I thought it was time I gave you guys the post-mortem on the organic Christmas plan I blogged about a while ago.
Overall things went smoothly. There wasn't a complete paucity of chips and pop, but I managed to keep it to an acceptable minimum. The same went for cookies, chocolate, etc., except for one small problem.
Here's the thing. Celebration and food are inextricably linked in the human experience. Whether your family is coming together over a roast beef and yorkshire pudding, a salad and a vegan nutlog, fish cheeks and seaweed, or just a cup of tea, we associate good times with food. I did address this a bit in ManiFeasto, but I think I underestimated the deep, visceral need to have a cookie with your tea at 4:00 PM on Christmas Eve.
At 4:20 PM on Christmas Eve, I was baking.
With that problem solved, it was time to make the turkey dinner. Let's review, shall we?
Christmas dinner, which will be our hour of feasting, is going to be organic: from the burnished bird on the platter to the butter in the stuffing, from the orange cranberry sauce to the ice cream on the free-range-pumpkin pie. Yes, it will cost me a mint - but think what I will save in the long run.
Full of crusader-spirit, I went to the health food store to inquire about organic turkeys. I saw the notice while waiting in line, so I nipped over to read it.
"Free Range Organic Turkeys," the sign read -- "$3.75/lb. Minimum 25 pounds."
Go ahead, open your calculators. Got 'em? Okay, let's do this. 3.75 X 25 = $93.75.
Ninety Three Seventy Five.
So an organic free range turkey dinner is not for the proletariat. Or for the bourgeosie, for that matter. By those standards, the fresh farm-raised bird for $50 looks positively frugal and eminently reasonable...I got one of those instead.
I DID manage the organic pumpkin pie. But, I'm sad to say that I didn't actually eat any of it: I was too full from fresh turkey and organic mashed potatoes with organic butter. Aside: Oh my gosh...droolworthy. My daughter Charlotte, who usually eschews all vegetables and fruit (except broccoli, which she eats in quantity and with relish), ate the entire pie herself, in three sittings. Christmas dinner, Boxing Day breakfast, and Boxing Day lunch. She practically turned orange before my very eyes.
So the dinner was gorgeous, although not quite as purist as I had hoped. As for the rest of the plan, it was a resounding success. We had a minimum of sweets, processed foods, pop, alcohol, creamy egg nog, and so on. We did receive some chocolates from people as gifts, and I was more than happy to have them since I had, with my steely resolve, not bought any myself. In particular, I got a lovely box of Godiva chocolates and truffles from my brother-in-law. There were only about 12 chocolates in the box, but let me tell you it lasted until well into January.
This brings me to my next point, and the reason for today's subject line. When you do without these things for a good long stretch - maybe a few weeks at a time - a little really goes a long way from that point on. It is shocking to me that, when I had a piece of cheesecake today, I could barely stand it: the sweetness and richness were way over the top, and I felt utterly crappy afterwards. "Weird," I thought to myself, "I don't usually have a problem with cheesecake...unless there isn't any, which can be a problem...why is this bothering me?" It's the weeks I have spent avoiding sugar, salt, fat, and empty carbs. My body has adjusted to the leaner, cleaner fuel, and obviously prefers it.
I have an almost detached interest in the long-term effects of eating this way. I am not talking about being on a weight-loss diet - I don't know how much more fabulous I could get, frankly - but about improving the quality of my body on a cellular level. I'm thinking I could get some smoother skin, maybe a better night's sleep, and possibly even shed a bit of the soft cushiony layer I have acquired on my internal organs and just under my skin. You know the kind of thing. A bit of extra energy never hurt anybody either.
I'm thinking this year will be an interesting one. I foresee a lot of inventive vegetable preparation (maybe I have never mentioned that I am not a green girl -- nothing is more loathsome to me than salad...unless maybe sushi?) and a sad, tearful goodbye to my good friend, Gravy. Hopefully I can also say "Sayonara" to insomnia, deathly pallor, and that odd little malaise that overtakes me sometimes.
On the other hand, maybe I will fail utterly in my New and Improvedness, swandive into a bag of Cheetos (LOVE Cheetos) and backstroke blissfully through a warm, silky lake of full-fat Chai latte. Which would also be quite nice.
I'll keep you posted.