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.