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Days One through Four of the diet were wonderful, eye-opening experiences full of more energy, better sleep, and excellent food. I was getting a low grade headache in the afternoons, a result of slowly weaning myself off caffeine, but nothing a little extra water with lemon couldn’t handle.

And then came Day Five. By the end of my workday, all I wanted was full caffeine coffee and the largest bag of potato chips available to woman-kind. I wanted one so large I could dive into it and swim around until my fingertips got prune-y. Salt and caffeine were all I could think about and a little voice in my head was ready and waiting to sabotage my Challenge. You can’t be experiencing change this quickly, it said: this energy you think you feel, this better sleep you think you’re getting-it’s all psychosomatic. Eat the chips. Drink the coffee. You need them.

Psychosomatic or not-I swear I feel better. And, I’ve never backed down from a Challenge in my life, which, now that I think of it, hasn’t always been a good thing. Regardless of past wisdom, or lack there-of, I’m not backing down from THIS Challenge. Resolved, I needed a snack that didn’t violate the parameters of the McDougall diet. Abracapocus told me that black salt added a nice layer of umami to food, a tip that got me thinking and one I’ll forever be grateful for. Instead of sneaking off to the store and purchasing bags of potato chips (even though Sprouts was offering Boulder Chips buy-one-get-one) I air-popped some organic popcorn and sprinkled it with a TBSP of Earth Balance, black salt, and nutritional yeast.

It was wonderful. Black salt is my new favorite substance, second only to Nutritional Yeast. I should have taken a photo but I immediately tore into the popcorn. It was not pretty. The TBSP of Earth Balance probably didn’t harmonize with the McDougall diet but I figured what I added myself was much better than a snack fried in oil. I’ll have to check how Dr. McDougall recommends eating popcorn. I slept well, again, and woke up this morning energized and ready to add a bit more decaf to my morning coffee. I almost derailed but I’m back on track today!

Besides, how can I give up on a diet that allows pasta? Here’s a photo of dinner a couple of nights back: organic whole-wheat pasta with meatless marinara. Broccoli and black olives are two of my favorite things to add to marinara sauce: try it! It’s so tasty.

Spaghetti w/Meatless Marinara and Parmasio (I made the Parmasio myself!)

Spaghetti w/Meatless Marinara and Parmasio (I made the Parmasio myself!)