Thursday, 31 March 2011

Day 5

0830h.  Sun. Snow. Ice. Ahhh...looks like spring in Alberta. March is leaving like a lamb. On a morning like this one, I just about forget my lack of chocolate surging through my veins. Just about.

1255h. Searching for sunglasses. Instead, come up with Hershey kisses in a tote bag and in the car. Why do I seem to have kisses everywhere? It's like an alcoholic who has flasks of vodka stashed everywhere. And why do I suffer from sunglass amnesia since the birth of my children? I cannot keep track of these sunglasses to save my life. Argh. Can I have some chocolate to help ease my frustration? Just a wee bit?

1256h. Still no sunglasses but take some deep breaths and avoid cheating.

1520h. Convinced there is a conspiracy going on at the office. Someone must be spraying chocolate-scented room freshener (Is there even such a thing? Make a mental note to google that.) It really smells like an Aero bar. Compile list of suspects who would do something so evil:

Suspect #1: "Tom" (office intern)
-presents a tough exterior, but beneath it, likely a big chocolate chip cookie (evidence: has pictures of his young nieces on his desk)
-has memory like steel trap and good researcher--could source such an air freshener

Suspect #2: "Callie" (office assistant)
-very efficient, knows where everything is
-enjoys sweet things, may be tempted to ingest freshener herself

Suspect #3: "Elise" (office manager)
-comes off as very sweet and nice but extremely shrewd tough cookie underneath
-perhaps thinks that driving me into a chocolate crazed delirium will make me overlook grossly erroneous paycheques (hence giving herself an unexpected "bonus")

Suspect #4: "Gary" (dead co-worker)
-loved practical jokes when alive
-supposedly haunts various places around town

Suspect #5: "Tammy" (office intern)
-very friendly and helpful demeanor
-working on developing her "inner bitch," recently assaulted youngster with a crochet hook
-seems determined to entrap me to cheat on this experiment

Suspect #6: "Larry" (alive co-worker)
-could not plan this without the help of his wife
-thinks internet is a brand of internationally acceptable fishing net; likely not even aware of my chocolate-free experiment

1525h. Still undecided on most likely suspect. Will do more research tomorrow.

1911h. Face the ultimate challenge: make chocolate chip cookie dough. Split dough in half: half will destined for chocolate chips, the other half butterscotch chips and coconut. You can guess which ones will be devoured by me this evening. While investigating the chocolate chips in the cupboard, debate about whether the chips are semi-sweet or milk. Really think tasting is the only way to know. Wonder if one chip counts? Hear voice of intern from office; "Would one sip of wine count for an alcoholic?" Yes it would. OK, I have my answer. Darnit--the smell of chocolate is intoxicating. Again, feel empathy for alcoholics. And why am I hearing voices now?

2050h. Marking darts on cute fabric for summer (well, truth be told, seasonless because it is a beautiful 100% wool fabric) sheath dress. Doing this now because I need to remove pins so that I can use them to pin knit cuffs to babysitter's jacket (arms have outgrown cherished dance jacket) and try to sew new cuffs to it. As I do this, I seriously wonder why in God's name am I doing this. No, not sewing (no, that's fun---I love sewing), why am I doing this suicide mission---no chocolate for another 25 days. I really want some chocolate now.

2053h. Darn cuffs are proving to be a bit challenging. Chocolate would ease my pain. Me want chocolate.

2154h. Just finished two large, warm from the oven, butterscotch-coconut cookies and a glass of milk. On most days, that would have been overkill and more than sufficient to satisfy my sweet tooth. Not today: still thinking about the chocolate chip cookie dough cooling in the fridge...mmmm--warm chocolate chip cookies from the oven...God, give me strength.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Day 4-1

0614h. Running around obstacle course devised by boot camp instructor. Feel like research rat in a maze; minus the rat food pellets and electrical shocks. Think about how my general intake of all things sugary is down. Good this be the start of something positive? Make mental note to check weight today to see if any objective change has occurred.

0755h. Congratulate myself on how much better I am eating lately; then remind myself I have not faced two of the most dangerous situations for a chocoholic like me: fresh baking containing chocolate and a social event with chocolate items. Again, feel a kinship to alcoholics.

0859h. Give very hungry kids left over chocolate chip muffin from yesterday. Feel extreme temptation to sneak a little morsel for myself. Talk myself down and survive. Eat a date.

0952h. Doing boat pose without ravenous cravings for chocolate. Unfortunately, this yoga session is intruded upon by work and not chocolate fixations. Return to work after sun salutation.

1022h. Looking in car for something and stumble upon Hershey kisses. ignored and kisses are left alone.

1054h. Visiting fire hall with children on a fun little field trip. Notice food debris on daughter's cheek; use oldest trick in book (mom saliva and elbow grease) to remove. Wonder if some of debris is from chocolate chip muffin and if this counts as a cheat.

1425h. Enjoying a nice cup of strong tea and finishing off a book (Annabel by Kathleen Winters). Very thankful that my favorite companion to tea is shortbread: no chocolate in sight!

1644h. Watching children splash around in puddles. SPOILER ALERT: GOOEY MOMMY MOMENT AHEAD.
Am reminded of chocolate because both girls' spring jackets feature brown as the dominant color. Laugh to myself that I am quite happy NOT to be eating chocolate right now anyways because I am doing something much better; watching the giddy smiles and giggles of my daughters as they discover the delight in splashing in mud puddles.

1645h. Ponder the endorphin rush of chocolate. Does the endorphin rush of spending time with my children exceed that of chocolate? OK, the sappy answer is yes.

The alternative answer is: eating chocolate makes a great deal less mess than cleaning up after 3 kids under the age of five. Why did I not just consider a constant chocolate infusion in lieu of having children. Berate myself for being terrible mother for even entertaining such a thought; however, this might be an interesting hypothesis for future research (for those without children). Who would participate in such research? Where could you publish it--The Journal for People with Too Much Time on Their Hands? Oh... I just thought of a great title for the investigation: "Novel Way to Curb Over-Population: Offer Populace Chocolate in exchange for Sterilization." Will alleviate guilt of coming up with such a cock-a-mainny idea by eating something chocolate. Or not.

1805h. For the first time ever, do not feel any guilt in eating my dinner from McDonald's. Why? Because there is no involvement of chocolate in a McChicken and fries! (Just obscene amounts of trans fatty acids and sodium.). I said I was swearing off chocolate for 30 days; not turning into some nutrition nut.

1921h. Quick grocery shop to pick up bananas. Quite fitting given the fact that the consumers of these bananas are 3 little monkeys. (Now before animal rights groups get all upset that I have 3 monkeys in captivity; it is just a little joke--the monkeys are my three kids. I'm sure that is much more politically correct; calling your children animals versus actually keeping animals in a cage.)

1921h. Spot chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream on sale. Darnit--very tempted.

1923h.  Add box of granola bars that do not feature chocolate in the ingredient list for my work desk snack stash to grocery basket.

2145h. While watching "The Good Wife" (one of the few must see TV shows in my life: the others being--"60 Minutes" and this week's coming episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" featuring Gwyneth Paltrow), check weight.

2146h. Feel slight disappointment that it is exactly the same as my baseline. Couldn't I have lost even a teeny-weeny bit of weight for all my troubles?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Day 3-1

0823h. Pondering my day ahead. Hear my children fight about who gets to go on a field trip with mama to visit her workplace. Decide that any drug (chocolate or otherwise) might ease my pain...

1022h. Purchase muffins at Tim Horton's (to help placate children who didn't get to go on work field trip)---unsuspectedly choose chocolate chip one.

1100h. Get home and realize that I cannot split the chocolate chip muffin into 5 (to share amongst all family members) since chocolate chip muffins contain chocolate chips in them (news flash!)...divide said muffin into 4.

1601h. Moment to catch breath in busy afternoon; walk by front desk and smell chocolate immediately. Accuse receptionist of eating chocolate. Greeted with vehement denials and pointed in the direction of the waiting room: look suspiciously at people seated--see no evidence of recent chocolate ingestion. Is this like people who smell burnt toast and then have a seizure? Am I going to have a seizure now?

1602h. Still conscious--no sign of seizure.

1603h. Wonder about this sudden acute sense of smell regarding chocolate. Is this like blind people developing heightened senses? What else could I develop a heightened sense for if I restrict myself from it? Women on the verge of labor? That could be worth a bundle.

1640h. Receive visit from lovely friend. Given details on a chocolate containing tea that tastes delightful. Chocolate tea? What will they invent next; chocolate underwear? Oh, wait a minute, that has been invented, and I think I received it for a bridal shower many moons a go. Will not go into further details since I promised to keep this blog "G" rated.

1645h. My babysitter decides she would like to try her own chocolate-free trial. Convince her to re-consider since on a good day she is very likely to be caught in a gust of wind and sent to the Far East. Suggest she try carob in lieu...

1647h. Revise post chocolate-deprivation celebration menu:

Post meal apertif: chocolate tea.

1939h. Winding up last tidbits for the workday and think about the place chocolate has in my life. Is it like a nice glass of wine some people enjoy after a hard day at work? Is it the taste? The texture? The smell? The sudden sugar rush?

1940h. Come up with various items that are covered with chocolate that I adore: chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered pretzels: until now, I hadn't even thought about the pretzels. They are the perfect blend of sweet and savoury. Suddenly remember about the WHITE chocolate covered pretzels hidden above my cupboard (courtesy of a boy scout fundraiser months ago). The thought of eating white chocolate pretzels was abhorrent just a few short weeks ago. Will need to reconsider that.

1941h. Think about watching Black Swan at home in a few short moments. Thankfully, I will be deeply satisfied simply eating hot buttered popcorn and drinking cola--no chocolate necessary.

2232h. Finish Black Swan. Deeply disturbed about Nina's descent into madness. Suspect a great deal of regular chocolate ingestion could have solved many of her woes.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 2-1 (ie/day 2 of my 2nd attempt)

0108h. Home after a long night at work. Got to late work because I was working on this blog. Could that mean the next 30 days (after the 30+ days it will take to complete this experiment) should be to stay away from blogs?

1911h. Encouraged by the feedback from friends. One will even refrain from bringing a chocolate dessert to book club! She is a nicer soul than I; I would definitely bring something deeply chocolately to tempt and torment! Another sent a link describing carob. Hmmmm...gram for gram, carob has more calories and tastes different. Nice thought, but not my cup of tea. It would be like driving around my Honda with a BMW emblem on the front; just because the emblem there, doesn't make it a BMW. Similarly with carob--I think I will plod along on my chocolate free experiment (without carob--although I may change my mind; I am only on day 2 of my 2nd attempt).

1920h. Driving to yoga class. Think back to yummy organic chocolate bar that a very astute person brought me back from a trip to visit his very astute girlfriend. It was so good that I tried to hide it from husband (was very disappointed to find some of it missing despite my attempt to hide it!). Makes me think that maybe chocolate is a great equalizer. Maybe it could even solve world wars. Remember back to when I was a student on a practicum in Southern Manitoba. We visited a nearby Native reservation twice a week. The children had challenging lives (to put it mildly), and I found it hard to develop a rapport so that they would trust me. A few weeks in, I decided to bring some Hershey kisses along. I asked the children to close their eyes, and I gently placed a chocolate kiss in each of their hands. The glimmer in their eyes when they opened them was priceless. Wow, maybe there is something to this chocolate free experiment; it is making me realize what an important role chocolate plays in all our lives.

1925h. Wonder if anyone will believe above story. If I get a book deal out of this blog (my main motivation for starting it, if you want to know), and I'm on Oprah (or whatever turns out to be the equivalent of the Oprah Winfrey Show on OWN next fall when the show is done forever) plugging my new book, this is where the truth will come out, and she will crucify me for making up elements of my 30 day challenge (a la A Million Little Pieces).  For the record, I never brought chocolate kisses to me to work to help engage the little kids on the reservation. Truth be told, I was just afraid of being bitten to death by the dogs that swarmed the vehicle once we arrived.

1957h. Started yoga class. The theme is core. Moments into boat pose, I realize something terrible: there is a direct correlation between doing core work and craving chocolate deeply.

2045h. Thought about chocolate for most of the class (despite having a very different intention set out for myself at the beginning of the class).

2047h. Relaxation time--everyone's favourite part of yoga class. Planning the menu for my dinner once the 30 days are up:
Salad: ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and chocolate chips)
Appetizer: PBN sandwich (PB & Nutella sandwich)
Main: my famous chocolate/Reese's PB cup cake
Dessert: chocolate-PB pudding cake
See a bit of  a theme there--AKA chocolate and PB?!?

2150h. Just about ate chocolate chip granola bar. Substitute with date.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day 4 (or 1-1?)

1632h. Speak with breakfast guest from yesterday. She noticed slip up and thinks it counts; I am back to square one.
1633h. Have further discussions with colleagues; dread upcoming events that will tempt with incredible chocolate desserts: play at the Citadel and dessert (at Vi's, no less!) this coming wknd, book club in a few weeks (which always include a multitude of scrumptious desserts; a common occurance in female-led pot lucks) this how alcoholics feel during Christmas party season?
1703h. Lament to husband that I am going to forfeit next Sunday because I want a smooth mocha latte at fantastic coffee shop in City after a long run. He reminds me that I survive 30 days of fasting (AKA Ramadan); I can survive this.
1705h. Decide to get vanilla latte instead this wknd.
1959h. Finish great yoga flow. Seems to work wonders for sore legs from 10.5km run this afternoon. You know what else would work wonders for my legs? Chocolate. Hmmmm, I seem to have an issue here...

Day 3

0815h. Making blueberry pancakes. Spontaneously think it would be fun to invite a few guests to join in same. Decide to stay in pajamas as a sign of my spontaneity.
0930h. Made hot chocolate for one of said guests who does not drink coffee. Totally forget that hot chocolate contains chocolate (duhhh!) because enjoying company of people over the age of 4; consequently pour hot chocolate into my own coffee.
1411h. Realize that I drank hot chocolate inadvertently. Have discussion with husband; decide that this does not count because it was an unconscious action.
2155h. Crave something sweet. Chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter chocolate pudding cake come to mind. Fight craving by making scones: an experimental batch of raspberry almond scones.
2225h. Try out scones fresh from the oven. Taste lovely but a few too many raspberries; use less next time.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Day 2

0606h. Running around indoor track wondering why I am doing this. Then I suddenly realize that it is similar to why I am exercising at this ungodly hour; the hypothesis being that the first few moments are painful but afterwards it is pure bliss.
0707h. Drive by newly opened Tim Horton's location. Hmmm...would it be an issue avoiding chocolate there? No, not really. Coffee is my weakness there. Perhaps that should be the focus for my next 30 days (after these 30 days are up, of course!).
0709h. Park in garage and spot lululemon bag. Eureka--the reason I am doing this: "Do one thing a day that scares you." This is my one thing: avoiding chocolate. Nice to know that 17.3% of my disposable income is going to lululemon; now their philosophy is dictating how I live. What's next? Doing yoga on Wreck beach while drinking a mocha latte? Wait a minute: that does sound like a great day to spend an afternoon...although I have just cheated in my fantasy (mocha latte).
0715h. Notice recipe for milk chocolate crinkle cookies on my fridge. I have been meaning to try that recipe out for ages. Here is the ultimate question: can I stay chocolate-free if I bake with it?
1245h. Really, really craving a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate right now.
1834h. Contemplating all the other yummy desserts that do not include chocolate: cheesecake, apple pie, pumpkin cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, blueberry and white chocolate scones (remember, in this experiment, white chocolate does not count!), rice pudding...
1902h. Would love to make peanut butter-chocolate pudding cake...
1910h. Husband going to get himself take-out. I request cheesecake.
1955h. He returns with aforementioned cheesecake and Blizzard for himself. Oh, I forgot about those--all the good flavors contain chocolate! Darn, another thing to avoid!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Day 1

0830h. On my way to work. No thoughts about chocolate...until now.
0927h. Friend comments that her boyfriend doesn't understand why I am doing. My brain comments that it doesn't understand why I am doing this. Why am I doing this again?
1254h. Manager tells me she found hot chocolate Tassimo cartridges at IGA. Mmmm...that sounds yummy.
1255h. Realize I can't have hot chocolate because of my self-imposed moritorium on chocolate.
1522h. Doing paperwork at my desk. Look at my nearby shelf and see my "emergency" work snacks: 2 types of granola bars that both feature chocolate as key ingredients. Eat 7 almonds instead.
1705h. Left-over chicken mole for dinner. Wonder if I should eat something else. But isn't this kinda like an alcoholic having coq au vin? I don't think it counts.
1907h. Just finished putting son to bed. Feel like something sweet. How about those milk chocolate/white chocolate swirl chocolate chips in the baking cupboard? No, that won't do. Eat blueberry/brown sugar with flax cookie instead.
1914h. Think about why I am doing this while sweeping kitchen floor. Debate about a donation to charity. How much? Which charity? Perhaps $1/day; no that seems pretty biddly. How about $1/hour? That sounds better. Now what charity? How about the charity the Palestinian physician who lost 3 daughters in an air-raid attack set up in his daughters' names? Good cause, but not really tied to the chocolate prohibition. Decide to donate money to local soup kitchen.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Day 0

0844h. So it all starts so innocently. A trip into Edmonton for a work meeting, a conversation about how some of us need to hide chocolate from our husbands, another story about how a friend experienced a craving for chocolate so strong while in Africa that she suffered from terminal insomnia---until she finally gave into her uncontrollable craving at 3am. She begged her friend for a chocolate bar from her secret stash; after reimbursing her of course!.

Hmm...I wondered, could I do it? Could I give up chocolate just for fun? Just to prove it to myself?

1252h. Yummy. That chocolate cake and brownie was delightful. Oh wait, wasn't I going to give up chocolate? OK, I will start again. Gee, I lasted a whole 4 hours.

1346h. Does white chocolate count? One advisor suggests no: it technically does not contain cocao. Another suggests that perhaps I should compare it to giving up something else, like alcohol. If I drank 24 oz of vodka a day, would I consider a beer cheating? Touche. Good point. Given the fact I do not crave white chocolate, I will put it on the allowed list.

1701h. Errand at London Drugs. Why are all the aisles covered in chocolate? Oh right, Easter is around the corner. Companion reminds me that perhaps this was not a good time of year to try this chocolate-free experiment.

1702h. Still looking for Tassimo drink cartridges. Why are we still surrounded by chocolate?

1717h. Carol's Sweets. Are you kidding me? Really, more chocolate?

1731h. Manor Cafe. Walk in and immediately confronted by dessert tray, and you guessed it--two, giant pyramidal brownie hunks.  Discussion ensues on the various food items that contain chocolate, such as the chicken mole I made for dinner last week (2 tbsp of Quik syrup in the sauce).

1844h. Time for dessert selections: the above mentioned brownie, a luscious sphere of chocolate cheesecake surrounded by more chocolate, tiramisu with chocolate...I will have some creme brule, please. And coffee.

2131h. Tell husband of blog idea. He wonders why I am giving up chocolate. I suggest he should be happy that I am not giving up other things. Don't they say chocolate is often a substitute for other things?

2202h. Happy that I have survived day 1. Hmmm, should I do a baseline weight as well?