Good Enough to Eat
April 07, 2014
I’ve discovered a great way of enjoying some of my favourite flavours and tasty treats without adding a single inch to my waistline and not an ounce on the scales. It happened quite by accident but now I’m on something of a mission.
It started with Twin finding some Paddington Bear hand wash. (I am a lifelong fan of Paddington – the theme tune from the original 1970s BBC series is the ringtone on my phone – it’s really interesting when it rings how many grown-ups look puzzled- they know the tune but can’t quite place it...). My sister was replenishing her Mr Bump bubble bath (her favourite childhood character) when she spied the Paddington range on the shelves and knowing that I go through it at quite a rate she said she couldn’t resist getting me the marmalade hand wash.
It sits on my kitchen windowsill and just looking at the little cartoon bear on the bottle makes me smile. Just seeing it makes me cheerful and using it makes me giggle.
It really does look and smell like marmalade. Only the fact that it produces lather when added to water stops me from putting it on a thick slice of toast. After using it I discovered that my sense of smell was a very useful tool in combating my “need for a snack”.
I was feeling hungry and in danger of a fridge raid but I put my hands up to my face to rub my tired eyes and got a whiff of marmalade. It was enough for my brain to be diverted from foraging in the fridge. It was very similar to my strategy of brushing my teeth if I think I’m hungry – it does work as a diversion and makes me focus on whether I am really hungry or whether I’m bored, or upset or stressed. I have discovered that it isn’t the actual process of eating – the chewing and swallowing – that my brain wants… the “illusion” of food is enough to keep my snacking tendencies at bay.
After the discovery of “fake marmalade” I turned my attention to other products… and I have now amassed quite a collection.
Top of the list is my raspberry lip butter. I used to love “ruffles” (a soft chocolate covered raspberry truffle) but could never stop at one... a whole packet could be eaten in one go after a particularly difficult day at the office. I am now the owner of several little pots of lip butter. They sit on my day-job desk, my home office, in my handbag and in the glove box of my car.
I have also discovered a great way to distract myself from the lure of chocolate. There is a well-known bar which used to be advertised as “a taste of paradise”, utterly delicious but rather high in calories. I can now avoid the need to actually eat one by turning myself into something close to a walking-talking chocolate bar. I wash with my coconut shower crème (and accompanying shampoo and conditioner) and then moisturise using cocoa butter, and voila, I’m almost good enough to eat!
I’m now on a mission to find other products that fool my brain now that I’ve realised that my nose might be a very useful secret weapon when it comes to overriding my brain when it demands that I eat or drink something that I really don’t need. To start with there are endless bathing and beauty products which have their fragrances based on food products. Then there is the “Estate Agent strategy” of the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As Lovely Husband is extremely partial to a cup of strong filter coffee I have started using the machine more often. A jug of coffee lasts LH all evening and the smell wafts through the house and seems to help divert my thoughts from food. I’ve also discovered that there are a whole range of “food-based” air fresheners available. I’ve used the “seasonal” varieties in the past (the ones that fill your home with the scent of satsuma and cinnamon at Christmas) but haven’t bought any others yet (although the “cherry bakewell” looks quite tempting...) but the “cooked bacon” one did turn my stomach (although not quite as much as the “bacon flavoured toothpaste” did - I kid you not). Both products are available to buy from a popular online marketplace… together with popcorn, chocolate and jelly bean varieties as well.
Of course this is a somewhat light-hearted musing, but it does highlight the fact that when it comes to food it isn’t always a question of taste. Our other senses play a huge part in our eating and drinking habits. The look of food or the texture of what we eat can have a huge impact on how much we love or hate something.
For me the memory of school dinner Tapioca Pudding makes me wince, it makes me think “tadpoles” and I just can’t eat it. LH has a similar reaction to oysters. Twin used to love scampi until it was served to her barely cooked and with the heads still on... she can still remember vividly it “looking at her”. Now the smell of scampi is enough to make her shudder. As children Twin and I were taught never to tell lies. (We have an infamous family myth that mustard turns green on your tongue if you are fibbing. I recall having my tongue coated in the stuff when my mum knew I wasn’t being entirely truthful and to this day I can’t bear to even look at the bright yellow variety).
So, if you’re finding it hard to resist the lure of sweet treats or savoury snacks; if your brain and taste buds are trying to get the better of you, why not enlist the help of some of your other senses to head them off. Sight, smell and touch can be very useful tools to distract you from cravings and divert you for long enough to get your willpower under control and help prevent you from caving in to cravings.
With a hug
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