Last night, I drove to a local Supermarket. I never go to this particular Supermarket. Ever. I just got in the car and went, with the whole family piled into the car and their faces molded into a permanent look of “Huh?” Mission: Ice Cream. At that point, nothing was more on my mind, more on my focus than getting some form of Ben and Jerry’s in my mouth, across my tongue and down my throat while filling, if not distending, my abdomen. That was the goal. It was simple. It was clear. And, oh how easy it was to achieve this goal. And the reward was massive…at least for a split second.
What was all of this about?
I admit I was feeling a little down. I was coming off the beginnings of a cold, one that it only a couple of days I kicked right out following this strategy here. But despite feeling physically better, the psychological remnants remained, echoing in my mind, of feeling a little bored, a little tired from the boredom, and a little down, and to top if off…hungry. I had been eating light for a couple of days and so it hit me hard physically, with all the emotion, wrapped up and frozen like some Chunky Monkey or New York Super Fudge.
Yes. I am human. I occasionally wander into the Land of Satisfaction Done Instantly and it usually manifests itself into some form of gastronomic assault in the form of sugar and milk. I grew up with ice cream. My Great Uncle Donny owned an old fashioned ice cream parlor in western Pennsylvania and whenever I visited, my younger sister and I would be willingly sat down on a swivel stool at the counter, legs dangling with our tongues, and we could have anything we wanted, for free. It was the fantasy of fantasies for us, but real.
And the Family reunions were even more…accessible. In an old country home where my grandmother was born within its four walls, among the rolling Appalachian hills of western Pennsylvania, far away from the loud and rough streets of Philadelphia where I lived, down a long winding dusty dirt road, was the Custer Family Reunion. This “old country home” was transformed, with multiple rooms added, fit with a full arcade where your own money was not needed. Just outside the screen door, on a sprawling outdoor deck a large floor freezer sat, like the Ark of the Covenant itself, with its sacred contents engorged with industrial sized tubs of…Uncle Donny ice cream. The only thing limiting my access was my mother who could only deign to keep me away. She couldn’t watch me the whole time! During the reunion, I spent a lot of time around that freezer.
To top if off, I used to own a Cold Stone Creamery before I went into medical school. Yes, for a short time, I was helping my fellow man go into nightly diabetic comas. But this was really good ice cream. Wow. The secret is the high butter fat content of their cream base…if you needed to know. I became an expert in ice cream where I was indoctrinated in what they literally called “Cold Stone University.” Ice cream is fun, but my conscious was the winner here. I thankfully escaped the burden of owning one of those chains after only a year and focused on becoming a naturopathic doctor. It was an interesting irony at the time, but a lesson in who I was and the attachment I seemingly had, and still have, to ice cream.
But why am I attached? Is it the ice cream itself? Is it the sugar? Is it the emotion and memories I have attached to ice cream and the indulgence in it? Is it my willingness to indulge for the sake of indulging, finding some truth in this act? Is it my need to change my physical and emotional state and how I was feeling at the time? Maybe it is all of them. In fact, I know it is. It always is all of them. There are obvious facts about this.
Why this blog entry today? I wanted to reveal to my readers that despite following a Traditional Diet and exercising vigorously and with years of experience and knowledge about human nutrition and behavior, I am human. I wanted you to know that if you have ever felt this way or experienced this before, you are not alone. I wanted to delve into my own experience a little more so I can understand it for myself and share it with you. I have some answers that I think could be helpful for all of us.
Tomorrow I will give you more to the story. We will talk about some answers to the questions I posed. Useful things. Fun things. Ice cream kind of fun…
Yours in (Indulgent) Health,