I didn’t think it was possible. I went into this round of whole30 knowing full well it was going to fall on Halloween and then absorb the month of November in its all-encompassing grasp. I knew I would have to fight the cravings come the night of October 31st, and that they would linger, unfulfilled, for a further twenty-four days.
See, November is National Novel Writing Month. And every year since 2003, I have kept a special tradition during that month. A special, high-fructose corn syrup-filled tradition. Back in 2003, when I still lived with my parents, we used to get bags and bags of candy for Halloween to give out to trick-or-treaters, despite the glaring fact that we could count the number of kids who came by during that night on one hand. I can blame it now on my family’s addiction to sugar, which I’ve touched on briefly in the past.
This particular Halloween, someone grabbed a bag of candy corn by mistake. And of course, come November first, not a single tiny, pre-packaged bag of those strangely honey-sweet treats had been given out. The bag wasn’t even opened. So I took the arduous task of consuming that bag of sugar all on myself. And every day when I sat down to write, I would have a baggy or two. For thirty days. Certainly enough time to create a strong association between November and candy corn.
Sure enough, the following year when people started to whisper about their upcoming NaNo adventures, I was struck by a craving for candy corn. This craving came around the November after that, and on and on until my cravings inched into mid-September. Now when I see a bag of them, I snag it and hide it for November.
That’s a lot to say that for me, November, National Novel Writing Month, and candy corn are all intrinsically linked. I can’t think of one without thinking of the other, and before yesterday, I thought I couldn’t have one without the other.
So imagine me yesterday, mentally prepping for the start of NaNoWriMo, but deprived of my essential candy corn. I briefly flirted with cheating for just that, but then Whole30 went and posted their “Halloween Candy is Not Special” blog, and I was convinced they had read my mind.
I sought, instead, an alternative. I even foolishly googled for paleoified candy corn recipes. As if one could exist for something that is so fundamentally pure sugar. I tried pumpkin seeds and soup, thought about breaking another rule and making pumpkin muffins, then eventually threw my hands up into the air and settled down to sulk.
I would like to say that I came out of this completely cured of my candy corn addiction. That I could substitute actions and a healthy mentality for glorified sugar lumps. That I could divorce the month and the event from the food.
But I didn’t.
I did manage to tough it out. I didn’t break down and buy a bag at any point. I whined and complained and twitched a bit, too. But I couldn’t break down for it. Not when my mother and my fiancee were watching.
So I decided to try something else. Something also somewhat sweet, but whole30 compliant, better for you, and more autumnally fulfilling. I turned my cravings for candy corn – through sheer force of will – towards a craving for something vaguely pumpkiny. I scoured the web for pumpkin shakes, was dissatisfied with most of what was out there, and made my own.
And – oh my gosh – yes. This was it. This was the solution. This would get me through the month without punching orphans who happened to smell vaguely like candy corn. It’s not candy corn. It’s not even candy. But it managed to shift my cravings over ever so slightly and give me room for a new addiction.
I give you:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 handful dates (most of the recipes called for banana, but that would be too overpowering)
- 1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 dash of salt
Place in blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy spoonful by rich, creamy spoonful.