Not every meal can be enjoyed with Mardi Gras fanfare.
I once read not to expect every meal to be a sensational taste adventure, to expect that some meals will simply be sustenance and that’s OK.
I’ve always found it hard to swallow this piece of advice, much like swallowing a spinach smoothie that was made a little too heavy on the spinach; it’s not altogether enjoyable but I power through for the sake of good health.
It’s like I feel cheated in some way if my meals don’t consist of nibbling on a warm baguette with a side of brie, grapes, wine and a chocolate croissant for good measure. I mean the French get to do it. Why can’t I? It’s so unfair, the French get everything. The Eiffel Tower. Chocolate pastries coupled with miniature waistlines. Coco Chanel. Honestly, they’re a bit show-offy aren’t they?
So this weekend after de-toxing faithfully—well, 90 percent faithfully, I had one slip up where I needed 1-3 chocolate chip cookies before I snapped and went on a bakery crawl all across town—my boyfriend invited me out for dinner with some college friends of his that were in town for the weekend. I had already went on an hour-long hike in the mountains and mentally pep talked myself into getting a salad or fish as going out to eat didn’t have to be a torturous experience all because I didn’t get to live it up French style.
That is until I heard where we were going—Bj’s Brewhouse which not only is a brew house (problem No. 1) but has amazing pizza (problem No. 2). I was instantly losing my strong foundation of resolve to smugly enjoy a salad and instead only had visions of pizza slices and frosty mugs of beer dancing through my head.
No, I insisted. No, no no. I haven’t been doing all this work just to throw away 2,000 calories on deep dish cheesy pizza and a fountain of booze. But I wanted it, so bad. The inner saboteur tried to reason that one bad evening when I’d been so good couldn’t hurt. Lots of normal people allow themselves to enjoy a night on the town untethered of diet plans and detox’s.
But normal people probably don’t yo-yo with their weights over the course of a lifetime either. And pizza and beer would lead to me saying dessert was OK, too, and then it would be really hard to come off of that. And if I could just resist bad food even one time at a restaurant it would surely give me strength to do it again and again.
Once I was handed a menu, I couldn’t help but stare at the pizza salivating for a good long while and even found they had gluten free pizza, so that seemed promising—sort-of. I forced myself to find the healthy section of the menu, however, with meal options all below 500 calories.
I spotted a cherry chipotle glazed salmon with asparagus and cous-cous and admittedly it looked pretty appetizing. I mean it was no deep-dish pizza, but it might work. I changed my mind next to fourteen times, going back and forth between pizza and salmon until I finally shut the menu and firmly decided I would pick the healthy option. It had to be good, the picture was very convincing.
When I placed my order for the salmon, I felt a surge of pride in making a healthy choice that I thought it couldn’t hurt to reward myself with just one beer. I ended up having two—oops—but the fact that I ordered the salmon (which ended up being absolutely delicious, no deprivation feelings at all) when there were burgers and pizzas aplenty at the table felt like a major coup for me nonetheless. And if my earlier hike was for to be given up for calories, I was happy to spend them on top-notch brews.
The next morning my healthy choice from the night before emboldened me to comfortably order a vegetable egg-white omelet with a side of fruit for our Sunday morning brunch ritual instead of what I really wanted which was a doughnut accompanied by uh, more doughnut.
I suppose I could begrudgingly admit that not every meal has to be a sensational taste adventure. I would like it if they all were, but for the sake of my waistline, sometimes a healthy taste sensation can be just as satisfying as a pizza or chocolate doughnut. Sometimes. And other times, just savor one beautiful doughnut (from Café Bonjour as those are the best in almost all the land) and call it a day.