How my indulgences have become more indulgent

April 16, 2015 by Joshua
in Fitness, Nature, Perception

I gave a talk yesterday I’d prepared months for. I think it went well. I’ll hear from the organizers soon and get their impressions.

On my way home I felt like I wanted to indulge in something to reward the effort in preparation. Years ago indulging meant ice cream, pretzels, chips, beer, wine, or something like that. Over the years, I’ve come to see those foods as less rewarding. They create pleasurable sensations but I don’t find mere pleasure as rewarding as I used

Instead I sliced an apple and ate it with peanut butter. Simple and unsweetened as it is, I enjoyed it more than I would have enjoyed any of the old indulgences.

I’ve come to see chips, pretzels, and foods with fiber removed as something a company is doing to me, something unhealthy, for their profit. They give a big burst of flavor or texture, but no complexity. They make you want to eat more. Companies design them that way. And they advertise to get you started.

However good they taste, they make me feel bad for eating them.

I like a glass of wine with dinner, but I’m coming to see alcohol as something to enjoy rarely, and then to savor, if a scotch, or at least appreciate, if a wine or beer. The less I have of it, the more I like it. I didn’t want to focus on anything, just to enjoy. So I didn’t feel like them.

I’ve heard that fruit today is bigger and sweeter than its ancestors were. Apples seem big and sweet today. I see them more as candy than natural. Do people still say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? I’m not sure if they are as healthy as they used to be because I think they have a lot more sugar than they used to. That’s why I like them with peanut butter. The combination isn’t so sweet.

It feels good that my comfort food, which you expect to be less healthy, includes what many people consider healthy.

But the most important element is that I enjoyed a modest amount of fruit and legume more than I would have chips or whatever. I wouldn’t have expected that a long time ago. The apple and peanut butter felt more indulgent—that is, satisfying, pleasurable, and uncommon—than candy used to.

I didn’t plan to change my tastes. Maybe it came with age, but I think it came from making many small changes, especially cutting out foods where fiber was removed.

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2 responses on “How my indulgences have become more indulgent

  1. It seems like you have become more mindful of your actions, your emotions. I have found the same thing. Regular meditation practice has made me more mindful of my thoughts, my actions, though I have a lot more to work on. I dont necessarily try to disect my thoughts and actions as well as you do, but I have found a lot of good emotions in simple pleasures.

    Its why monks are happier than most people, even though they dont have any worldly possessions.

    My diet these days consists of the same thing every day: chicken, eggs, fruits and vegetables. I have the most energy I ever had, and have been the fittest I have ever been. Most people I interact with cant understand how I can eat like this.

    I still enjoy eating unhealthy once a week. It gives me the instant gratification required.

    • You described a lot of how I work. I don’t use the word mindful that much. There’s something about it that doesn’t ring true, like it’s precious or special. I think it describes paying attention to your emotions, thoughts, and mental activity.

      Otherwise I might suggest changing “, even though they don’t have any” to “resulting partly from having fewer” and “required” to “I crave,” though I’d also suggest you can get gratification without unhealthy food. I’m not saying I don’t eat unhealthy food. I do try to decrease my needs.

      Thanks for responding. I hope I didn’t sound like I was nit-picking.

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