Grilled cheese with bacon and mushroom.
Cold ciabata sandwich with Gouda cheese, bacon, lettuce… and mushroom.
I’m trying to eat healthier and cut back on cheese (again) and all of these things are just calling to me, especially the cheese. Really it’s the cheese that makes it, though bacon and mushrooms certainly are lovely in their own rights. I feel like a huge portion of my food issues throughout the years have been about cheese. I love cheese, in a sick, abusive sort of way. I have chronic inflammation and it’s strongly exacerbated by cheese. And it’s not like cheese is arguably good for you, any you, really. It’s loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and about a hundred calories for every little ounce. I live in the United States. Do you think we stop at just an ounce of cheese? Maybe all of those impossibly thin and attractive 40-somethings over in Boulder do, but thinking about them just makes me sad, SO I WON’T.
When you eat cheese, digestion of the casein in it releases opiate compounds and makes you happy and it’s been suggested that some people really are literally addicted to cheese. I hate to just point blame at the food instead of being responsible for what I eat, but I definitely have an emotional reaction to cheese. It is extremely hard to ignore. There is absolutely nothing that I get from cheese that I can’t get elsewhere, except for that emotional satisfaction. But you know what? Like all good things, it doesn’t last. And like so many feel-good bad-for-you things, after the momentary high you just feel worse.
So why the heck don’t I just cut it cold turkey? I have “cut back” on cheese over and over and over through the years. It’s mentally exhausting. And cheese is expensive anyway. Actually, so is bacon these days. I don’t want to keep fighting this food addiction, but I don’t want to give in to it either. The times I have tried to go cold turkey have been even worse than just cutting back and the cravings are insane. Maybe I can try fighting it with exercise. I’m only just starting to get back into shape postpartum, and it will be a long road, but exercise definitely gives me a good buzz. Every time I really want some cheese I do some yoga? Lift some weights? Do jumping jacks in the dairy aisle to fight the temptation? What if the cheese is on sale? How many jumping jacks would that take?
What about you guys? Do you have a trigger food, or something you want to give up? Maybe you already gave something up and can share your experience in the comments. Somebody tell me how to save me from myself!
*Photo by Skånska Matupplevelser, used under Creative Commons