Tuesday, November 01, 2016


What makes us want what we want...what blend of genetics and environment makes some people love to play or watch sports and others subscribe to the opera, while others don't understand the allure of either? There's wanting...then there's craving, defined by thefreedictionary.com as "A consuming desire, a yearning."

Look how far many people go to get tickets to the World Series or Hamilton.... How much they're willing to pay beyond the norm. I'd call that craving. Because, for the Cubs, it's probably once in a lifetime? Because Hamilton is a truly great show supported by extensive hype (it seems every day a Facebook friend posts the now-requisite Hamilton selfie)?

I crave something not once in a lifetime, not on occasion, but almost every hour of every day. It's legal, affordable, and almost everywhere I go: sweets. The craving is strong, demanding, making me fight it many times a day. Such as, but not limited to, whenever I:

  • pass donut shops near me. Their neon signs shout, "Yummy!" (One nemesis is Stan's pretzel-shaped donut )
  • see candy in any checkout line or store, especially if it's on sale
  • am near a brownie, especially if combined with ice cream and bittersweet hot fudge
  • eat ice cream or candy that I've bought. How do I stop at one serving (defined as a half-cup for most ice creams, a mere dollop)?
Why is avoiding sugar so difficult for me? Do I love the process of eating, the mouth feel, the taste...or is it the sugar "high?" Do desserts somehow assuage the sting of acting, writing and dating rejection? You'd think all of the articles I've read lately about sugar being the new smoking and how bad it is for your health would provide enough incentive to at least cut back.

But when Target's Peanut Butter Fudge ice cream is in my freezer (my "drug" of choice used to be Edy's S'mores Slow Churned. I confess there were a few times I made my way through an entire half-gallon at one sitting, though I dug around for the "good stuff" and avoided some of the plain ice cream. Fortunately, I can't find that flavor anymore and the new ones don't sing the siren's song.)

Don't buy ice cream, donuts or candy, you say? And deny myself one of life's small pleasures? I try to psych myself out by not leaving sweets on display (out of sight, father out of mind), or even buying things I don't like as much as others. I don't buy OREOs, because I don't have the will power to not consume an entire row. Or two. And now Halloween candy is 50% off....

What do you crave? If you succumb to sugar like I do, here are a couple of articles on how to eat less of it:

The Washington Post: How to fight sweet cravings when sugar is everywhere, Ruth Kaufman! (No, the article didn't include my name, but it might as well have.)

WebMD: 13 ways to fight sugar cravings