Pumpkin Spice Challenge


Captain’s Blog: Stardate 012519.9

“He who controls the spice, controls the universe!” - Baron Harkonnen, Dune

There is a sickness within my soul. A dim, rust colored vice that infuses my very being. This cloying yet fiery contradiction calls from within my subconscious, pleading with me to embrace it on a very basic level. It is the pumpkin spice.

It is fair to say that this Friday did not go the way I had intended. After doing some research this morning, and signing up for a few interesting looking workshops through the SAG-AFTRA website, I set out to run a handful of simple errands near where, theoretically, eleven boxes containing a significant amount of my personal belonging were to be delivered. My night was supposed to be filled with unpacking, clothes hanging, item sorting, and a little nostalgic weeping as I build my new, open ended home here in LA.

However, by 4:30 pm as I was tracking my boxes, the FedEx website said that the business they were being delivered to was closed and/or that the person to whom they were supposed to be delivered was not there. I know, quantifiably, that this was false. I also know that, despite being given a phone number with the shipping information, that number was not called. Whatever happened, the website claimed they would try again on the next business day, which is Monday.

I will let you know how my conversation goes with FedEx tomorrow as they try to explain to me why they shouldn’t give me some sort of rebate given the failed service, but that’s a blog for a different day.

When I got back home, winded and left with nothing to do, my first impulse was to eat something. I’ve been “mostly” off sugar for three days, with my last hurrah being a box of Pumpkin Spice Cheerios that my roommate bought me as a welcome home gift. I’ve been rationing it to last the week, having one small bowl a day with unsweetened coconut milk. My emotions erratic, and my free time now boundless, I demolished three consecutive bowls. Defeated, I discarded the now depleted box.

Thumbs twiddled. A puppy was played with. Parents and boyfriends had long conversations. Seconds crawled by as I looked about my empty room. Suddenly, a rumble echoed through my intestines. I was hungry again.

Now, as I grocery shopped this week I had two main objectives: minimize wasted food (primarily produce) and eliminate ALL processed sugars from my purchases. I have been extremely proud that I have not only cooked and/or consumed all the food I bought, save two yellow squashes, but I have already gone through my usual and expected sugar withdrawal symptoms. 

But tonight, I heard the call from across the street. The surprisingly scrumptious 7-Eleven pumpkin spice ice cream whispered to me. Filled with the processed sugar and dairy I have been instructed to avoid for my better health, mixed with non-gluten-free graham crackers and other goodies into a creamy pint of heaven. I’ve had it before. But tonight, I craved it.

“You’re not REALLY starting your sugar purge until next week.”

“You’ve already had pumpkin spice today…what would be the harm now?”

“You’ve had a shitty day. You deserve this ice cream.”

The argument being made by my sweet tooth was pretty convincing. I had my shoes, my sweater, and my keys all ready to go.

But then I remembered something else. I remembered how I feel, inside, when I stray from a dietary goal like this one. Not only are there the physical discomforts that come with indulging in these kinds of treats, which can include gas, bloating and abdominal pain, but there are also the emotional ones. The feeling of failure for not sticking to something as “simple” as eating the groceries I’ve bought. Feeling setback that much further by the extra calories. Knowing that my desire to eat this ice cream was coming from a place of frustration and boredom. This was not a special dessert shared with a lover on Valentine’s Day. This wasn’t a birthday surprise. This was about to be a pint of feelings, clocking in at around 800 calories, that would bring with it a slew of negativity.

Slowly, I kicked my boots back off and trundled into the kitchen. In just a few quick moves, a serving of this week’s chili (which is actually quite good) was heating on the stove. I topped it with a generous spoonful of goat cheese. As I write this I am full and sated by this fully sanctioned, highly nutritious, and extremely tasty healthy meal.

Despite the siren call of my paramour pumpkin spice, I avoided the temptation and remained true to my directive for another day.

I survived the Pumpkin Spice Challenge.