In fitting style, chocolate week concludes with an incapacitating amount of chocolate cake. Tonight’s dinner is at a pub. I’m not hungry but still feel compelled to order something. It’s an easy choice when you only have one option. I flick past all the temptingly savoury meals to the dessert section. “Chocolate cake please. Yes, for my main course. Yes, I’m serious.”
I’ve never ordered dessert for dinner before, including as a child. Not the first time this week, attention is drawn to whether I act appropriately for my age. Even my friends’ daughter said I was “silly Uncle Banno”, and she hadn’t yet turned three.
The cake is heavy, pregnant with a dense richness, so I’m already pretty wrecked before a birthday cake appears. The box opens to reveal an absurd monument to dessert indulgence, like some kind of sugary Versailles. I eat the cake, because to show fear is to let the cake win. Immediately I feel a powerful urge to lie down, as if the task of digestion is so great that my body can’t bear a distraction as frivolous as sitting upright.
With thoughts that would be recognised by anyone whose suffered through a crushing hangover, I swear I won’t have that much ever again. Yet with the resilience of an alcoholic I’m back in the pantry only hours later, squeezing in three last Tim Tams to bring chocolate week to a close.
Daily Kilojoules, Day 7
|Target||Consumed||% of Daily Target Consumed|
Food Diary, Day 7
|Breakfast||GF chocolate fudge brownie; M&Ms; Caramello Koala; Dream white chocolate (1 row); Mocha; fun-sized Mars bar.|
|Lunch||Mocha; fun-sized Flake, Picnic.|
|Snacks||Smarties block (1 row); Chocolate vodka; Mocha; Mars pods.|
|Dinner||Cream filled sponge cake (2); Triple chocolate ice cream; GF chocolate mud cake; Maltesers.|
|Dessert||Tim Tam (3)|
Review of the Chocolate-Only Diet experiment
A week ago I gave predictions. Let’s see how they turned out.
- Persistently feeling unwell: At first I did. Queasiness, stomach cramps, feeling wired – I didn’t think I’d last the week. But within a day or two these went away.
- Constipated: Nope.
- Feeling fatty: Nope.
- Weight change: One kilo heavier, but a week is too short for that to be significant.
- Sore teeth when eating chocolate: Possibly less so than usual. Perhaps the nerves were overwhelmed and surrendered. No scurvy-induced looseness either.
My energy levels were no different. No acne breakouts. No nightmares. No mood swings caused by sugar highs and crashes. Perhaps my blood sugar levels were perpetually high.
I really liked not being hungry, waiting for my next meal. By snacking steadily throughout the day, lunch and dinner lost significance and would probably, in time, be skipped. Fluid intake also fell. I attribute that to 1) water being fairly unexciting, and 2) all the chocolate slaking my thirst for sweet fizzy drinks. Going without alcohol for almost the whole week was less arduous than expected, perhaps because it was in aid of doing something new and different, and not just denying myself a pleasure.
It wasn’t an expensive week. After subtracting the substantial leftovers (seems I got carried away in the supermarket) and predations of housemates, the total cost was around A$80. Well, A$160 actually, since I’ll be donating a matching amount to JDRF, to support their research into type 1 diabetes. For more on raising awareness of gestational and type 1 diabetes, check out the Day 3 article.
Also, I saved a lot of time on cooking and cleaning up.
Given I normally consider chocolate to be a ‘treat’ item, I’m surprised that eating it exclusively for a week cost about the same as my usual groceries bill. Not sure whether eating chocolate is cheaper than I assumed, or whether my normal diet is more lavish than I realised. Perhaps I don’t need to garnish every meal with gold leaf. Or at least not mix it into my smoothies. But since I don’t add salt to food, I needed to fill the salt shaker with something.
I did miss some foods, especially savouries like chips or pizza. Not to the extent I’d anticipated though. Surprisingly, I still enjoyed eating chocolate. It just tastes so good, and comes in so many tantalising forms. I especially noticed how moreish it is. I’d awake not looking forward to a chocolate breakfast, yet as soon as that first piece hit the tastebuds it was go-time. Stopping at the second or eighth piece required more willpower than resisting the first piece would’ve.
So perhaps the lesson here is don’t eat that first piece unless you’re relatively okay that it won’t end there. Eat it rarely, but on those occasions accept that a little binge is likely, and do your best to enjoy it guilt-free. Where possible put a physical limit on how much you can eat. For example, don’t always have it in the house, or don’t take the whole block into the tv room with you. This lessens the role of willpower, and laziness can for once be useful. Make vice fight vice.
As you’d expect, I took in a ridiculous amount of kilojoules. On average almost 15,000 kJ / 3,500 kcal per day. That’s double my healthy allowance. It’s particularly high considering I wasn’t always having dessert, I didn’t drink alcohol, and I wasn’t forcing myself to eat as much as possible.
Looking at my nutrient intake…..well on the bright side I wasn’t at risk of a Vitamin A overdose. Cholesterol was low too. But fibre intake was negligible, protein insufficient, and carbs and fats off the chart. Sugar was 400% of my recommended limit. Imagine a 1 kilogram pack of sugar – I ate the equivalent every three days. Wow.
Perhaps unsurprisingly after a week of so much sugar, this morning’s bacon and eggs tasted both extra salty, and extra delicious. Yet as I sit here writing, I still could go a little sweet treat…
Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed!
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