It’s been awhile since I’ve edited any foods out of my life. At one point I was jettisoning old standbys left and right.
Sometimes it was eliminating a specific problem food, like M&Ms or French fries.
Other times it was choosing certain keeper foods within a specific category and eliminating everything else. What three sandwich cookies would I take to the proverbial desert island? Oreos, Maple Leaf cookies and Nutter Butters. There was, I realized, no need to concern myself with anything else.
Lately I’ve been on this kick where I’ve been eating nonfat key lime Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed just about everyday. The ground flax, when mixed into the tangy sweet yogurt, tastes an awful lot like crushed graham crackers. And maybe this is just how it strikes me in a state of deprivation, because I’ve been watching my diet pretty closely here lately, but I keep finding myself thinking, “This feels like I get to have a piece of key lime pie every day — and I’m on a freaking diet!”
Now, if I suddenly had a bite of the key lime pie made by an old family friend, or a slice from the Little Bar in Goodland, Fla., that might burst my bubble. But here’s the thing: I’m not going to.
For one thing, the old family friend known for her killer key lime pie has moved into assisted living. And since prices have been jacked up at my family’s old vacation spot on Marco Island, I don’t know when we’ll get down to that part of Florida again anyway. I know there are other fantastic key lime pies out there just waiting to be sampled, but I’ve probably already eaten my share in half a century on this earth.
If I’m satisfied with my fake, healthier version of key lime pie — if I can suspend my belief like the guy cutting into the virtual steak in “The Matrix” — then that simplifies everything. And at this point in life, there’s almost nothing that feels better than stripping away complexity.
I’m going to eat my “key lime pie” everyday for the rest of my life if I feel like it. And if I do make it back down to the Little Bar at some point, I will have no regrets about my decision. Because I always agonized when it came time to choose between the key lime pie and the peanut butter pie, and now that decision will be a snap.