Thursday, January 21, 2010
A heave-ho to dried cranberries
It's official. I'm hitting the ejector button on dried cranberries. I love them. I want them. I desire their presence in salads, breads, my kitchen cabinets and my mouth. But they have not been responsible purveyors of joy for me. They've betrayed me by setting my overeat-o-meter into HIGH GEAR. And so they are dead to me. We had a parting of the ways a few months back, but recently they cajoled me into a reconciliation, promising moderation as the key to enjoyment of their tasty selves. They lied. Remember the add for this? Well, cranberries do too. They cannot be trusted, at least in my periphery.
They are a food product that time and time again I find I cannot handle. Why do I keep trying? Reminds me of the oft-used definition of insanity:
This brings up a topic about which I've been thinking a lot. Over many years of countles hundreds of diets and weight loss efforts, I've encountered a lot of philosophies of eating, and stopping bingeing. I've jumped on many bandwagons of theory, like the fact that you can anything you want, as long as it's in moderation. Turns out that's a crock for a food addict such as myself, though I know many who can do this. Another is the idea that for food addicted folks, certain foods must be totally eliminated from one's diet if she/he is to have any success with weight loss and reasonable eating. Omitting all white sugar, white flour, wheat are some examples. I've tried so many variations on these themes and the truth is they all work IF you work them consistently. Big IF. Bold IF.
My most recent cranberry debacle happened yesterday afternoon when I had an ounce of cranberries with a quarter cup of walnuts for a "healthy" snack. Tasted great, but was no more satisfying than if I'd had an ice chip with lemon juice squeezed over it to jazz it up. All this snack did was make me want more - of anything. Suddenly my empty-ish stomach did not feel good and righteous, it felt deprived and needy. The flip got switched and I was in food search mode like a heat-seeking missile. Luckily there wasn't too much in the house to have, so it wasn't a bad binge or anything. But I spent the rest of the evening in that confounded WANTING state that had nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with food obsession.
This started me thinking about back when I first went to Weight Watchers. I honestly don't know if I was in high school or if it was later, because once I got out of nursing school in '75, I was too thin (from disordered eating in the other direction) for a long time. Anyway - in those days, Weight Watchers had a concept of a traffic light to categorize foods as green light, yellow light and red light.
The idea was that each person needed to know what foods fell into what categories for him/her so that he/she could increase his/her chances of success. I always thought this was a brilliant concept, and looking back believe WW was ahead of its time in suggesting that individuals inventory themselves and their habits honestly to know how best to stay on program... an early version of personal responsibility. In other words, if you didn't lose weight, it might not have been WW's fault. Si?
Example: Peanut butter is fine in a measured amount for some people; for others like me, it must me handled with caution because a measured amount could frequently set me up to want 5 more measured amounts. So on my list this was a yellow light food - came with a warning but not forbidden. Red light foods were those off plan entirely by WW, but for some the peanut butter might also be on that list. Of course, celery and broccoli are always green light foods in most any amount. (Yeah, I know some people can binge on broccoli, but come on - how damaging would that really be?)
So - dried cranberries - RED LIGHT. Sad that a relatively benign and totally yummy and not unhealthy product falls into the NO GO ZONE, but my reality is that it does. Accept it, deal with it, move on.
What about you guys? What are your red or yellow foods? Or do you even buy the notion that some things must be avoided...or else?