Thursday, September 27, 2012
All of my trigger foods have one thing in common: They are all, without exception, high in simple carbohydrates. They may be sweet, they may be salty, they may be warm, they may be cold. They are solid, and they are liquid. They are nutritious, and they are nutritionally bankrupt. But they are ALL CARBS. Pralines, divinity, pasta, potatoes, popcorn, chocolate, soda, fresh baked whole wheat bread, fresh baked wheat and flax biscuits, cookies, pastries…on and on it goes.
My trigger foods are, for the most part, homemade, with the best, most nutritious ingredients I can find. I can pass up a burger and fries…skip a meal entirely if all there is comes from a fast-food source. But like my dear Grandmother, when I’m at home and wanting to elevate my mood, the first thing I think is, “Cook something good.” I remember her saying it. “Let’s cook something good.” And that usually meant some peanut brittle or peach cobbler or homemade rolls, or potato soup. And they were good. Feelings of security and love and warmth and comfort are rolled up in those foods. Traditions and memories are held in their smells. And the sensation that floods my entire being when I take a bite must surely be close to what a drug addict experiences.
One bite gives me a surge of pleasure, which quickly calls for another bite. The second bite clouds my sense of balance and proportion. The third bite leaves me making excuses. And there the battle is lost.
I’ve come to realize that I’m not just consuming carbs, they are consuming me. They are eating away at my lifespan. They are eating my health one bite at a time. They are also draining me.
They are draining me of drive and energy and vitality.
And they are giving to me… generously they do not intend to spare me any more than they spared my Grandmother and my Dad and numerous other relatives. They bring their gifts of diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements and strokes. And with each gift they give they steal away precious experiences I might have enjoyed.
Bike rides and swim races and volleyball games with my children and my grandchildren. Long walks in the woods with my husband. If I let these simple carbohydrates have control, they will keep me from dancing at the weddings of my children and grandchildren and they will shorten my life and thwart my last days with pain and sickness.
It is hard to remember, at times, that the feeling I get while consuming these carbs is a trade-off in pleasure of many other kinds. I love life, and I want to live. I want to hold my great-great grandchildren with loving arms and feel the deep pleasure of seeing the future generations sprung from the life-blessings God has given.
So I have made a choice. I choose life and health. I won’t eat these simple carbohydrates. I won’t even bring them in the house or buy the ingredients to bake them up. I will remember to “eat to live, not live to eat.” I will discover new foods that don’t hold this deadly drug. And in time, when I have built up control, I will enjoy fruits and whole grains again.
I will strive to remember that not everyone has my addiction. I will try to not waste energy judging what others eat. But I will lead by example for my family and friends that perhaps have this same weakness.
I choose to maintain control over what I eat, rather than the other way around. I will faithfully plan what I will eat, and track all that goes into my mouth. I will learn other ways to cope with stress and boredom and fatigue. I will find other outlets for my creativity. And I will develop new traditions that promote togetherness and health.
And when I feel myself beguiled by the whispering call of these trigger foods, I will try to remember that there are myriad other pleasures sweeter to my soul. I choose life and health.