One of the things that always amazes me is that I don’t really know how to eat. Or maybe, the more correct term would be I don’t really know how to taste. Or maybe the most correct idea is that I don’t know what really satisfies me. Let me use an example of the hot chocolate I made on Friday night.
Normally, I make hot chocolate from scratch. My ingredients are: 2% milk, sugar, Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, a little bit of cinamon. This makes a good hot chocolate, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not rich. I can drink a whole mug of this and not have a problem. The hot chocolate I made Friday night had whole milk, heavy cream, Ghiridelli 60% bittersweet chocolate, and a little bit of cinnamon. The original recipe said it made 6 servings, so I made 1/2 recipe and had three servings (one for Conall, MiL, and me). It was so rich and satisfying, I couldn’t finish my serving.
And a serving was only about 5 ounces (about a half the amount of my normal mug).
NOT that I’m counting calories (because believe me, I’m not) but for comparison of the two hot chocolates I just did it. The hot chocolate on Friday night was about 1/3 fewer calories than the chocolate I usually make and drink (if I drank the whole serving which I didn’t). And yet, I was much more satisfied with what I made Friday night than my usual drink.
One of the things that gets to me about intuitive eating is that I don’t really know what I want. I’ve eaten low calorie/low flavor fake-food for a very long time. It’s like the saying, “I don’t even know the questions to ask,” where taste and satisfaction in food is concerned, I don’t know what questions to ask.
When I get a craving for or want a pop tart (for instance) is it because it is comfort food from when I lived with my grandparents, or is it because I really want a danish from the local bakery but don’t really know that’s what I want because I’ve hardly ever had a real, fresh made danish with real ingredients (butter, flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc)? I know I want my homemade yogurt more than the store bought yogurt (the stuff I make has whole milk, which I buy in half gallon containers and use all up to make a batch, and no preservatives or additives). Is that because whole milk and no artificial flavors is just that much more satisfying?
You would think I’d get used to this by now, but it still surprises me. A small handful of Triscuits (TM) with some good quality swiss cheese satisfies and fills me up so much better than twice as many saltines and american cheese food.
I’ve often heard it said of French Food (the cuisine that is notorious for full fat sauces filled with butter and heavy cream and rich cheeses and more), that the reason the French don’t have an “obesity epidemic”* is because they don’t eat a lot, even though what they eat is so rich. Maybe it’s that they don’t eat a lot becausewhat they eat is so rich. It’s filling in smaller portions, it hits a mind/body satisfied level a lot faster than foods we eat that are trying to fool us into thinking we are satisfied.
I don’t know, I’m just rambling here.
As far as not knowing what satisfies me, or know knowing how to taste, my eyes were opened up on Friday. Even though I’ve not been keeping myself away from certain foods, I’ve not actually been looking for those foods either. I wonder what real macaroni and cheese would taste like if I give myself permission to make a morney sauce out of whole milk and high fat cheddar cheese, instead of using a box. I wonder if it would be as eye opening as the hot chocolate was.
And I wonder how I learn what questions to ask, to really know what it is my body is wanting at any given moment. Do I really want the box mac and cheese because I really want it? Or do I want it because I don’t know something out there might be more satisfying?
I think this week, since I’m having to do stove top cooking anyway, I might make a morney sauce and make mac and cheese that way. I won’t be able to bake it with bread crumbs on top, but I think it’ll be okay anyway.
*I absolutely do not believe there is an obesity epidemic either in the US or anywhere in the world. I know the statistics can be skewed, and have been skewed where obesity levels in the US are concerned. I just wrote it that way because that’s how I’ve heard it said in the past.