Dreaming of Junk Food

March 29, 2011 at 7:27 am | Posted in Playing with Food | 8 Comments
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Have you been in a fast food place recently?  Have you eaten a bag of chips lately?  Maybe you have, and maybe you’ve felt the way I do after I give in to one of these rare cravings — completely unfulfilled and regretful.

I remember going to McDonald’s as a kid, and even as a teen.  I’d get a happy meal, and then I’d get the #4 when I was older (the McChicken sandwich meal) and I’d eat it happily.  In my later teens, we’d go to the McDonald’s drive-thru (backwards) at 3 AM after returning from the club, to fight off the munchies.  I never regretted it back then.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but now every time I eat fast food, I immediately regret it.  I get lured in by the thought that it’s going to be just as tasty as it was when I was young, only to find a dollar cheeseburger sitting like a rock at the pit of my stomach.  Why does it hurt so bad and yet, is so hard to resist?

I rarely indulge or crave fast food. It’s usually when I’m on the road and there are limited options that I actually partake in the fast food eating culture that is America.  I work right next to a Pop-eye’s*, a McDonald’s, a Dominos, and a Whopper Bar (Burger King’s newest venture) and if I eat out I typically choose the falafel place, the potato stand, or somewhere I can get salad or soup (occasionally I’ll spring for something ethnic like Thai food or sushi or empanadas).

But every so often the chicken nuggets call out your name. And every so often you see a bag of Cheetos and you can almost taste the orange goodness on your fingers.  And every so often you crave the innocence of eating things with no nutritional value whatsoever.  Because every so often, you want to be that kid chasing down the ice cream truck again, or  getting a ChocoTaco at the snack bar after playing a round of butts up. Every once in a while, you need to eat like nothing matters, because at that moment nothing does. Nothing but the taste of happiness and promise.  You can worry about the stomach ache later.

*note: as I write this I have gotten word that the Pop-eye’s near by job has been shut down by the Department of Health. If that’s not a warning to you, I don’t know what is!

Is there a 12-step program for foodaholics?

June 29, 2010 at 7:56 am | Posted in Playing with Food | 7 Comments
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My boyfriend and I enjoying taco night

The first step is admitting it.  I am a foodaholic.  I eat food for the pure enjoyment of taste. I think about food weeks and days in advance of consuming it. I research the best wings, best mac and cheese, best pizza, best sushi, best chocolate, best ice cream, best cupcakes – you name it.

I can remember as a kid having contests to see who could eat the most slices of pizza. In day camp, whenever we took a trip, we’d stop at McDonald’s and I always got a #4 (a McChicken sandwich).  In high school, I would always go to my favorite pizza place to hang out with friends during lunch, eat a slice of pizza and a pepperoni roll up.  On the days I didn’t go there, I went to the local deli and got an Italian combo.  In college, wings were the thing. So many flavors! And every so often, we’d order in from the calzone place at 3 in the morning. Basically, I ate like a growing boy.

Now that I’m older, I’m much more aware of when I’m eating something I probably shouldn’t. It doesn’t stop me, but I’ve been working on controlling portion sizes and trying to make healthier choices.  At some point, my metabolism will give out and I don’t want to be caught off guard, so I’m taking a preemptive step against instant weight gain.  My weight has remained consistent since high school, give or take 5 pounds.

Eating better isn’t just about maintaining a healthy weight.  It’s about giving my body the nutrients it needs.  Eating salmon because it’s good for my skin, or blueberries for the antioxidants.  I don’t do diets.  They have never worked for me. It’s probably because I don’t really need to lose weight. Of course, everyone can afford to lose a little weight, but I think that’s really a societal pressure to be skinny or perfect.  Have you seen artwork from the 1700s?  Women were not toothpicks. If they were, they were seen as poor and of a lower class.  Carrying a little junk in the trunk was a sign of wealth and wellbeing.

I also feel that life is really too short not to enjoy food.  One Twinkie once every three years won’t kill you. I had a fried Twinkie in Denver back in January. It was amazing, so I probably won’t have another Twinkie until 2013 at the earliest (since it was fried, I should probably tack on a couple years for good measure).  But there are just some foods I simply cannot live without.  I have to have chocolate almost every day.  I crave pizza, cheese, bacon, sushi, avocados, ethnic foods.  I enjoy smoothies on a hot day and hot chocolate on a cold one.

It’s just about balance.  Now, if I eat healthy for 2 meals a day, and I have French fries for dinner, I think it’s ok.   Food, like travel, is about adventure and enjoyment. Not everyone is so lucky to have so many choices of food at their fingertips so live it up while you are still living!

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