What am I suggesting with this title?
I am surrounded by very competitive people. For some of them winning is everything. But at what cost?
A few dozen of my friends at the gym are just kicking off a New and Improved 30-day challenge. It includes Nutrition and Fitness.
Nutrition is “eating Healthy” but it needs to be quantifiable. So there are some guidelines. Well that’s not completely accurate, there are some rules. During the competition, there are rules. After the game is done, they become guidelines. If you abide by the rule in any given day, you get a point. If you violate the rule, you don’t get a point.
One rule is “No Sugar”! This one seems pretty straightforward: No Sugar, Honey, Molasses, or Maple Syrup for 30 days. That is simple enough to understand.
So last night I got home from my first CrossFit Competition, and my darling wife knew I couldn’t have sugar, so she made a sugar-free dessert for me. It was perfectly in accordance with the rules: no sugar, no HFCS, no molasses, no honey and no maple syrup. She had a loaf pan that contained this dark sticky confection called Paleo Chocolate Caramel Squares. I think she found it in the “Waistline from Hell Cookbook”.
At this point my mind is running amuck. While I have been off playing with my friends for the past fourteen hours, she has been doing all the errands and still took time to spoil me with a treat. I know I am beginning a new Nutrition Challenge in less than twelve hours. But I need to know what is in this pan.
So I open with the obvious, “Wow, that looks delicious. It looks so rich and chocolatey.” I grabbed a spoon and pulled out a sticky clump of gooey sugary chocolate. I tasted it. It was delicious. It was sweet. Then I gently segue into the obvious question, “Umm, that is wonderful, what’s in it?” Suzanne immediately starts reciting the list of ingredients. I am impatient, I politely cut her off , “What in the world did you use for sweetener?” She replies, “Dates.”
That’s OK. Many of the Paleo dessert recipes use dates as a source of sugar. It’s in a very natural state, but it is certainly a blast of intensely concentrated glucose. Then she continues. “It takes lots of dates. I used two of those boxes of dates from Idylwilde Farm and that wasn’t enough, so I stole your coconut rolled dates too.” In my head, I quickly determine that this recipe has about $15 of sugar in it.
The issue I have with most Paleo desserts, is that they do a fine job of “Painting within the Paleo Lines”, but you end up with an exorbitantly priced confection that is so incredibly calorically dense. This loaf pan of dessert in a Calorie Bomb. It is a Glucose Bomb. It is a Paleo Trojan Horse!
Now I have a dessert that, even in a small serving, will exceed 500 calories, almost all glucose laden carbs. It will skew my daily numbers beyond recognition. When I look at my daily score, I can check off that I did not eat sugar. I will get One Point on a technicality. But I will lose in the long run, because nutritionally this dessert will undo all my effort for the day.
You can game the system, but you lose in life. I don’t know about you, but this 30-day challenge is just some motivational fun among friends. But the real benefit is that I am supposed to new adopting new habits to last a lifetime. As tempting as this dessert is, it is my old snack habits, repackaged for Paleo. I am not rising at 5:00 every morning to go to the gym so I can have dessert. I do it to add years to my life. Healthy vibrant years.
Winning on a Technicality, is still losing.
Get Defiant! Get Well!