Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pleasurable eating

I had a few dalliances with SAD (Standard American Diet) food this year.  My urge to stray was greater this year than in all the 6 years I've been eating healthy.  Maybe I'm trying too hard to be perfect, or maybe I just got bored with it all, and wondered what I was missing--and forgot how awful I felt all the time before eating this way.   The memory of pain does wear off over time.  So when I went off plan (a total of 4 times for a few days each), I tried to sample everything I've been missing.  I even went non-vegan and non-vegetarian!   I tasted a bratwurst and some fries and fried onions.  I had the local favorite ice cream and custard.  I had dinner at a local favorite vegan restaurant--I was really looking forward to it and was surprised to find that I didn't enjoy anything I ate there (food was too oily and salty, dessert too gooey and yucky).  I had a bagel with butter and cream cheese.  a veggie burger (good) and fries (bla) and a root beer (too sweet!).  and some vegan ice cream sandwich bars.  and a few cookies and a muffin.  I think that pretty much sums it up. oh, and some dark chocolate truffles (extremely yummy).  I observed several useful things.  1) I don't like restaurant food.   No more need to be jealous of other people's restaurant food.  2)  I don't like meat or dairy!   I mean, it's not just that I don't want to eat it, I don't like it.  Even the ice cream.  well, it tasted great at first but it left a yucky animal aftertaste and the 2nd half of my scoop didn't taste as good as the first few bites.  and the butter too, stayed on my hands and mouth and smelled for hours afterwards. 3)   However, I did like the vegan versions.  I totally enjoyed the junky vegan ice cream bars.  and vegan buttery spread and jam.  4)  okay once I established that I like the vegan stuff I did comparisons of that with healthy stuff.  Sad to say, the vegan buttery spread and jam on a delicious whole wheat bread tasted better than the home-made date nut butter on same bread.  That's because salt and sugar is a powerful pleasurable combination, and the texture of the "butter" and jam fit well with the bread (more liquidy than the date nut butter).  On the other hand, after the vegan ice cream bars, I made a mango/blueberry/sunflower seed sorbet to which I added 1-2 tsp of agave nectar.   That tasted as good as the sandwich bars!   That was a surprise.  I mean, if you are going to go offplan, a couple of tsp of agave nectar is way way better than all that artificial chemical goop in vegan ice cream sandwich bars!  5) dark chocolate truffles still taste good.  oh well, I can live with that, and I can even have one on rare occasions.   6) and finally, now getting closer to the point of this post which is nowhere near where I started:  after eating all this crap, I also ate one of my favorite healthy treats for comparison, that is a banana with pecan butter spread.  It was tasteless!   Once your taste buds adapt to SAD food, healthy food tastes bland!   Fortunately, the opposite is also true:  once your taste buds adapt to healthy food, it tastes just as good as SAD food (possibly except for the chocolate truffles but I will accept that).  And that is what makes this all doable and even desirable.

And now this is what I really meant to post about but I got totally off track:  today I had as pleasurable an eating experience as my SAD dalliances.  It was the banana and pecan butter spread.  Here is a picture of  this treat:

Now it doesn't look like much, does it?   But it's not just what you eat, it's when and where.  I had just finished a good workout at the gym, it was 7 pm and I hadn't eaten since lunch, and I love a fruit treat after exercising.  I stopped at the co-op and saw they had perfectly ripe bananas.  yes!  I found the pecan butter spread in the refrigerator.  yes!  I had a little butter knife in my bike bag (I was hoping for this even though I was gambling on the ripe bananas).  The pecan butter spread comes in a 1.5 oz container.  It's a combination of raw pecans and cashews and hemp seed.  I bought the treat and a few other groceries and sat outside in the warm evening air and slowly enjoyed this wonderful treat.

This was more pleasurable than the ice cream a few months ago.  Isn't that cool?!?!??!   okay, I admit a chocolate truffle would will stimulate more pleasure centers but it's not good for me and keeps me awake at night.  so I'm happy with fewer pleasure centers stimulated and a good night's sleep, and good health too.

And, in case you are wondering, I do hope I've satisfied my curiosity about the SAD food (pretty please!).

10 comments:

Wendy (Healthy Girl) said...

There is almost nothing better to me now than a perfectly ripe banana with some nut butter. Yum!

Anonymous said...

But isn't Dr. Fuhrman claiming that if you ate a nutritarian diet you're not suppose to have cravings for SAD food?

Scroll down to end of post:

http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-binge-eating-is-the-diagnosis.html

kneecap said...

Yeah, the physical cravings do go away. The point of this post was that I found the banana and nut butter to be as pleasurable as ice cream was which is in agreement with what Dr. Fuhrman says. But, I can get thrown off by socio-pyschological triggers, like seeing old friends who I used to drink beer and eat ice cream with. Others get thrown off at the holidays when they are with family and have a desire to relive past experiences. Also, I find if I overeat on healthy food, I am more likely to want to move on to unhealthy stuff because it is more stimulating. So preventing overeating is a great way to prevent going "off-plan". I wish it were as simple as, stay away from SAD food for 6 weeks and you will be cured of wanting it. :)

Patricia said...

What brand is the little container of pecan butter? Sounds delicious, so I'm wondering if I could find it at Whole Foods...

kneecap said...

Hi Patricia, here is a link that shows the details of the nut butter:
http://shop.willystreet.coop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=65798

kneecap said...

Hey Anonymous,

I think I see your point now. Why after 6 years was I struggling when Dr. Fuhrman says it only takes 6-12 weeks for the SAD cravings to go away.

I am not sure of the answer. Here is my guess: I had the opposite experience of what Dr. F. describes. I had no difficulty adopting this diet because I thought it was a fun experiment and didn't have a sense of denial, but of trying new things. After a few years of this, I did start feeling a sense of denial, once I realized I couldn't go back, maybe. It's that sense of denial that sets up cravings for me. And after 6 years, I got curious about what it would be like to return, and if I am missing something. I hope I answered my question, which is no!

Leanne said...

Hi - This post really hit home with me, because I've been through exactly the same experience.

Every so often (probably once every few months) I get massive cravings for SAD food, and eventually I sometimes give in. And I always find it doesn't lie up to expectations, and I wish I hadn't had it, once I'm eating it.

It's weird, the food kind of tastes good, but it doesn't satisfy me like real healthy food does. And I feel yucky inside.

The other night was a big shocker though. I had dairy ice cream for the first time in MONTHS. And I couldn't eat it. It was like someone was pouring grease into my mouth. This was luxury ice cream, but all I could taste literally were the gobs of fat in it. Not a pleasant experience!

My favourite treat - a green smoothie in the morning to wake me up :-)

kneecap said...

Leanne, that's my experience exactly. I was shocked that I didn't like the ice cream!

Carrie said...

Great post, thanks for your honesty!

Sam @ H.E.S.H said...

I'm not really fond of bananas but I can't deny their nutritional value, so I try to eat one every now and then. Thanks for sharing this article here! :)