This is a post about freedom from people controlling your life.
Years ago I couldn’t help buying ice cream all the time. I’d almost always have a carton in the freezer. I’d come home and try not eating it but I often would.
And I used to love the Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel bits that were broken on purpose to hold the flavored powder they added. Before then I loved Doritos. Once I started eating them I wouldn’t stop until the skin in my mouth was tender and even hurt. All the corn flour would get stuck in my teeth. The powder would cover my fingers. I loved chips and manufactured snacks.
I lived an active lifestyle so I didn’t put on too much weight, but the skin around my belly was always thick. I never knew it any other way. I thought it was normal.
Fast forward to years of eating slightly more healthily year by year. Cutting out hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. Later switching carrots, celery, and nuts for chips. Cutting out foods with fiber removed. Cutting out most foods with packaging. Always changing eating habits after I got sick of a food, never before, so never feeling deprived. Since the soreness in my mouth like the Doritos gave disappeared, as did the woozy feeling in my stomach, I always liked the changes.
More than the physical discomfort, I lost the feelings of helplessness, like I couldn’t stop myself from eating things I didn’t want. Apples don’t make you want more like the “food” engineers at the big companies design their products to. I didn’t like that feeling. I felt out of control. Looking back, to the extent I wasn’t in control of what I bought and ate, they were, or at least strongly influencing, taking advantage of how our motivational systems work.
Maybe eighteen months ago I started picking up fresh vegetables delivered weekly through a farm share. My rule not to waste vegetables led me to cook them all however I could. I’d chop them and put them in stews. Of course I’d nibble some raw.
Over the months, the ratio I nibbled raw to what I put in the stew increased. The more I ate raw vegetables, the more I appreciated them.
In a post about cabbage in April I wrote
Lately, I’ve realized just plain raw cabbage is juicy and sweet when you first bite into it, at least near the stem. Then it’s crispy and crunchy. At the end it has a horseradish-y taste. The core is crunchy and has the strongest taste. It’s not something that doesn’t taste good that you have to acquire the taste of. Cabbage is delicious!
Frankly, nibbling on cabbage reminds me of eating potato chips, except it doesn’t make my mouth raw from all the salt, it costs a lot less, it fills me up, and it has a lot more fiber, vitamins, and other nutrition.
I don’t know when I bought into the mainstream view that cabbage doesn’t taste good on its own and that you have to make it into cole slaw, sauerkraut, or kim chi for it to taste good. If more people tried it, we’d eat a lot more cabbage. Plus you can dip it into dips, like hummus.
The post helped me realize that cabbage had replaced chips. Most of the time I have cabbage in my fridge, like now, for example. When I want a snack, I peel off a few leaves and eat them like chips. For fun, I decided to call cabbage, “a bag of chips.” So when I say
I went to the store to buy a bag of chips.
I went to the store to buy a head of cabbage.
When I say
I finished the bag of chips
I ate the last of the head of cabbage.
I can’t tell you how delicious cabbage is, all the more so compared to chips. It’s crispy, crispy, and flavorful. I get all the joy I used to get out of chips—the pleasure from the flavor, the fun of the crunch, the fun of eating finger food—with none of the problems: no corn flour stuck in my teeth, no tender and painful skin of my mouth. Most importantly, no craving, no feelings of helplessness, and no belly skin thick with fat.
Sometimes I snack on other vegetables, but cabbage has been my go-to one lately. I eat a lot more fruit now too.
Anyway, that’s my post on freedom from craving, feeling out of control, and its results like pain and fat. The “food” engineers and their bosses are the people who were controlling me with their products designed to addict.
And how I enjoy going through bags of chips all the time with joy, not regret.
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