We crave food for a variety of reasons. My problem is that I develop cravings for pizza, that thick luscious gooey cheese makes me swoon. Sometimes. Other times I could eat a salad morning, noon, and night. What’s with the cravings for foods that aren’t really good for me? Why can’t I crave healthy food?
Many bad food cravings come from our frenetic lifestyle. When we’re stressed, we’re looking for food to sate us. Not to satisfy our hunger, but to make us feel better. We don’t care that we’ll end up hungry, grumpy, and with a likely case of heartburn later. We want food that is going to send our endorphins soaring and give us that “feel good” feeling within minutes of eating it. Pizza is one of those foods. High in fat, salt, and depending on the sauce and crust, sometimes sugar.
We also associate pizza with a party or a celebration. So not only does the food make us feel better temporarily, we also associate it with good times, and memories like that make us feel good too.
Then there is a deep, dark, and dirty little secret the food industry hopes we won’t notice.
We’re being tricked.
Yes indeed. Our taste-buds have been high-jacked by well-meaning scientists who started creating convenience foods to make our lives easier. Then they discovered that convenience foods were a big money-maker. And once money’s involved, all bets are off.
Soon the processed food industry went from helping the 50’s and 60’s housewife enjoy a little cuddle in the evening with her hubby and a re-heated frozen dinner on the TV tray in front of them to a full on assault of our nearest and dearest.
Notice food commercials. Many of them are directed at adults, but most of them are designed to get kids to nag their parents into stopping by a fast food place because the kiddos want to. It’s fast. It’s cheap. It’s convenient. And darn if it doesn’t smell good too.
Millions of dollars have gone into the processed food industry to get people to buy one brand over another. They know exactly what smell we respond to, and they use it against us.
We’re working so hard to be healthy. We want to be a good example to our children. But they’re hungry and crabby. You’re tired and don’t want to cook. Besides, you haven’t gone grocery shopping in ten days. There is nothing at home you can make quickly.
“Just this once,” you think, “it won’t make that much difference.” But you’re wrong. Every time you give in to the desire to have those french fries, that greasy burger topped with buns that don’t rot and ketchup that is only sugar that masquerades as a relative of the tomato.
I really hate to tell you this, but fast food and processed foods are merely chemicals that masquerade as food. If you love yourself and you love your family…schedule some time every single week (preferable more than once) and shop for fresh food and produce that needs to be stored in a refrigerator. Identify quick and healthy meals you can serve your family that will serve them and you well.
Food cravings occur because we believe they do. By having better choices available, we can teach ourselves and our children to want a better choice.