Wednesday, May 12, 2004


I don't diet. I have changed the way I eat to exclude that which makes me fat in favor of focusing on eating so that I'm full and well nourished, yet still satisfied. It's not like I'm on the non-fat, low carb, all protein, or eat nothing but chemicals plan - believe me, I eat. But the last few weeks I have been struggling with the desire to eat food that I know I'm not supposed to have. There are strong psychological drives at work and while I am not addicted to drugs or alcohol I do definitely have impulse issues with food. I will literally obssess until I get that food experience, usually it's an In'n'Out burger. I am powerless before the double double with onions. People on the east coast know not of what I speak, but my mouth is watering as I write this. Once I drove there in the middle of the night in my bathrobe the call of the burger was so strong. My idea of a great date is going to a movie and In'n'Out with a guy who also like onions on his burger.

It can also be weird and random things like 31 Flavors Jamoca Almond Fudge ice cream, Peanut M&Ms or fish tacos from Tacos Baja Ensenada, a 25 minute drive from my house to East L.A., and I'll obssess until I get it.

The latest obssession was Terra chips. You know those potato chip like things made from Taro root and Sweet Potatoes? I don't know why but I couldn't stop thinking about them even though I don't eat foods like that anymore. But still I found myself at Trader Joe's with 3 different varieties in my cart. I put two back to rationalize the purchase of the one bag, yes, it's a game I play with myself to make it okay.

So I'm heading out to my car and there's a homeless guy in the parking lot who hits me up for money. I usually have "bum money" on me - that two bucks in change that I can pass out, but this particular evening I had no bum money, so I told him no, I had nothing to give him. He said thanks anyway. I put my stuff in the trunk, taking the Terra Chips to open and eat in the car and he came over and took my cart for me. He said, "let me do that for you and thank you for speaking to me, most people walk by like I'm not there." His front teeth were missing and he was in his 30s maybe, he seemed like a nice guy. As he walked away with my cart to put it in the lot rack I wished I had money to give him. I got in the car and looked at the Terra chips that I certainly didn't need and, although I really wanted them, I backed up to where he stood and asked him if he'd like to have them. He grinned and said, "yeah - thanks!", like I had given him a gift. I think it was probably hard for him to eat them without his teeth, but it made me happy to think that at least his stomach wouldn't be empty. I wouldn't have enjoyed eating those Terra chips thinking about that hungry man in the parking lot.

Recently the same thing happened again - a homeless guy wanted to wash my windows and I had no bum money. I was on my way into the drug store to pick up a prescription and get a little bit of chocolate or something sweet - I have no will power when I'm wanting sugar - and so I said to him, "look I can't give you money, but I can get you something to eat and put it on my card." He smiled (another toothless smile) and followed me down the aisle where the cookies and candy and drugstore type food items are. At first he picked some sugar free cookies, but when I asked him if he really wanted that and pointed out the Peanut M&M cookie bars he was more than happy to go for those. Which was good because that's what I wanted and for some reason I got a lot more satisfaction from not eating them but buying them for someone else who was hungry.

I can deal with my cravings a whole lot more easily if I give those things I crave to my homeless neighbors and luckily for me there are a lot of those particular diet aides living in my hood.

It's just one perspective, but it works for me.

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