Friday, October 12, 2012

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

I really, really do.
Hello! I know it has been a couple of months, but I hope you haven't forgotten me entirely. Even if you have, that is cool. I mostly write this for my mom and dad anyway, so there you go. I have been reading a lot about nutrition lately so I can help people figure out what they should eat in order to get the results they want to see. Doing so, you would think that I would have a firm grip on what I eat and what I choose not to eat.

Well if you thought that, you'd be wrong.

It does not matter how many articles or books I read that tell me "Don't worry, once you get over being addicted (insert whatever processed food you're reading about), you'll stop craving it."

Speaking as a human being who has been eating much healthier for the better part of 4 years, I can tell you that is utter bovine scarpoli. I can tell you that the nutrition changes I have made over the last 4 years have stopped the persistent migraines I used to get. I have lost some fat. I have gotten stronger. I also, however, still crave Taco Bell and long John donuts from The Jolly Pirate Donut Shop.

You thought I was joking. I wasn't.
Now before you start to boo me like that old woman from The Princess Bride, stop. Taco Bell and The Jolly Pirate are two things I vividly remember from my childhood. Both crunchy taco supremes and long Johns are comfort foods for me. I know what is in them. I know what they are made out of. I know what they can do to my body. I simply do not care. What I do know is how they played a part in my life. I remember going to Taco Bell with my cousin Damon or my grandma, or my dad as a "treat." I remember going there with my dear high school friends. All of us were broke but could afford a 79 cent Taco Bell taco. I also remember the day when I had a stomach ache from what I thought was eating Taco Bell twice in one day, but turned out to be appendicitis. It is funny now even though it wasn't then. I remember my dad taking my sister and I to The Jolly Pirate Donut Shop on the occasional Saturday to pick out our favorite donuts for breakfast and telling us about when he used to fill long Johns in the bakery he worked at when he was young. Eating better and avoiding junk doesn't stop me remembering these things and, in turn, craving them. And if I am being 100% honest, the only reason I haven't crammed my yammer full of donuts recently is because they simply do not make long Johns properly in Virginia. They ruin them by filling them with BAVARIAN CREAM!!!! Oh the humanity! When I "cheat," I either go big or go home. Fake long Johns are not worth it, so I go home.

I guess you could conclude that it isn't the food I crave, although you should know that I can eat just about anybody under the table when it comes to Taco Bell food (save my sister who kept the entire franchise afloat when she was preggo with Miles). It's the fun times I had with my family and friends while eating this stuff. I want it because I miss Ohio and I miss my family, including the few friends I keep in touch with. Ok, friend I keep in touch with.

You would think that because I am surrounded all the time by people who make healthy decisions and WANT to make healthy decisions that these craving would dissipate, but they don't. They actually intensify when I am particularly missing home. I think that is what a lot of nutrition writers miss when they explain how cravings will disappear and you won't want certain foods that you wanted before, etc. Because as much as we don't want it to be, food has emotional connections. It always will. For example, my mother makes the best potato soup on the face of the planet. It is a simple soup to make and I make at least once a winter but mine never tastes like hers. Why? Because it isn't HERS. When I eat mine, I almost always get a sad sinking feeling that it would be better if I was eating it with my family. But I am also comforted by the familiar taste and smile remembering how mom used to grumble when we asked her to make it because it took some time to make.

I always do try to make the better choice when it comes to food. I have come a long way from where I started and I am trying very hard to help other people make better choices. But I will admit when I am really missing my mom, dad, sister, or grandparents, a nice crunchy taco supreme from Taco Bell does make me feel better. I think what it comes down to is the fact that if you can identify why you crave something, then you can deal with it more readily. And it becomes a habit to acknowledge the craving but then dismiss it and distract yourself by calling your mother. And thanking the Heavens you live in Virginia where they ruin donuts.