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When Self-care Tells You What and What Not to Eat

In a local pharmacy, I passed through the “nut” aisle and found myself tumbling back in time to 40 years ago in my local food mart searching for WheatNuts®. They “were originally developed by Pillsbury in the late 1970s and had been on the marketplace for 35 years before being pulled off the market by Anacon Foods in late 2013,” and “are a cult classic snack product that has a nationwide following of die hard Wheat Nutters.” ( I had been such a die-hard, and now I fear that if I’d continued to wolf them down as I did then, I would have died hard—and sooner rather than later.

I remember downing a jar of them on my way to meet friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Arriving early, sitting in my car and enjoying their uniquely amazing crunch and nutty flavor, I was whisked away to Planet Ecstasy until I crashed to earth when I saw I’d consumed the whole jar and still had an entire meal ahead of me to eat. Which, sad to say, I did, and I will recall the ensuing stomach ache I had til the end of my days.

I can’t say exactly when I quit eating Wheatnuts, but I think I gave them up as I gradually—fighting-my-urges-every-inch-of-the way—stopped compulsively eating and bingeing because I started to care deeply about what foods I was putting into my body and began truly hating that overfull feeling of stuffing my stomach with two, three and sometimes four times as much food as it could hold. I can now think of Wheatnuts without wanting to heave, and suspect that I might enjoy a handful if I didn’t think of how infused they are with saturated fat (1 ounce containing 2.5 grams) and their total high-fat content (18 grams in one tiny ounce).

The truth is that I’m no longer drawn to foods that would do me harm. This wasn’t true in my early recovery days. Two or even five years into it, I was still struggling with craving foods that were serious health hazards like Wheatnuts. But, somewhere along the way, they lost their allure and I stopped being seduced. Please don’t think I’m a food purist. I love sweets and eat some every day, but I no longer feel a pull that was like a death grip when I encounter foods that I know are seriously non-nutritious. Truly, my first thought is, “Gross. Why on earth would I want to put that in my body?”

I love eating healthfully (for the most part). What a privilege and honor to treat my body well. Equally, I adore chocolate and meringues and petit fours and well-made Tiramisu and Baklava. What I no longer crave are high-fat foods. I simply think of them as oil-drenched and have lost my taste for them. My point here: If I can change, you can too. Not this minute and maybe not this week, but slowly, mindfully, self-caringly over time.



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