Good evening, friends and neighbors.
The bike ride to the cafe is only about 10 minutes on the way there, and 15 or so on the way back because of hills. There’s a certain part of it that I really enjoy- it’s when I
pass by Laurelhurst park. Sometimes I cut through and then I can ride a long-bomb hill right down to the
“BAGEL WITH CREAM CHEESE AND LOX. AND CAPERS.”
cafe. It’s an exhilarating part of the morning. On Thursdays and Fridays, Chris the bread guy is on and usually leaves a freshly-made plain bagel on my work bench
“YOU ARE MY GOD.
WHERE’S THE GODDAMN LOX. AND CAPERS.
… It’s a good way to get the day started.
In traditional Buddhism, it is postulated that there are only three real sins, and that all other sins are derived or motivated by these- ignorance, craving, and hatred. While hatred is considered the most grievous and unnatural, the other two are approached with somewhat deeper sympathy and understanding. Everyone is born in ignorance, and craving things is to be expected in an impermanent world. It is only when one chooses to embrace ignorance rather than learn, or when craving is permitted to override morality and reason that they become problematic.
Spiritually, this is excellent advice. In terms of healthy diet, however- not exactly.
: an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing
- “a craving for chocolate”
- “a craving for new experiences”
– Merriam Webster Dictionary
Much of this tend to punch holes in a popular health-food theory about cravings that claims that they are our body’s often-misunderstood attempts to tell us we are lacking in specific nutrients, and that the foods we crave are what we have grown to associate with providing them. For example, that Hershey bar you are dying for is your body’s way of saying you need magnesium. Several folks have come up with handy charts that are intended to gently nudge you towards healthier options- instead of chocolate, for example, look to nuts, fish, or leafy green salads.
– Bagel with lox, scallion cream cheese, and capers.
– Onion bagel with scallion cream cheese and roast beef.
– Candy, specifically chewy and fruity things like salt water taffy and jelly beans.
– An Italian Sub with hot deli peppers.
– Japanese food in general, but specifically sushi.
With the exception of sushi, you might notice the general trend associated with cravings surfacing here as well- most of the things I’ve craved are rich in fats, sugars, or carbohydrates. None of them offer a particular range of nutrients, putting one more hole in that “body talking to you” theory.
What they DO offer, however, is a pretty obvious psychological profile of stressors and desired emotions in my life.
First of all, each of these things have specific associations in my memory:
All of this leads to the big question that people really want to know about cravings- how do you beat them? How do you get rid of them? As a baker and a cook who has been living a healthy lifestyle for the last 6 years, how do I get rid of my cravings?
Sorry to break it to you all, but… I don’t. More often than not, I give in.
Here’s the deal though- cravings are real. As we’ve shown here, what you are craving can let you in on your emotional state- you cannot and should not be able to just “shut it off.” By understanding your cravings, you can assuage them intelligently and from there decide what the next steps for your mental health should be. If you find yourself going after comfort foods more often, try to figure out what in your life is making you crave a feeling of comfort. If you want something from your childhood, try picking up a favorite book or movie from back then.
When it comes to food, I tend to give in with a healthy dose of self-control. I get that bagel- and make it my lunch for that day. I’ll pick up some jelly beans or salt water taffy- but only enough for me to enjoy in THAT MOMENT, not so much that I’ll store it at home.
The Italian sub? I suffer with it and cry myself to sleep, clutching a bottle of olive oil and a picture of New Jersey. It’s REALLY hard to find a comparable sub here in Portland.
That all said though, ultimately it comes down to self-control and self-knowledge. Nothing comes from nowhere- and if you are really REALLY wanting that cupcake.. see if you can find someone to split it with.
“BAGEL. LOX. CAPERS. NOW.”
Anyone else kinda hungry?