Croissants – The Gateway Drug

I recently took a short vacation in Paris, only to find myself confronted with decisions around my strict paleo diet of 2 years and 8 months.  It was a challenge.  There were a number of reasons why a made the decisions I did.  Let me explain.  One purpose for my vacation was to take a few cooking classes abroad.  I have a catering business and despite my choices to be paleo, I do have to cook for clients who are not.  That requires preparing foods that contain grains, sugar, and dairy.  That also requires me tasting these foods.  Yes, I can feel the effects of event a few spoonfuls of gluten, or sugar.  Yes, I miss foods, but I know what the long term effects can be of eating bad food, regularly.  So, what did I eat?  First off, in Barcelona, and Paris, there is gluten in practically every dish made.  Rather than flour, I witnessed fresh bread being shredded and mixed into soups and sauces of all kinds, sugar or cream tossed in here and there, to taste.  I understand why, it’s just a far cry from where I’m coming from.  Yes, I tasted things here and there, but never ate a full dish of anything drastic until I got to Paris.  Every block, there’s a cafe, patisserie, or bakery, sometimes all three.  People sit right on  the sidewalk enjoying their snack or breakfast.  A Petit Dejeuner, or small breakfast, is the most common and always includes a bread and jam of some sort, and always a croissant.  One morning, I found a well known bakery close to my hotel with my favorite almond croissants beautifully displayed at the counter.  I couldn’t resist, because I’m human, because I was in France, because, because, because.  After 2 years and 8 months, I gave in.  Yes it was delicious, yes it was worth it, but here’s what I learned.  Headache within a half hour, my first in ages, probably more because of the sugar than gluten, and constipation, which was totally unexpected.  I never read anything about gluten and constipation but it makes sense.  It’s a binder.  What I noticed even more than the physical impact was the instant mental effect.  Every bakery window I passed, I looked with a little more lust and intent.  At dinner, I “tasted” three slices of baguette.  Suddenly, I felt okay with trying anything I wanted to try, including dessert.  My will power was dashed by an almond croissant.  I didn’t even eat all of that almond croissant, but the half that I did have did more than enough damage.  If you are on any kind of diet, do not risk taking a single bite of food off your food list.  The results can be significant.  A long plane ride and getting back to the routine was enough to get me back on track.  Yes, I enjoyed those few bites of food but I am certainly more aware of the side effects.  Don’t do it.  Not even a little bit.

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