Posted: Thursday, Jul. 05, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
As my happy readers are recovering from yesterdays holiday, I want to take a moment to thank all of our men and women in uniform, past and present, for the sacrifices they have made so that we are free to celebrate Independence Day. Every day that I suffer through 100+ degree weather, I am reminded that they are out there in full gear, running drills and training. The Fourth of July is a great reason to stop complaining about exercising.That said, the day is also the ideal holiday for an Atkins dieter. Grilled meats abound, salads are plentiful, and most any dip can be put onto a celery stick when you need that extra crunch you think only a chip can deliver. Even when I know my limits well, temptation lies in a variety of places that I never would have expected, and this past week has been especially difficult for me. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.At the end of last week, I relocated down to my parents house while they are out of town. I did this to take care of the dogs and to be able to study. My fiancé struggles with the fact that I need to study does not mean: while I am cooking you dinner, while youre watching SportsCenter so loudly the neighbors can hear, or while youre talking to the back of my head about something funny one of your guy friends did. When I told him that I needed to treat studying like a full-time job, he heard, Lets share a cubicle! So I ended up at dear old mom and dads, just over the border in South Carolina.Growing up, I never considered the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the foods that I was eating. It was more important to my mother that my family sat down to one big meal per day. Family dinnertime was something that my mother held sacred, and its a very important part of who I am and what values I hope to pass on to my family one day. Meals consisted of three things: meat, potatoes and a vegetable that the kids tried to avoid. We drank whole milk like it was going out of style.In the late 80s and early 90s, Im pretty sure that the best nutritional information available to most parents was to make sure that kids ate balanced meals (meat, potatoes and a vegetable), rather than portion control or good carbs vs. bad carbs. As much as the value of family dinner time was emphasized by experts and the media (remember those cheesy PSAs?), the actual food served was not in the spotlight. I took pride in the fact that my mother made dinner for us every day when we were little, even around dance lessons, karate and softball. But home-cooked dinners usually meant high fat, high calorie and high carb.When I return to my parents house to visit, Im constantly amazed at the leftovers that are available for the taking. I used to get excited when I trained my eyes on scalloped potatoes, gravy, lasagna, or a rhubarb cake. When I came down for this trip, though, I realized that my parents leftovers are set in their die-hard American values -- the primary foods in the house were cows milk; simple, white carbs; and a ton of fruit from the farmers market. Obviously, these are great foods that I used to enjoy on a regular basis, but with the sugar in each one, theyre fatal to the Atkins diet.I panicked when I opened the fridge, and I could feel my thighs shudder into survival mode. Where were my proteins? Green veggies? A whole grain?!There was browned iceberg lettuce hidden away in the bottom drawer like it was ashamed. Im sure its only there as a burger topping.Without any of my go-to diet foods in sight, I eyeballed the foods scattered about on the counter, tempting me and playing with my mind. Wavy Lays. Cape Cod Kettle Chips. Crispix. Chips Ahoy Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was like wandering through the desert for forty days and forty nights and coming upon an oasis.The agony!I cleared my thoughts from the cloud of bleached, enriched white flour that was rising around me, and I did my temptation ritual.First, I grabbed a large glass of ice water to drink while I contemplated my next move. Having the drink in hand not only helps me to reach my water intake goals for the day, but stops me from making a rash, impulsive decision. It can also be filling, and often takes away the craving for salty foods that can be rooted in thirst.Second, I grabbed the nearest package to look at the nutritional label. Take the cookies -- 160 calories for a serving. Okay, thats like a snack pack and a half. Upon closer inspection though, I find that a serving size is only two cookies! Who eats only two cookies?! Coupled with the glass of milk Id have to have to wash those bad boys down and this treat wouldve dropped a sugar bomb on my diet.Those two cookies contained 9 grams of fat -- 4.5 of which were saturated -- and 18 total carbs, 9 of which are pure. white. sugar. Even splitting this dubious serving size in half resulted in 9 total carbs, which is almost half of the daily Atkins Induction value. This was not a risk that I was willing to take, though I did consider licking one and putting it back into the pack. After a quick emergency trip to the grocery store to stock up on some Atkins-friendly grub -- salad mix, chicken breasts and unsweetened almond milk -- I regained my composure enough to hide the foods that were strewn about my parents kitchen like a cruel joke. This week, I could not change the temptations that were lying around my parents kitchen, but I did have the courage to stare them in the face and say, Not today, old friend.Not today.
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