“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”
– Bertrand Russell
Every week day i get a nice little email as part of The Happiness Project. Today’s was particularly on-point.
I’ve been craving peanut butter of all things. I think it’s the salty-sweet flavor, and that i’ve been packing peanut butter or just peanuts in the husband’s lunches lately. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches are one of my comfort foods. Flavorful, full of carbs and sugar, just enough protein to prevent a quick crash. There have been times when i’m sad or bored I’ve eaten multiple in a day. Because they are such a temptation food, i’ve been avoiding them.
The boys are getting together tonight to game, however, and i decided to make beef stew. But i wanted something to go with it, so I tried a new recipe, Bob’s Red Mill Three Seed Bread. Growing up we used to get what my dad called “birdseed bread”, a multigrain with lots of seeds, and i admit, I kind of miss it! I haven’t been able to make or buy something quite like it. This wasn’t quite the same, but it came out great!
I enjoyed it with some Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. And when i say enjoyed, i mean really savored each bite. I could taste the different flavors, enjoying the salty and sweet. There were different textures of the bread, the seeds and the spread.
I’m currently reading Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting, by Darya Pino Rose, Ph.D. One of the things she has referenced so far is an experiment about denial and delayed gratification. The experiment was individuals were told to not eat some candy that was available as they watched a short film. Some were asked to imagine never eating the candy, and others were asked to skip them now, but could have some later if they wanted. A control group got to eat the candy during the film. After the film, everyone was allowed to eat the candy. Those who delayed the gratification ate less than those who were denied and the control group!
Many of my cravings are about habit and immediate satisfaction, even if the taste is mediocre. When i tell myself i can have it later (if i still want it), I feel safer somehow. I have the transportation and funds available to purchase food if i really want it later. Sometimes the craving passes unfulfilled, and sometimes (like this craving for peanut butter!), i should address it.
Fulfilling this desire wasn’t cheap calorie wise, but it was entirely “real food”, with delicious flavors. I felt no guilt about enjoying it, and even ate it in addition to my smoothie, as i wanted some veggie. Did i really just type that? I wanted green, in the morning? Me? I can and should! have delicious foods. Cravings can be important, but not urgent, to use a Franklin Covey explanation. I’m pretty sure I won’t die if i wait and see if i really want that candy bar.
One side effect of making all this real food is I am spending a LOT more time in the kitchen. I think i will ask for an iPhone speaker thingy for Christmas, so i can play Pandora as i cook. Currently I carry my chromebook down, which is fine, but the speakers are so-so. I have a small speaker ball type thing, which is OK quality sound and definitely louder, but it would be neat to have something i could leave in one place.
I’ve already asked for a new yoga mat, so it may be a very practical holiday for me. Which I’m totally OK with!