Sunday, August 24, 2008
When my wine goddess quit smoking, I got a first hand account of how hard giving up a physical and emotional addiction is. Some days it was painful for her. To tell you the truth, some days it was painful for me! She did it, finally... leaving me overwhelmed with pride at the discipline and mental toughness it required of her. Quitting a vice like smoking when you work in the restaurant business is extremely difficult. I also developed a bit of an on and off again smoking habit working in restaurants (sometimes it is the only pseudo-legitimate excuse to take a break). I quit alongside of her but was lucky to never become as addicted.
Addiction to food is another matter entirely. I've been eating ever since I was, uh, fetal. I have a feeling so were you. Never before in my life have I had to show any restraint or discipline when it comes to food. The other day I pondered the fact that this is the very first time in my life I've gone nearly two weeks without wheat. Pizza, bagels, english muffins, pancakes, sandwiches? They have been the starch of my life.
Not only am I, as my softball teammates call me, a veritable "sack of antlers" (and therefore guilty of that thing other women hate in a woman in her late 30's - namely, a metabolism that doesn't quit) but I am also a sensualist, drawn through life from one happy moment to another on the heels of pleasurable smells, tastes and textures. Deprivation is not really in my DNA. I may have tried it on for size as a kid, but that was a game and the fun part was the quick turn-around time to gratification.
I'm losing weight and I don't want to be. I'm grumpy, often, for denying my cravings. My bff quipped that she should join the "diet" with me to lose some extra pounds but then decided it would be a hell of a lot more fun to limit herself to only eating the foods on my "can't touch" list for the next 90 days. In my mind she sits at a huge Roman table mile-high with all of the foods I crave, laughing and cavorting, absent-mindedly dragging her finger through pools of butter sauces, sipping wine, sampling cheeses, biting off huge hunks from a prime rib. She stops momentarily to wipe her lips and throw her head back with a delighted laugh before resuming the bacchinalian feast. She belches. She sighs. And I hate her now.
I have another friend. We'll call her Rice, because that's pretty much all she eats. Rice has serious problems with food... most of it makes her feel sick. I asked her once if it is hard for her to watch people eat all these great foods. "It's easier now, " she told me, "because I know how those foods will make me feel. It's not only not worth it, I actually don't crave them anymore."
See, that's the issue here. This kind of food sensitivity testing most definitely has false positives. Hell, my doctor friend (in family practice) doesn't even think there's any real evidence that this testing in fact finds foods that your body has a problem with. Nonetheless, on my quest to eat garlic again, I'm willing to stop eating these things if it will ultimately help me. But, and here's the big BUT... many of these foods have never made me feel sick so I don't have Rice's association with them. Garlic, on the other hand... I don't crave anymore. I love the smell but I don't feel bad turning down food made with it. Rather, I feel like I dodged a bullet. Turning down a sip of wine, a slice of good bread, an heirloom tomato and that donut offered to me this morning feels like I'm shooting myself in the stomach.
See that baby in the photo pondering her little edward scissorhands thumb-sucking substitute? She isn't fooled by the little imitation fingers of rubber. She wants more out of life than being "satisfied without any harmful effects." And oh, yeah... that's a really bad way to teach a kid anatomy - 7 rubber fingers on each hand?
at 7:47 PM