I once thought about giving up chocolate for Lent. Although I am not religious, it is a popular thing for people to "attempt" to give up something for that period of time. Usually it should be something difficult to deal without. After an especially indulgent treat from Pix Patisserie a few months ago, I realized that I have very little self control when it comes to dessert and specifically chocolate items. I have always had a sweet tooth and have developed the habit of having a sweet treat after meals or when that time of the month hits. After having quite the chocolate hangover the next day, I decided that I would give up chocolate until a) I find a job b) end of the year c)my 29th birthday or d)whenever I feel like it.
I told many friends about this and received the same response of "Why?". All I could say now after being off the stuff for over a month is that it is actually kind of nice. Weird, I know. Never thought I could even do it but it has been incredibly easy.
What I have learned?
Less temptation to impulse buy. Imagine you are at the check out counter and craving some candy. Look over to your right and see the "wall" of last minute impulse buying. 90% of the candy there is going to have chocolate in it or around it. I rarely have the craving for skittles, airheads, or starburst so that is never a problem. Now I don't even look at the candy because I know that there is nothing there for me. Same goes for any candy, cookies, ice cream or other treats. I won't reach for the Oreos even if they are on sale that week.
Have to think outside the traditional options when wanting special treats. I realized that my favorite desserts are actually non-chocolate ones. Apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Strawberry milkshakes. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Yes, these aren't healthier options but in much rarer form than chocolate cake, brownies and chocolate chip cookies are. I indulged in vanilla meringues from Trader Joe's last week and they are very much a satisfying treat.
More awareness of eating said treats and being able to enjoy them more. It's the old adage of eat in moderation. When you can eat everything, sometimes we don't even think about what we are eating or enjoy it. If we can't eat gluten then you are going to be much more aware of what you eat, ingredients and the quality of the product. For example, a friend of mine had mini chocolate donuts at her house. Normally, I would have had two or three without thinking about quality or nutrition or anything. Because they were chocolate, I didn't have a second thought about them. They would have been a instant gratification but nothing more. I have been able to explore beyond my traditional choices and see if there are other flavors I prefer more. I like coffee ice cream and things with honey in them. I like fall flavors like pumpkin, apples, and cinnamon.
Really, it's the little things.