experience for a long-time sweet tooth.
However, over the past week or so my cravings have been back with a vengeance. Sitting next to my CB the other night, while he munched away on some pizza base with basically all of the toppings pulled off (the poor thing is lactose intolerant and had been given 2 pizzas to take home), the desire to physically assault him for a piece of that topping-less pizza was almost overwhelming. Add to this the fact that my work is incapable of holding any sort of meeting without ordering enough gourmet catering to feed half of Melbourne (one of the perks of working with surgeons I guess). Sitting metres away from a tray of vanilla slices, brownies, doughnuts and cherry slice, or a deliciously cheesy looking lasagne, or scones with jam and cream is just not much fun when you feel like you would knock over your own grandmother for even a hint of sugar.
Sitting in bed with CB last night, we were discussing my suddenly renewed sugar cravings. "Its not you though," he so wisely stated. Its something I always try and remember when I feel like this. These cravings are coming from the bugs inside me, clamouring for some food. If I give in, I'm feeding the bugs and taking 10 giant steps backwards. If I ignore the cravings, I am winning. Cravings are good, I tell myself. They mean that I am beating these bugs - that they are getting desperate. So fight them I do.
Tonight we are having some drinks with one of my friends who has recently been through a bit of a crappy time. My friends have always known me as the baker....and I miss whipping up a batch of brownies, or some choc-raspberry cupcakes, or a Mars Bar cheesecake for whatever gathering we might be having. So I decided that, in the spirit of cheering up my friend, cupcakes were on the menu. Talk about testing myself...baking 30 choc-mud and blueberry-vanilla cupcakes and not even being able to lick the spoon is definitely an exercise in will power. But I passed, and the happiness some cupcakes brought my friends made it worthwhile.
At the same time, I thought I better cook something for myself so I didn't feel left out. On a recent trip to Leo's Fine Food and Wine (my gosh I miss this place), I came across some spice mixes that contained nothing but the herbs and spices litsed in the ingredients. I usually like to make my own spice mixes, but they had some pretty cool varieties so I ended up grabbing some African and Middle Eastern mixes. I decided it was time to trial some of these, and that a slow cooked leg of lamb was the perfect vessel for my Middle Eastern mix.
The result was delicious. Four hours of slow cooking, with some basting
every now and then, resulted in a leg of lamb that was an tender as
anything and just about falling off the bone. I was so proud I took a
photo and sent it to my dad (the expert in roast lamb). I can't wait to
try it again with the African spices! Or even a traditional garlic and
rosemary marinade. My gosh it was good.
I guess the moral of the story is this: Sometimes your cravings are going to rear their ugly head and try to make life difficult for you. When this happens (and it will), you need to remember that giving in is like taking 10 steps backwards. My suggestion is to figure out what you can do that is going to take your mind off your cravings, and to focus all of your energy on this thing. On this occasion, my distraction was cooking myself something delicious and SCD legal. I also went for a super long walk while my lamb was roasting, and did some preparation for a meeting on Monday. Take your mind off your cravings, and they will suddenly become less powerful. And if worst come to worst, and you feel that you simple HAVE TO give in, try to do so in an SCD legal way. Grab a piece of fruit, make some gelatine, or even try a little honey. And steer clear of those pesky confectionary aisles in the supermarket!