I’m doing better than I imagined I would with this Whole Life Challenge. I’m being as obsessive as I knew I would be, but it isn’t as difficult once you get the hang of not being able to eat half of what you usually eat. It isn’t that half of what I usually eat is not on my lists of approved foods, there are only a few things missing. It is just that those few things are part of so many of the “normal” foods, accounting for America’s obesity problems I assume.

Something that I didn’t even know existed and had never tried before WLC was quinoa.

a goosefoot found in the Andes, where it was widely cultivated for its edible starchy seeds before the introduction of Old World grains. (Definition stolen directly from the Google search page.)

I have tried couscous and hated it. I have tried falafel and been disappointed. The only thing that would make me try quinoa was that there wasn’t anything else left on my list of possible things to have as a side dish with dinner. So I tried it. The first time it wasn’t cooked right and needed much more salt added. Once I did that it was okay. The next time I used rainbow quinoa (it comes in other colors) and I cooked it in beef or chicken broth or something better than water. Much better and I actually liked it.

It is slightly crunchy and sorta nutty. I hate beans because they are sorta crunchy and taste like dirt to me. I have no idea why quinoa is working for me. But it does and I wouldn’t mind having it once a week or so after the challenge is done. Dick, not so much. I thought the way I cooked it last night was perfect. I had been simmering stew beef for almost two hours when I took off some of the liquid and used it for making the quinoa. It even had wine in it. I thought it was delicious. Dick didn’t really care for the bird seed. But then again, he eats beans.

I think the most amazing thing has been my chocolate consumption. We are on day 22 today. We are done with three weeks of this challenge. I waited for five days, until I had a bonus point to use, and set out one serving of chocolate. I could use my point for that serving and if it took me more days to eat it, it wasn’t going to keep counting for points. I still have some left. I have made one serving of chocolate last for fifteen days plus whatever is left in there.

Obviously, I’ve missed entire days of eating chocolate. And when I have a piece, it is about the size of one little M&M piece and I let it melt in my mouth, savoring the richness, the goodness, the joy that is chocolate. And then I am tempted to take a second piece, so I go away from the bowl and just have the rest of my evening without problem. The temptation lasts for perhaps twenty seconds.

Today is National Museum Day and we have tickets to go to a museum for free. The museum is near the Market. Also near the Market is Kaminsky’s. I love Kaminsky’s. It is a dessert restaurant. They have wonderful, delightful, delicious, decadent, heavenly desserts. After we are done with the museum, we are going to Kaminsky’s and I am having a dessert. With water because I only want to lose one point. But I want one of those desserts and after three weeks, I really think I’m allowed to splurge. I don’t drink and I’ve learned to like quinoa. I’ve made one serving of chocolate last for three damn weeks. I get a prize. My greatest fear as I write this is that after not having sugar for so long, the dessert will actually be too sweet and won’t be as wonderful as I anticipate. I’m willing to risk it.

Because of all these diet changes, I have lost 4.5 pounds so far. Most of that was right at the beginning and it was scaring me. For the first couple days I was starving most of the time. I didn’t know what to eat or how to make sure I had enough food around to pick from. Now I have better control over my appetite because my kitchen is fully stocked with really good food that I can eat at any time. That, and I don’t have to keep drinking that damn water and so I can enjoy food to the fullest and still lose weight.

All in all, I’m challenged by this but I’m also learning. I think that was the point. Learn how to be healthy during all your days. Don’t worry about the calorie content of anything, worry about the list of ingredients. If it is a chemical shit storm, don’t eat it. If it has sugar, don’t eat it. If it is gluten, don’t eat it. Hell, even if it is rice or white, red, purple, or yellow potatoes – don’t eat it.

I told the dentist it was worse than Paleo and she asked how it could be. I said, “No honey” and she understood. We, as a species, crave fat and sugar. They are both sources of energy – long and short term. In ages past, we were very likely to starve to death because food was scarce. Today, food is plentiful and ubiquitous and sugar as well as fat is everywhere. Choosing healthy isn’t as bad as sounds. There is still plenty to eat out there. You just have to learn to search for it. Who would have thought to look under the Qs.