Pavlov’s Diet for the Obsessed

I love food. All food. I know, everyone says that, but you ask, “What about anchovies?” “No, but everything else.” What about…”

Nobody loves food like I love food. Sauteing makes me swoon. I take pleasure in the crunch or the explosion of flavors when I sink my teeth into it and can’t help but make mmmmm-ing noises. I roll in it (ok, I don’t really do that, pervs. I’m making a point.)

As a kid, I’d say something like, “Yummmm, I love pizza.” To which Mommy Dearest would reply, “You can’t love food. You can only love people.”

False doctrine, 89 yr. old mom. Just like someone day I will appreciate my given name and probably even use it. I will always despise the name Esther and I truly do love food. 

But, here’s the catch. Too much food makes you fat. Oh, that’s not good, you say. I know, right?

Lately I realized (surprise, surprise, it happened around New Years when 89% of Americans had the same realization) that my obsession with food was causing a bit of an issue. (And, yes, I made up that stat.)

My love affair was not only causing some weight gain, but also taking over 80% of my time. (I don’t know why I feel the need to keep making up percentages) I spend my days gawking and pinning food on Pinterest, finding recipes, making up menus and grocery lists, planning parties around menus, searching for grocery specials and matching coupons, then chopping, peeling, grilling, roasting, whipping…you get the picture. And this was all before the actual eating part. 

So in the blur of blaring horns, midnight kisses, and showering confetti, my resolve began; to stop the food obsession. 

My app called my new diet “The Healthy,Tasty Diet,” but I see it as Pavlov’s Diet for the Obsessed. I chose it because it was so boring and mindless that I wouldn’t give it another thought.

My tablet dings. I check what to eat and grab it from the frig. Ding! Breakfast is 3/4 cup cereal, mixed with an apple and yogurt. Ding! It’s 10:00. Eat an orange. It even came with a grocery list, so the food I needed was always at my fingertips.(No planning) Dinners are pretty much either a grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon with a ton of lettuce. (Next to no cooking.)

The first week I dropped 2 lbs of Christmas weight and decided to go for another week. One week at a time, they say (well, “they” really say “day” but I’m adapting). I gained the realization that every meal doesn’t have to be an event and when it’s not, I have much more time on my hands and a little less weight.

I’m not naive enough to think this can be my new lifestyle. (I may have mentioned that I love food.) But as times goes on, I can live with the mindless Pavlov eating most of the time. (Let’s say 89%) And then sometimes, maybe just because I feel the need to be creative or because it’s Friday and I deserve it, I can pull out the stops and truly eat for pleasure. With no morning after regrets.

In other words, food can be used solely as fuel, except when it’s not. 

That’s living simply, by design.


Pay It Forward, Finally

Got one of those Facebook posts that offers you a homemade gift, the only “catch” is you need to re-post and then “pay it forward” to five people by giving then gifts. Ms. Crafty noted that together we can make 2013 a Year of Giving. But, really, she had me at “be the first to respond.”

So, in the spirit of competition, I sent back a witty little remark about nobody wanting a clay ashtray from me, but if food counted, I was in.

I waited. I didn’t get a haha or smiley face, and in a split second I realized, “Oh, shit, I just committed.” But, then again it could be fun. So, I re-posted, making my change to the first three people to respond would get some type of homemade food item.

Apparently other people think before they respond to these kind of posts. Novel.

It took forever (maybe 3 minutes) and I got a “like.” A few minutes later, a “How far will you drive?” from a nephew in Chicago (I’m on the East Coast), then my son’s girlfriend, also in Chicago putting in her winky-faced bid.

Actually, this helped because then came, “I’m only three minutes away” from another fb friend and a “forget the food, but I’ll take a Long Island Tea.” Now the “like” jumped on the bandwagon, also soliciting drinks, banter, banter, banter,  and then another person, “I’d rather have you teach me to cook.” 

Not sure anyone was taking it too seriously, but by now, I really wanted to cook for these people!

25 posts later, ends up, I’m going to take dinner to two single guys who probably don’t get too many home cooked meals; a friend of my son and a guy I never really knew but went to high school with thirty years ago. (Hoping he’s just hungry, not creepy. If I show up missing, check there first).

Also, my daughter’s friend really DID want cooking lessons. As she said, “Give a girl a dish, she eats for a day. Teach her to cook a dish, she eats for life.” (Cleverly used, Leah.)

I’m excited to pass along a passion of mine and to hang out with her, drinking wine (the first lesson is you need to have a glass of wine in your hand for real cooking) and conjuring up something delectable together.

I’m not trying to make a dent in poverty or right all the wrongs in our world, but I can use something I love to make a few people in my circle happier. 

That’s living simply, by design. 



Yesterday, in a rare event that I actually took time to read the tag on my tea bag, it reminded me, “You must live for something higher, bigger and better than you.”


Simple Food Philosophy

Ever find a saying and say, “Hey, that’s me.”? Case in point, this morning I ran across  “The Mama & Baby Love Food Philosophy”. Much cooler in her fancy font with piles of fresh produce in the background, but anyway…here’s what she posted:

“Live by the 80/20 rule, do the best you can, don’t worry about perfection, make your food budget a priority, buy it with thought, cook it with care, buy local food, know your farmer, serve just enough, use what is left.”

Really, that’s my philosophy. Take out “Mama and Baby Love” and put in Jennie Todd because it’s spot on. Well, except I only know “my farmer” as “the Amish guy”. Need to work on that. And, the whole perfectionism thing is a work in progress. But the “cook it with care” I have down. Except when I don’t.

Anyway, for the most part, not only this food philosophy is so me, but most of my life I realize, I live simply, by design. 

And, that’s what this blog is about.