“Don't buy peaches this week; they aren’t lasting very long and half the basket is going out to the recycling bin.” My husband and I were discussing the weekly trip to the grocery store. The peaches were so delicious this year, dripping with juice and peachy sweet. I could have eaten them all day; with one exception, a dry, tasteless peach that left more disappointment than satisfaction.
Despite the fact that the peach growing season is coming to a close and the quality is shrinking, I decided to buy a basket of peaches. They looked delicious and thankfully, not too ripe. They should last for the remainder of the week. Unfortunately, the next morning, I was disappointed. My lovely peach was hard; my front two teeth didn't even break the skin. Immediately I knew my eating plan for the week in jeopardy.
One of the earliest discoveries in the cognitive behavior therapy sessions was realizing that if the food I eat doesn't taste good I eat additional food to make up for the lack of taste. Fruit is usually the common culprit in this scenario. But, it can also be triggered when eating new/different foods, or when a dish is prepared differently for some reason. (This is another draw to processed food – I know what to expect, the taste and texture is always the same.)
An example: I decide to eat an orange because it’s a sweet, juicy fruit and a healthy food choice. However, instead of a juicy sweet orange, all I taste is the thick membrane, dry and tasteless pulp, and it’s overflowing with seeds. After eating the orange, anxiety-induced hunger washes over urging me to the convenience store (at work) or the pantry (at home). I’m unsatisfied, and the need for satisfaction grows. I head to Shoppers Drug Mart and buy a bag of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, head back to my desk and slowly sneak chocolates for the next hour or two until the package is empty.
My therapist and I talked about this situation – the need for all food to taste good - pointed out that sometimes food is not going to taste as good. I have to keep in mind that it is just food and when the anxiety hunger comes I have to sit with it and resist the urge to eat to make up for the lack of taste. After all, another meal and another opportunity to acquire the taste satisfaction are only two to three hours away.
As for the peaches, they have ripened slightly for the past five days. I ate one while writing this post, utterly disappointed that there was no juice and only a hint of taste. But, I’m living with the disappointment and sitting with the anxiety. My anxiety level has been up and down this week since the oranges I picked up have also been tasteless.
Apples may not be the most exciting fruit, but it is a consistent choice. It’s easy to spot the tasty from the tasteless. If only the tasty oranges, melons, peaches, pears and plums were as easy to spot.