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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Viceless Day 61-84: Casually Being Viceless

For the past two weeks I've been keeping my Viceless life style very casual. I wanted to see what happened if I wasn't blogging or talking about it all the time. What if I just made small, discreet personal choices and didn't make a big deal about it. What happens if this is just how I live, not a project I'm undertaking?

In some ways, it's easy and natural. I'm just a person who says "no cheese" or "no, thank you" a lot. Overall, that's no big deal. Where things still get tricky is eating with groups. For instance, I was at a group gathering where they were ordering pizza and I had to ask for a salad to be ordered just for me. While everyone else ate pizza, I ate my salad. Kinda felt like an a-hole for some reason, but only for a few minutes and then the conversation picked up and the salad was forgotten. Also, eating out with a bunch of friends who all want to share food is still a sticky situation. I feel like the odd man out. I've been able to sidestep making a big deal out of my choices by not being too strict while eating at restaurants. I haven't officially cheated. I haven't eaten any big no-no but when out with groups, I'm not making a fuss if there is a little cream in a dish or sugar in a sauce. I'm leaning into being Viceless but I'm not freaking out about it. This way of living feels damn good. I'm not uptight. I can eat basically anywhere. I have my few low-glycemic treats like Cashewtopia ice cream for when I something special. I waste no time feeling bad either physically or emotionally about what I ate. Admittedly, it was  still very awkward watching my friends eat donuts while I sipped on my water the other night, but overall, being Viceless is no big deal if I don't make it a big deal.

So what happens at the end of the three months?

I haven't totally decided yet. I like knowing that I can go three months without alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy and caffeine. Each of those individually seems huge to me. Alcohol! I can socialize without it. Sugar! I can be happy without it. Gluten! I can not eat the bread. It's physically possible for me to sit at a table with a bread basket and not eat it. Dairy! Well, I found an ice cream substitute... Caffeine! I got through an incredibly intense school course without it.

Not sure yet how Viceless I will remain in the future but it feels damn good to know that I can have a great time without any of those things. I'm happy and productive. I very rarely feel guilty. My future choices are still unclear but I'm going to be making them with a whole new perspective.

Viceless Day 60-72: I Watched TV

I've been surprised myself to find that what I miss the most is watching TV alone. Last night, I made a very conscious decision to break my commitment to not watching TV alone. It felt soooooooo good.

That one didn't work for me. Ok. I want to watch TV alone sometimes. I accept this. One vice broken 2  1/2 months into the experiment. I could have held out longer but I thought about it for a while and when I finally did watch TV it was amazing and relaxing and refreshing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Viceless Day 54-60: Living in the Loophole

Oh, there are loopholes to being Viceless. They started occurring to me about a week into this experiment.  For instance, potato chips are sugar, gluten and dairy free. I've only had them twice in the two months I've been Viceless but still... obviously they are a vice! French fries are also technically allowed but I've only had sweet potato fries a few times. Overall, I'm trying not to just replace my old vices with new vices but it's so, so hard in NYC!
A loophole to heaven. 

The other night, my beautiful, genius, mischievous roomie in New York looked at me and said, "I've got another loophole for you." Loophole has become an inside joke with us because NYC is full of treats catering to the gluten, sugar and dairy free crowd and my roomie seems to know where to find all of them, 24/7. My typical life in Jackson Hole does not have easy access to Viceless treats. If I want ice-cream made from honey and cashew milk I have to make it myself. This is a laborious process that I rarely get around to. Unfortunately, I just learned that a 24-hour bodega (aka: upscale convenience store) about a block and a half from my apartment in NYC sells vanilla cashew ice-cream. I'm in so much trouble. 

The only redeeming quality is that like most treats based on nuts instead of white sugar, I can actually stop eating it at some point. About half a cup and my body says, thank you, that was delicious. I'm full. This is a miracle for my ice-cream consumption.  

Where it gets complicated is that these treats are everywhere. Brownies sweetened with sweet potatoes instead of sugar. Bars of nuts held together with honey. Chia seed pudding! Entire menus of deserts at my disposal. I have to start using self control again! Damn. 
I had the Warm Apple Crunch. So simple,
so delicious. 

Overall, I'm grateful for these sweet treats because I've found life is better when you can indulge. A week without dessert never seemed right. Plus, it feels great to be indulging in something that doesn't trigger never-ending cravings or food hangovers. 

So, there are loopholes and I'm still figuring out how I want to navigate them. As someone who has been known to have a snickers mid-day and Ben and Jerry's at night, I'm still thinking of this as a mass improvement. I feel better. I started this project to see if I could feel better. Hey! Great! Now onto the next dilemma.

How do I manage to not live in the loophole when there are  so many temptations literally around every corner? How am I going to continue to live after my 3 month commitment? How do I convince the grocery stores in Jackson Hole to carry this Cashewtopia ice-cream? To be continued...

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