Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’
On the Subject of potty mouths, or more specifically, my potty mouth, when I write my blogs… I have a question to ask you guys. When I speak – especially in earshot of children – I’m clean as a whistle.
Not so much, when I write.
Not every blog, as you know, but MANY blogs, are clearly not even the slightest bit appropriate for children to read. I’ve even, on occasion, forbid my father to read one of my blogs.
The trouble is, whereas my father will happily oblige, following my instructions & skip any particular blog I ask him to – will my son/children do so too, as they grow older?
Who am I kidding? The Fantastics – the song, “They Did it Cause We Said No” – I think song was written with my future children in mind.
What I’m saying is that I’m more than nervous when I imagine my son or daughter reading my blogs. And I have 100% no idea how/whether to prepare them for what they will read and/or how/whether to talk to them about it once they’ve read them.
Yeah, you! (if you are a parent of kids older than mine, preferably kids who turned out spectacularly)
….WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I’m not going to stop writing.
And while I may tone down my language, I also may not. Tonight it hit me. As I write this, it’s 10:15pm on a Saturday night, my husband is out seeing a movie with a friend and all three of our kids are soundly asleep. And what do I do? What sneaky, rebellious, grownupgirl actions do I decide to take in my free, “Me Time”?
I ate some old stale chocolate cake. It was disgusting. So, I washed it down with Nutella spread onto dry challah bread. I don’t like Nutella. Oh – and as I fixed myself a coffee with Truvia and cream and got ready to check out what we’ve got saved on the ole DVR (ooooh, caffeine after 10pm?! NOW WE’RE TALKING! What other naughtiness do you have planned, Sheva, skipping the floss and going straight to the tooth-to-the-paste?)
Yeah, when all that bad-to-the-bonedness was taking place, it hit me:
WRITING, OCCASSIONALLY, ABOUT BARELY-NAUGHTY SUBJECTS, USING, OCCASIONALLY, SORT OF-NAUGHTY LANGUAGE IS ALL THE EDGE I’VE GOT LEFT.
In college, and for about 6-7 years after college, I was a full metal Party Girl.
Now? I’m a loving mom, a dutiful wife, an ardent student of Kabbalah (I even eat Kosher & keep Shabbat, for Christ’s sake!), and…
A (sometimes) potty-mouthed Grownup Girl.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
So recently, I lost a bit more weight (yes, I’m already naturally thin-ish) and I got in pretty awesome shape thanks to the help of an amazing trainer that somehow was convinced by my ex-boss to train me for one month, for free. I’m trying to keep my body looking awesome for as long as possible, but I’m realistic.
Before, I had a trainer coming to me 4 days a week, doing a crazy training session for one hour each time, AND I was still doing cardio & Pilates on my off days. Now, I’m going to the gym most days, doing a cardio class here and there and once or twice a week, as much of a yoga DVD as I can bear before turning it off early and getting annoyed that anyone can really DO some of those crazy poses.
And I’m not in a fight with chocolate right now.
So, yeah, it won’t be long.
But in the meantime, I’ve identified the top most excellent thing that comes with being thinner than usual, and the top completely sucky thing. I know you’re waiting with baited breath, so enough of the introduction already! Here you go:
Being a bit thinner than usual is AWESOME because:
Clothes look better on you.
And being a bit thinner than usual is NOT AWESOME because:
I’m freezing all the time.
Freeeeeezing. All. The. Time.
What is up with that? I go to bed at night with the heat cranked to 75, a down blanket AND a thick silk cover AND a t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt (over the short sleeve), flannel pajama pants, socks AND a wool sweater. In the immortal words of my father the lawyer, “I shit you not.”
So… is it all worth it? The slim, lithe, make-my-clothes-look-hotter thinness?
I’m on the fence. Because I started to notice my neck skin the other day, and it looked a little looser than usual. Was I dehydrated? Aging quickly? Or was my skin slow to realize that it needed to snap back into place where a tiny layer of fat had been?
My aunt will no doubt admonish me for spending any time at all talking or thinking about how I look. After all, it’s the inside that counts!
I think I’ll have this peanut butter and chocolate chip “protein bar” (LOLOLOL) and ponder it…
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
It was all wiped from my memory last week, as I drove away from Trader Joe’s with three different desserts on the seat next to me – mini chocolate cheesecakes, dark chocolate pretzels, and shortbread chocolate cookies. Each box opened, each dessert shoveled into my mouth as rapidly as I could manage while keeping the other hand on the steering wheel.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I still don’t really drink alcohol, because – quite simply – I can’t drink alcohol without throwing up or feeling completely shitty the next day, or both. So I get my ‘alcoholic’ sugar the next best way – or the old fashioned way, via ‘actual sugar’ sugar.
Like last night, when it was “my husband’s birthday,” (there’s always an excuse for an addict to get her fix, isn’t there?) and I ate a cupcake. Or two.
Or the day before, when I had chocolate cake and flan because my guests brought it over for lunch. Or the night before that, when I had a slice of disgusting chocolate non-dairy cake because my child was eating it and it looked good, and I couldn’t reconcile the disgusting taste in my mouth with how yummy it looked, until I had already eaten the whole thing.
I haven’t gone back to my days of ‘chocolate every day,’ but I’m close. I keep thinking I’ll go off desserts again in January – isn’t that what everyone does? New Year’s Resolutions, yada, yada, yada. The truth is… it feels like I don’t want to miss out on all the delicious baked goods of this holiday season, but in my heart of hearts, I know what it REALLY is –
I don’t want to miss out on stuffing my feelings of anxiety (financial, career, life) back into a dark corner while I wait for things to go a little more “my way.”
And a very merry Christmas to you, too!
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Readers, brace yourselves.
There appears to be a connection – not just a connection, but a DIRECT CORRELATION – between my intake of desserts and… GASP! – my fat.
More specifically, the fat of my stomach.
How could it be???
I admit, unlike 99% of girls in America, I never EVER had to worry about what I ate because I had the metabolism of a gazelle. (Let’s assume for the sake of this blog, since I’m too lazy to research it, that gazelles have excellent metabolism, k?) I would always eat about twice as much as everyone around me, twice as often, and I always stayed skinny as a string bean.
My stepmother, who is not Jewish and doesn’t understand why people would want to eat a lot ‘just because,” would complain often about how much we ate as kids. But, looking back, I can see her point. We weren’t just “big eaters” – My brother & I? – we literally would have eaten her & my father out of house & home if we had stayed there longer than every other weekend and Tuesday nights.
My eating habits only grew as I went to college and discovered that my ability & desire to eat was matched only by my inability to discriminate amongst all the college buffet extravaganza had to offer. Freakishly, my freshman year roommate was EXACTLY like me, in that she was naturally skinny, never had an eating disorder, and she could and often would eat more than three times her weight at any given sitting.
On a typical evening at Yale Freshman Commons (where the entire Yale freshman class ate), Bika & I would make sure to get there right as the doors opened. We’d jet over to the omelet line, take over the salad bar, sample all the vegetarian options, and THEN we’d get the rest of our food.
Later, around midnight, we’d generally order pizza. And that doesn’t even begin to include the copious amounts of beer and alcohol I consumed on a nightly basis.
Yes, I did ‘gain weight’ in college. But I didn’t really care – I was tall, naturally thin, and I wasn’t trying to be a model or anything. So – not only did it never occur to me to slow down or learn to eat less; I actually never even made the correlation between ‘eating a lot of crap and sugar and food in general,’ with ‘getting fatter.’
I mean, I “knew” that’s what happened, but I never really knew it – if you know what I mean.
Readers, I’m ashamed to say that before I went on my 40 day dessert fast? I was working on a blog about how a chocolate diet could actually WORK.
To help someone lose weight.
I even ran my brilliant idea past my co-workers and had already started dreaming about my runaway success as an author who finally introduced a diet into the market that included CHOCOLATE and WEIGHT LOSS in a single directive.
Then… something small shifted in me, out there in the ocean… and I acknowledged that I needed to stop eating so much chocolate. For emotional, addictive reasons.
And when I did…
I lost my belly fat.
It was amazing.
Until… lately. I’ve been eating desserts again. And while it’s not at the same obsessive clip as during pre-my 40 day dessert fast life… I’ve already noticed a pooch around my middle that was absent the prior month.
Time to go surfing again.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Come on, people. This is crazy. And annoying. And… impossible to escape.
The lure of Betsy’s cookies, that is. We thought we were done with this chapter, right? I’m off desserts for 40 days, blah blah blah, Betsy brought cookies to my house over a week ago and last week I was tempted but didn’t eat one, blah blah blah…
But that one freakin cookie that is left? The one – just one! – that has sat in that plastic bag for the entirety of these nine days since she brought them all over, and made it through not one, but two day trips to the beach, one yesterday and one today with my entire family and friends, and you are telling me that my husband and my kids and my friends are eating the hummus sandwiches and the tuna sandwiches and the Z Bars and the chips and the popcorn and the seaweed and the figs and the melon and the grapes and just about every mother f**ing other thing we bought EXCEPT the last homemade chocolate chip cookie that Betsy made us???
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????
I realize now that I am a chocolate chip/desertaholic. Because no one else seems to care. Seems to mind. Seems to NOTICE, that – HELLO!?? – a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IS LITERALLY STARING YOU WHEN YOU OPEN THE SNACK BAG, ITS CRISPY GOLDEN EYE WITH ITS GOOEY CHOCOLATE PUPIL(S) AND ITS FUZZY, CRUMBY LASHES, BATTING AT YOU, SEDUCING YOU, PRACTICALLY OFFERING YOU MONEY JUST TO PICK THE DARN THING UP AND EAT IT???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shit. I have a problem.
You know how, when you don’t like your drink or you already drank enough to get a buzz, and you leave some wine or half a beer or a few fingers left in your cup, and as you take your cup back to the bar or the counter or to the trash, that guy or girl comes up to you, and is like, “You’re going to finish that right? You’re not throwing that away, are you?”
That guy/girl. Who cannot BEAR to see an ounce of alcohol not be poured down someone’s throat, if it has already been served to that someone. Maybe you are that guy (or girl). If you are, I say to you: Chill out, dude. It’s just wine/beer/a martini. I had enough. You have your own drink. Go focus on something that matters, like getting our Congress to take its head out of its collective ass.
But now, I realize… I am that guy. Or rather, that (grownup) girl. I cannot fathom how anyone related to me by marriage or blood, or anyone who calls me their friend, could NOT have already eaten that cookie that was swimming around the snack bag for two days and counting.
I really hope at the end of forty days I don’t even notice things like that. Things like – sniff!! – the last Betsy cookie in the bag.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
[note to my readers: I have no earthly idea why this blog insisted on being double-spaced with a bi-colored font. You may not have even noticed - yet - but it's annoying the hell out of me. Suffice it to say that when I tried to fix it, it re-wrote my entire blog in italics. And by "it," yes, I mean the boogeyman who lives in my computer. Oooh, how I hate him! He may have won this round, but I'll be back. Oh yes, I'll be backkkkkkk.....)
And now, for the actual blog entry:
Betsy left her cookies here - like the title of an old 60's song (a la I love you Alice B Toklas). Has such a sweet, intimate, folksy, inside-jokey-nostalgic-yet-not-sentimental feel to it.
But this is not the title to a 60's song made popular by a Woody Allen movie. No, friends, this is my life, and currently, my obsession.
Those faithful GrownUpGirl readers among you will remember I recently made a 40 day resolution not to eat sugar or desserts? (Or drink wine or beer, but who cares about that, I'm Jewish, remember?) Well, the very first Saturday after I made that resolution I was tested mightily. Betsy came over with her homemade chocolate chip cookies, which included about four different types of chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free, dark chocolate, white chocolate, etc., etc.), and our six or so guests devoured them after lunch, while I holed up in the kitchen, doing dishes.
"What are you doing?" called my husband, no doubt worried his wife had been replaced by some clone robot who actually likes doing dishes so much she gets up and does them without asking for extra help or demanding that he do them because "he's better at it than her."
"I'm fine!" I called back, reassuringly.
"BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin)!" He was not giving up. Where was his wife?!? "We're eating Betsy's cookies now!"
"I know!" I called back, in an I-promise-you-I-was-not-even-faking- it-happy voice, because I was still buzzing a bit from making my ambitious 40 day resolution.
"I'm distracting myself!"
It wasn't until later that night when he asked me again what was wrong with me, and I reminded him about my sugar-free month + 10 days, that Aharon finally let me off the hook.
"Ooohhhh!" He finally concluded, satisfied that I was, indeed, the woman he originally married. I could tell he was more than mildly surprised that I was sticking to my guns.
That was then... and this is...
I'm tired. I'm not particularly hungry, but I feel like stuffing myself with something sweet. Truth be told, I'm mad at my stomach, for pooching out when I want it to be caving in. So, my solution? Stuff it, put more inside, stuff it full but stuff it with delicious, sweet-tasting goodness, so I'm comforted and at the same time that I am punishing my bad, misbehaving stomach.
Hmmmmmm.... need therapy much?
I am going to stick to my guns. I’m writing this blog instead of eating those cookies.
But it doesn't mean it's easy.
Especially not with Betsy's homemade chocolate chip cookies staring me in the face.
Betsy left her cookies here, cookies here, cookies here, Betsy left her cookies here and I'm on a diet.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
My co-worker & friend Joseph is an adorable little Goth kid who only wears black – black pants, black socks, black shoes, black t-shirts (with – GASP! – white or cream images), a black hat, and even black leather gloves. In the office.
Yesterday, however, he came into my office in a panic. “What am I going to do?” he lamented. “I paid $60 for this shirt!”
I looked at the t-shirt he was referring to. Nice material, gunmetal gray, a giant image of Bjork’s big white face on the front.
“Bjork?” I asked him.
“What am I supposed to wear it with?” He asked plaintively, and before I had time to suggest a nice pair of dark jeans should do the trick, he added, “It’s GRAY!”
“It’s a nice gray,” I replied. Then I looked at him. And I realized.
“You mean, you can’t wear it because it’s not black?”
Joseph nodded miserably.
“You paid $60 for this?”
“It’s from Japan. I could have probably silkscreened it myself,” he brooded.
“And made it on a black t-shirt,” I agreed, adding insult to injury.
I tried to soften the blow – I suggested he just wear the shirt anyway – it was a cool shirt, and, I mean, it’s just gray. Gray is almost black.
He wasn’t buying it. And then it dawned on me…
Back when I was allowing myself to eat chocolate, I’d have a chocolate bar during the day… AND cookies, or cake, or whatever dessert came my way, later in the day. It was like, well, I already ate the chocolate, why stop now?
Part of the reason I’m staying off all chocolate and desserts right now (for 40 days) is to bring myself to a new state where I will be able to casually eat a bit of chocolate here, or a bite of cookie there, and not feel hell-bent on finishing off the whole giant chocolate bar or ten more cookies before I move on to my glass of milk.
Maybe my poor friend would not be able to help himself – wear some gray today, some brown tomorrow… and the next thing you know, he’ll be skipping through the office hallways wearing pink and purple paisley tops with banana yellow jeans and red patent leather shoes.
Gray could be a gateway color. And that, gentle readers, is a risk Joseph is just not willing to take.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
WOW. This past Monday. What a day. I was blissed out, flying high…
The day didn’t start out fantastic. In fact, I was criticized by an authority figure (who will remain anonymous here) whose opinion greatly matters to me in front of a large group of people (whose opinions also matter to me). And he didn’t just criticize, he used a biblical reference as a METAPHOR to criticize me.
If you must know, he likened me to one of the spies who Moses sent to Israel to check things out & who came back & reported to Moses that Israel was a dangerous & negative place (NOT one of the righteous people Moses sent (like Joshua) who came back seeing only Israel’s potential).
That afternoon, in an arguably related incident, I wolfed down a foot long mayonnaise SUBWAY sandwich (okay, fine, technically it was tuna, though I challenge you to actually find the tuna swimming in all that mayo), followed by a chocolate brownie AND a chocolate cupcake, neither of which I was really into, and all of which, gave me heartburn. Fantastic.
Then I went surfing. Or, to be more precise, I went for my first surf lesson. This has long been a dream of mine – to be able to skateboard and to be able to surf. I still can barely even navigate on a scooter – my son’s scooter, I might add, which he can basically do upside-down blindfolded wheelies on, and I practically topple over the minute I’m two feet off the ground.
But… the ocean… I’ve always loved the ocean. Love love love it. And although it’s true, I live in Los Angeles… I also live in Los Angeles. Meaning, I technically live in a beach city, yet for all practical purposes I’ve probably been in the ocean once in the entire past year. What? That’s how we roll, over here in the City of Angels.
So when an acquaintance – actually one of the “Fitness Experts” who writes for the online magazine I oversee (www.NetworkTalentCommunity.com) – offered to teach me to surf, I jumped. Plus my husband was still out of town (translation: Me Time). The waves were small (and perfect for a beginner), the crowd was just a smattering of a few surfers (again, perfect), and Blue (my Expert, Blue Benadum) had even invited his photographer friend John to come along & shoot photos of my attempt to learn to surf.
All in all, I found paddling harder than standing up. There is a lot of paddling in surfing. Let’s face it, “surfing” means “paddling” with a few lucky ‘standups’ in between all the paddling. Which actually was fine with me, until Blue let it slip that the “cool” way to paddle on a longboard wasn’t to lie on your tummy and stroke with your arms (what I was comfortable doing) – it was to be up on my knees and to blade the water with my arms.
Yeah, that wasn’t happening. Once I was in the right position, though, the “standing up” part came pretty quick. (Though perhaps I should add “staying up” to that list of what is hard.) I actually managed to stand up twice, and considering there weren’t so many ‘usable’ waves within the hour+ that we were out there, I was pretty stoked!
Um, yeah, the surfer language rubbed off on me too. As did the inspiration of the ocean. Because…
While I was out there, sitting in my wet suit on my surfboard in the vast beautiful ocean, I made up my mind to stop eating sugar – ALL PROCESSED SUGAR – for the next 40 days. Yup, that includes chocolate. Alcohol too BTW, just because my body seems to hate it; I have a half glass of wine and the next day my stomach is bloated like I’m 5 months pregnant.
It made sense to me – 40 days is the amount of time, Kabbalistically speaking, it takes to get over an addiction or a pattern of behavior. Plus that amount of time would be enough to really show me if the sugar does or does not affect my body, my moods, and my energy levels.
PLUS, I could write about it. And struggle on those days that all I want and all I obsess about is a bite (or more) of cake/cookie/chocolate.
Because sometimes struggling is good for the soul.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)
Chocolate chocolate bo-bocolate, bananafana fo-focolate, fee fi fo mocolate –
Um…. guys? I think I may have a – uh – “problem”. Is it a problem to fantasize about chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake during a class? During a conversation? While writing on the computer? While watching TV? While putting kids to bed?
It’s not like I’m fantasizing about crack cocaine or even cigarettes or scotch or anything. I mean, many studies say chocolate is really GOOD for you, you know? Those studies generally do not specifically cite chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake as being “good for you” but what do they do anyway, those assholes? Chocolate makes me happy!
Wait – I see the problem. I’m looking to an external substance to help me feel love. Loved. Comforted. Happy.
I’m supposed to find that within myself, right? Or… outside myself? Like, you know, in a higher power? I mean, who is more important: God or chocolate. GOD, RIGHT?
I think it’s a problem that I need to yell at myself to remind myself God is more important than chocolate. I need to be reminded to think about God like a kid needs to be reminded to think about brushing his teeth.
Chocolate, on the other hand…
I also don’t like being a cliché. I mean, me: girl. Chocolate: my obsession. How very Seventeen Magazine. On the other hand, if being a cliché means I eat a lot of chocolate cake & cookies, how bad can it really be?
You see the problem I’m having?
Did I ever tell you about the time I was starring in this play called Equus and I had to be naked onstage, so I went on this really strict workout & diet regimen that didn’t allow me to have ANY sugar, not even fruit, for like two months? No motivator for a diet in the world like knowing you are going to be onstage for six weeks in front of friends, family and strangers completely naked, let me tell you. So I actually stuck with it. My body changed and looked amazing. And meanwhile, my mind… went a little bananas.
Not so much during the day. During the day, I would obsess and pine for my chocolate, desserts, and sweets that I missed. But the weirdest thing was at night. Going to bed without chocolate sucked. I drank decaf coffee with Equal and half and half to give me some approximation of the creamy sweetness I craved. But actually being asleep? That was what exposed my relationship with chocolate for what it truly was.
Because, much like I have heard my ex-cigarette smoking friends describe to me, I began to have dreams, night after night, about chocolate. Dreams that I was cheating on my diet and eating cake. Dreams that I was cheating, then I “woke up” and realized it was only a dream, then realized I was still sleeping and maybe it wasn’t really a dream and I had eaten the cake and now I was busted, and so on and so forth. It was exhausting.
I finished the run of the play and immediately allowed myself to eat cake and cookies and whatever I wanted again. And that part of my stomach that I never liked – the part that sticks out – yeah, duh, it came back too.
After three kids, it would be REALLY NICE to stop craving chocolate and regain my slim tummy again.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)