Tomorrow it is Good Friday, the end of Lent. I am not a religious man and would not normally be volunteering to 'give something up', but this year for the duration of Lent, less the first two days, both Debrah and I have forsaken all carbohydrates and all but the teeniest bit of sugar.
A close friend of ours has extolled this regime for a long time and, to be fair, her healthiness is living proof of it's benefits. We both felt the weight of the winter months upon us, Debrah wanted to try it and I happily agreed to join in on the basis that it is far easier to prepare the same meal for us both than different ones for each.
It wasn't a Lent thing at first, just a "Let's do it for a couple of weeks, shall we?" I could have followed it at home but not when we ate out and I could have paid lip service to it. But I decided to support Debrah with it fully and then she had the idea of following the regime until the end of Lent - a target date for us to focus on.
Were we 100% strict? No. We have had no bread, no potatoes, no pasta, no rice, and no desserts but we have had wine and some vegetables and fruit that naturally contain some carbohydrates and some sugar.
Was it easy? No. I was really hungry most of the first and second week. I had dreams about eating foods I knew I shouldn't be eating. I missed chips with steak and toast in the morning and baguette whenever there was the smallest bit of gravy, salad dressing or meat juices left sitting on the plate.
There have been some funny moments - the look of astonishment on the waiters face when we declined bread in a restaurant - as far as he was concerned we were uncivilised heathens.
There have been many testing times - having to go to the boulangerie to buy croissants and bread for guests breakfasts, toasting bread for guests breakfasts, making chocolate puddings and watching guests eat them at hosted guest dinners, making jam and fruit compote and granola for the breakfast trays, making pommes dauphinoise for guest dinners - I'm sure you get the idea.
The fact is we have had temptation placed in our way every single day since we started this crazy routine. It's one thing to cut something from your diet and remove it from the house as a result. It's quite another to cut something from your diet and be constantly faced with it on a daily basis preparing breakfasts and dinners for clients - even preparing and eating dinners with clients who are eating the very foods you are trying to avoid.
And it has been easier as the weeks have progressed. The massive hunger pangs subsided when we realised we needed to up our protein and fat intake a bit to compensate. The meat, fish and vegetables available here in the Aude make it very easy. The new strawberry season is well and truly upon us and berry fruit is very much allowed. The weather has been warm and sunny and salad inducing.
And so we arrive at Good Friday with mission accomplished. Debrah has lost 3 inches off her waist and is looking sexier than ever and we both feel brighter, better and healthier.
So what next?
There is a temptation to go straight down to Cafe Felix tomorrow lunchtime for a bavette frites followed by chocolate mousse, to buy an extra croissant au buerre when I go to the boulangerie in the morning for the guests breakfast, to eat hot chocolate fondant with the guests at dinner tomorrow evening.
There is equally an enormous desire to continue what we have started, not to ruin all the good work of the past six/seven weeks with a reckless launch back into a carbohydrate dominated world. I quite like being a modern day hunter gatherer.
A toasted hot cross bun with butter - now that's a dilemma!