Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not-So-Fat Tuesday

Photo by Frank DiCesare (www.frankdicesarephoto.com)
Today is Fat Tuesday, which means the Mardi Gras season that began on January 6 (Twelfth Night) will end tonight. For me, though, Mardi Gras 2016 has been anything but fat. In fact, it’s been a skinny one. I’ve been on a carb-free diet.

For the past six weeks, I’ve sworn off all semblance of sweets, grains (including beer), fried food, fast food, or anything else that has flavor and can be consumed on the cheap.

“You’ll easily lose 10 pounds in the next month,” my doctor told me. “It’s a very healthy diet.”

On the flip side, I've been allowed to eat all the steak I want (provided my wallet can handle the cost); all the pork I want (provided it isn’t seasoned with any kind of sugar-based rub or sauce); all the chicken I want (provided I don’t eat so much that I begin to cluck and grow feathers); all the fruit I want (provided they are not high in concentrated sugar, which includes fruit drinks), and all the vegetables I want (provided my taste buds don't die of boredom).

I've cheated a few times. (Who hasn’t cheated during a six-week carb-free diet to maintain their sanity?) One could threaten to chain me in an Inquisition-era torture chamber and I'd still get to my girlfriend’s Yorkshire pudding at Christmas. And no matter how healthy this diet is, I refuse to go without king cake during Mardi Gras.

Last night, after weeks of going without, I had a bowl of Blue Bell ice cream. I never thought chocolate and vanilla ice cream could taste so good. Ice cream, glorious ice cream! I’ve been eager to eat you!

All cheating aside, the aggregate results of my diet have been good. I’ve lost about 12 pounds and have been reunited with the leftmost notches in my belts. My face looks thinner; I’m sleeping better; I have more energy, and all that Weight Watchers kind of crap.

Indeed the diet has worked, but it’s also had its downer days. The worst part for me has been the lack of grains. I now believe that bread is somehow linked directly to the better angles of my nature. Jewish rye, French baguettes, Italian bread and pasta, Irish soda bread, pumpernickel, English muffins, even American whole wheat bread are all wired to my psyche. I’ve gone without them for six weeks and at times my better angels have had to whip out their lightsabers and duel with the dark side of my Force. In short, my normally sunny disposition has been tested.

For six weeks, I’ve had to walk past the bakery aisle of every supermarket I’ve shopped, lest I turn into a pillar of sugar. I’ve driven past every fast food joint, with the exception of an emergency stop at a Lafayette Whataburger last week. (Please see my “Lost in Lafayette” post for more details.) And for the love of all things holy and sacred, I think I’ve forgotten what pizza tastes like. I feel like a car engine that’s been asked to run on motor oil alone. My kingdom for something dough-based and baked!

So if I’ve offended anyone or behaved like an ogre on androstenedione, please forgive me. The lack of grains has gone to my head and emptied my patience. I still have another 15 pounds to go before I reach my so-called “college weight.” How I will accomplish that goal smiling is a mystery akin to Stonehenge. But it must be done. I ain’t a college kid anymore.

I do, however, have a few more hours to score one last king cake.