Her sister glowered at her, as only sisters can.
"Toast," she said darkly. "There's always toast." Funny how Mom's words are recalled if and only if your sister needs to hear them.
"I'll have some lasagne, Mom." The recipient of the glare was defiant.
"Sure, angel." Knowing the worst was yet to come.
"How can you eat lasagne?" the glowerer sputtered. "You're a vegetarian. You said so." And we have all had to put up with this, her tone implied.
"Yes, I am. I am still a vegetarian. I just make an exception for lasagne."
"Oh." pondered the glowerer. And then in her most sarcastic tone yet - "So you're an exceptionarian."
We have them in all our families. the exceptionistas. The vegetarians who just have bacon. Or one of my very veg friends who confessed to a toasted chicken mayonnaise fetish recently. I love her so much.
I was thinking about why this week. I think it is because we all love to be human. We love that there can be exceptions made. Just for us. Because we are unique. We are special.We shouldn't have to wait the usual 48 hours for our dry cleaning, cell phone repairs or passports. And the rules of the road should definitely not apply to us. Especially if we drive minivans.
That's why diets, and good eating habits are so damn hard. Especially in winter. (I can eat salad, just not in winter, or - just another portion, for the insulation.)
But cheats do not have to be all bad. They can be ok. If we are careful about how we do them. Giving up all your favourite things all at once can be too much. So try to think about ways you can keep having the things you like, but still cutting down on ingredients that are really bad for you.
Here are some examples:
1. Snacking. It's so much worse when you snack on bread, or sweets, or salty crisps. Have a snack, but keep it healthy - like anything vegetable - cucumber, celery, sugar snap peas, carrot sticks. And stop, wait to fill up, don't just keep eating.
2. Something sweet. We all need this every now and then Try a fruit - an apple, an orange or some paw paw. If you still can't do it, have two squares of chocolate. But only two, and the darker the better.
3. Plan a cheat. Plan it for one day a week - say a Friday afternoon. One thing. Then when you are tempted to cheat before that, tell yourself you are allowed to cheat, just not yet. If you are good until Friday afternoon, you will enjoy that cheat so much more.
And if there is something you have to have, try to make it healthier. Like I've done with chicken mayonnaise sandwiches. I love them, like my vegetarian friend. And here's how I make them better:
I use home made bread - here is a link to a delicious seed loaf recipe. With home made mayonnaise. It's so easy. And store bought mayonnaise has too much sugar (more about that next week), and too much salt. And I add greens to the chicken mayo mixture. Diced onion, finely cut celery. Or peppers/spring onions. And a slice of lettuce or rocket on the bread. Increasing the salads, and making it more healthy. If you make your own mayonnaise, you can even add the chicken and greens to the same blender before you rinse it - saves washing it up twice, and you make use of the mayo you cannot scrape from the bottom of the blender. I know. I'm a genius. Ask my daughters.