How to Exercise Control Over Food That Makes You Go Bananas

This post should really be called “how I managed to survive the weekend without demolishing the jalapeno pretzel bits” (while alone in the house and buried under blissful piles of sewing, which would be a whole other post.)

Pretzels left as of Monday night!

This is no mean feat.  This is a clear triumph over some evil food demons.  I actually had to take a moment to let it sink in.

Here’s how that bag is still around…

The thing with doing your own food shopping is that you generally control what goes into your shopping cart (unless you have children or significant others tossing chocolate chip-hazelnut cookies and apple soda into your cart) and into the realm of calm and good feeling that should be your kitchen. And there are things that you know will drive you into food frenzy.

I’m not talking about those things that you nibble out of the box mindlessly or feel like you could do without. You know what you can and can’t have around the house lest you eat an obscene amount of said goody in one hour.  You do, really, if you think about it.

See, there’s a scientifically-proven system of reasoning, deduction, and fear that goes into maintaining composure in the face of your most hellacious temptation items of food, whether that be in the grocery store or in your own kitchen.  Go on, get your notebook, I’ll wait….

Got it?  Good.  Now, in order to avoid situations that lead to extreme food inhalation of the third degree, you need to:

Identify your kryptonite:

These are the things that make you go koo koo for cocoa puffs.  Mine are tortilla chips, Reese’s peanut butter cups (the mini ones), and jalapeno-flavored ANYTHING (I’d probably eat tire chunks if they were coated in powdery fake jalapeno goodness).

Determine how psychotic the food can make you act:

Be realistic.  Could you have it around the house and eat it in reasonable quantities at reasonable intervals?  Would you inhale the thing before you even made it home with it?  Would you knife your housemate if they took it from you?  For me:

  • the Reese’s CAN be in the house without me eating all of them (though I would eat more than I should of them)
  • the jalapeno-flavored pretzels/car tire bits would earn a housemate a stabbing if they were so foolish to thief them from me
  • the tortilla chips would not make it home, other than as crumbs in my hair (and I would not be able to stop thinking about them if they did manage to make it through the front door)

Determine a plan of action to counteract the psychotic behavior that might be induced:

This one can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it.  It’s about strategies and coping mechanisms that will prevent you from doing the unholy things to that food that you may do, were you not so reasonable as to have developed a plan (or, in my case, so foolish that I brought certain dirty little items into my otherwise zen, peaceful home).  In my case, this is how I handle it:

  • Reese’s mini cups: I buy one SMALL bag, even if it’s cheaper to buy the bigger bag; cheaper is good, but off my thighs is better.  I’ll therefore happily pay the proportional larger cost of the smaller bag.  My sanity is definitely worth that much money.  I also put them WAY back in the fridge so they’re not in my face whenever I open the door, and I can live with the fact that these are eaten only AFTER dinner, with the Husband (who will definitely eat more than me, making them disappear fast).
  • Jalapeno devil-bites: I buy one bag at a time, ever, even if they’re on sale; if they were” buy one, get one free,” I’d have to give my free bag to the cashier to ensure sanity on my part.  When I get home, I put them out of sight and hopefully out of reach.  When they need to be eaten, I portion them out into a pretty plate or bowl and daintily nibble from there.  Because vengefulness is not something to indulge, I also try to be out of the picture when the Husband finishes them because I would be compelled to violence if I sniffed them and knew he’d eaten the last ones without offering any to me.
  • Tortilla chips: Mercy on my soul…  I try not to buy them unless it’s completely necessary–as in, guests are coming to dinner and one of them has specifically told me that the only thing they can eat without going into anaphylactic shock is tortilla chips.  Other than that, there are practically no good reasons for me to keep these around.  Should they be purchased (for the poor food-limited guest) and leftovers be, well, left, I ask the Husband to hide them.  Another option is putting them so high that you can only reach them with a six-foot stepladder or, bar that, a chair and a long wooden spoon.  If and when I scale the heights of high shelves to get them, I try to portion them–and woe befall whoever even looks at my portion with an eye to steal one–and eat them s-l-0-w-l-y so I can enjoy every single niblet of processed salty deliciousness.

Implement your plan:

Easy to do.  And warn those around you about what the plan is, or how to handle you if you try to wheedle them into helping you access any kind of stash (or stuff Reese’s down your pants at the supermarket).  In my case, the Husband knows that he should not, under any circumstances, hand me the tortilla chips unless I’m holding the house machete to him (yes, I have a machete–but every respectable household in Trinidad does, and no one uses it for tortilla-hostage situations, so it’s fine, trust me).

Should the plan fail….

Do NOT let yourself feel guilty.  Yeah, you just stuffed six mini-Reese’s into your mouth at once, but it’s not the end of the world or reason to commit hare kiri.  You won’t see them on your thighs unless you did it for a whole week didn’t get up from the couch to  drink water/relieve yourself/have a life.  You planned and just because it didn’t work this time (and you ate a whole five-pounder bag of jalapeno pretzels) doesn’t mean it CAN’T work or won’t work the next time.

In fact, right now (when your stomach is churning and you think you will smell jalapeno for the rest of your life) is the time to rejig your plan.  Maybe you need to re-evaluate the level of crack that your particular crack provides and change your approach to it.  Maybe you need to put things higher up.  Maybe you need to face the fact that you just can’t have, say, tortilla chips in your house for a while, until you sort out the madness behind your insane and unreasonable obsession.

I would not assume, however, that the person responsible for hiding the offending item should be made to hide it better.  This is all on you, baby girl, so just accept it and move on.

So, the fact that this is still here:

Is  a pretty big accomplishment.  I think I deserve a nice fabric to make a cute skirt for being such a calm, virtuous person.


In things of the kind that I don’t need to ration or develop anti-psychotic plans for….

I got gussied up (ok, wore clothes and non-flip-flops) for most of the day, which involved a nice tough swim in the afternoon:

Sister-gifted blouse, Old Navy shorts, Target shoes

And I had two meals anchored by beany goodness–one of which was leftover sweet potato and black-eyed pea Southern burgers on salad (for lunch):

And lentil tacos for dinner (lentils were boiled, drained of most water, then simmered for a bit with a taco seasoning packet before being piled into tacos):

The irony of eating corn tacos today, when I’ve expounded on tortilla chips.  For some reason, corn taco shells don’t require exorcism.  Strange, isn’t it?

What are your kryptonite foods?  And how do you deal with them?