Now I actually know the definition of "clean."
According to my scale, I lost six pounds. My boyfriend was boosting my ego with compliments about my tight, healthier frame. And most importantly, I felt happier. The combination of nutritious food and the emotional satisfaction that I was mentally steadfast in a regimen made me feel more clear.
Then Saturday rolled around. My boyfriend and I had purchased a Groupon to go skiing up in New Hampshire. Our plan was to drive up Saturday morning, stay the night, and drive home Sunday. I knew that I would have some temptation Sunday morning because we were staying at a charming bed and breakfast where we would likely be given a petit déjeuner that would be chock full of unclean ingredients. And I wouldn't be able to say no because I never wanted to be that person, who attempts to sound polite when declining her host's meal, but actually comes out sounding like a pretentious snob, condescendingly turning her nose up at perfectly good and normal pancakes. So I surrendered to the fact that there would be a minor cheat meal happening on Sunday. But it's not like it was a big deal because we would have skied for like, nine hours the day before.
So we drove up to New Hampshire, me on an empty belly (banana and coffee) and my boyfriend on a chocolate chip muffin. He was shocked and slightly saddened by the fact that I hadn't stealthily cracked off the dome of the muffin, and left the rest of the crumbling cake in the paper bag.
Due to our light breakfasts, we needed to have lunch after a couple hours of skiing. This is where my majestic clean eating edifice that I had proudly built in one week collapsed in one fell swoop.
Bye-bye benefits of Greek Yogurt for seven days
As soon as we entered the ski cafeteria, my eyes darted from chalkboard menu to chalkboard menu. Hamburgers. Chicken fingers and fries basket. "Award winning" chili bowl with a conglomerate of three different types of meat. A menu "key" illustrated which meals were Gluten Free, and which were considered "healthy choices." A little green heart distinguished diamonds from shit. And it only appeared next to the veggie wrap, which was full of mushrooms. Which I despise.
My stomach snarled in undernourishment. The banana and coffee were distant memories after four hours of skiing.
Rushed, I chose the turkey sandwich. "White or wheat bread?" The blonde cook asked readjusting her plastic sanitary gloves. "Wheat," I replied without hesitation, suddenly feeling resolute and dignified. How's that for a healthy choice?
I watched the girl unload a handful of french fries onto the plate. My boyfriend hungrily bit into his hamburger from afar. Panic pulsated through my veins as I realized I would eat these fries. Maybe I'll give them to my boyfriend. I'll just eat the pickle. I'll be able to say no. I'm strong. I'm a "clean" eater. I blog about my triumphs!
Three minutes later, I had only left four french fries for my boyfriend to finish. Clean eating diet gone to hell.
We skied for a few more hours, totaling an eight hour day. By the end of our excursion, we weren't hungry at all. We wondered if after a week of clean eating, our bodies were unaccustomed to typical processed, shitty American food, and so it filled us up for longer periods of time. It was a strange sensation, not being starved for food after eight hours of physical activity.
Dinner time came around, and we were still indifferent about our imminent feeding time. We agreed that we had to eat, otherwise we'd wake up at 2 AM scrounging for food from our innkeepers. I had found a high-rated, healthy-ish restaurant only ten minutes away from our B&B. Thinking we were in the middle of nowhere, we didn't even consider making a reservation. We were regretfully informed by the restaurant owner/ maitre d/ waiter that he had no availability. So like Jesus and Mary, we turned around and were forced to dine at one of those 2.5/3 star-rated Italian places with huge portions placed atop picnic checkered tablecloths.
And that's when the entire clean-eating diet was donezo. I ordered a cocktail, which had to have been 75% sugar. I diluted it with my lemon water. I ordered a chicken caesar salad, and decided to split a pizza with boyfriend (split= I eat one piece). I ended up eating only a quarter of the salad, and indulging in one piece of the sausage pepperoni pizza.
The amount of food I ate was not absurd. Two years ago, my boyfriend would have been alarmed. "Are you sick? You haven't eaten a thing," He would have asked feeling my forehead for a fever. I felt like I hardly ate anything. The quality of the food was disgusting in comparison to the week of kale and hummus.
That night, I couldn't sleep. I couldn't poop. I felt horrible. Like an alien in my own body.
I woke up the next day wishing it had all been a dream. It's incredible to note how our bodies react to crap processed, sugar/fat/carb laden food after a week of training it to be dependent on only wholesome food.
It is really difficult to obtain healthy, clean food when dining out. Especially when the options are so limited.