Today is Day 3 of my Whole30 journey. Day 1 and 2 felt exceptionally easy, and Day 3 was feeling the same way until lunch rolled around. I ate a salad with Tessamae ranch dressing, leftover filet mignon, and an entire avocado. Yep, you read that right: a whole avocado. It was delicious.
Sidebar: a few years ago I did some Dr. Oz 21 day cleanse (and it did some good things for me, which is why I felt like I could do the Whole30). I recall eating a lot of avocados and being completely enraged that I was eating a plain avocado. Fast forward to present day and I was nearly licking the inside the skin clean to eat the entire thing. So, your tastes can change in your thirties. It’s not a myth. I didn’t even need to salt it!
Anyway, breakfast through lunch was fine, but I had my first sugar craving and it was intense. I arrived back at my desk and I really wanted to sneak one of the dark Dove chocolates in my desk. It was hard not to think about, especially as I walked past the two-days-in-a-row-someone-brought donuts next to me. I sit near a cabinet that people use as a buffet line, so I have looked at donuts and Chick-fil-a for two days straight. If there is something I love more than chocolate, it’s donuts. So, you can imagine the oppression and torture I was feeling as all the people around me scarfed donuts for two days.
I ate an apple instead of caving (honeycrisps FTW!), and the craving subsided for a few hours. But, I walked in the door at home and BAM! All I wanted was another piece of dark chocolate. We keep a jar of the individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolates in a glass jar on the kitchen counter. We’re not typically big sugar consumers, but my husband and I do enjoy a glass of wine with a piece of dark chocolate, so we keep it on hand. He’s not doing the Whole30. He can have chocolate. So, I immediately started working on dinner to refocus off what I did not need.
Sidebar #2: I used ghee, or clarified butter, for the first time tonight. I have no idea why, but I had it in my head that it would 1. not taste like butter and 2. be gross. I was wrong! It’s actually incredibly tasty! It also spread perfectly on the butternut squash I roasted. I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve read that some people put it in their coffee. I’m not that desperate, and I don’t mind drinking black coffee.
Sidebar #3: Okay, so ghee, or clarified butter, originated in India. It is unsalted butter that has been heated slowly so that the milk solids separate from the golden, liquid portion of the butter. Then, it continues to slowly heat until all of the moisture evaporates and you are left with this wonderfully nutty, slightly browned, caramel-noted spread that can be used in searing, sautéing, or seasoning food. Ghee has a higher smoke point (375 degrees Fahrenheit) than butter, so it is ideal for cooking at higher heats. It also does not require refrigeration – at least not this brand – once opened. It’s Whole30 approved because while it is still a dairy product, it does not contain lactose.
Back to my point: what surprised me about the cravings were not the cravings themselves, but the intensity of the craving. I could immediately recognize it was not a hunger craving (I was satiated from my whole avocado, of course), but almost an addiction-like craving. I’ve never been medically diagnosed as addicted to anything, but I have to imagine this is what it feels like to crave a drug, a cigarette, a drink, etc. It was intense and I could actually feel an uptick in my heart rate when my brain realized I was not going to fulfill it. My internal dialogue felt similar to Gollum talking to himself over His Precious in the Lord of the Rings movies.
It’s startling to feel the effects of what sugar does to your body when you’re recognizing the symptoms. I have to imagine that with time, sugar will go the way of hydrogenated oils in the sense it will be heavily demonized for its “side effects.”