Just about everything we do today falls under somebody’s definition of “addiction.” Shopping, gambling, spending, drugs, alcohol, and last, but not least, food. Yes indeed, we are truly creatures of habit!

Many baffle over the years of why some addictions, over time, just seem to creep up on us….out of the blue we go from something that seems totally controllable to somewhere else, where our lives start to spin out of control. Addiction is all around us….could it be that one of the lessons of life is to find balance, control, and awareness? We are all, whether we care to admit it or not, truly addicts in one way or another, but one of the nastiest, unforgiving, relentless addictions of all is the one thing we can’t live without….Food.

The alcoholic, drug addict, shopaholic, can cease with their addictions if they just abstain. People must eat to live, and somewhere along the line we must find discipline and control over the food we consume, while never having the luxury of giving it up.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine, where we both thought it strange that society doesn’t really look at food as a drug….but as a pleasure and sometimes, a reward. As we get older, the food we choose to eat affects us more profoundly. Where in our youth we could have indulged the sweets and saltines to our heart’s content, by middle age we are warned of the continued affects they can have on our bodies. America today sits on the cusp of a diabetic explosion, making many feel that the diets they once could partake of are leaving them at a dead-end street. The second part of their lives, some are left having to re-learn new ways to eat. Unlike the alcoholic, most doctors will give a person a list of foods to avoid….but can a doctor tell a patient to give up food altogether? I don’t think so! Therein lies the comedy and tragedy of a food addiction…can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

I, too, am a self-confessed foodaholic. I love food…I enjoy all things about it…shopping for it, cooking it, eating it. There! I confess, like many, to enjoying every smell, taste, and sip. What seems to work for me to control my appetite is that I watch what I eat and once a week, I fast on liquids. I also walk about 25 minutes a day in the fresh air. The fasting, in some strange way, helps me re-set my taste buds each week. After a day of fasting I find I appreciate and control my intake of food better. Knowing I can’t live without food, I would rather that I control it, then it control me.

This essay is very meaningful to me….as I receive many emails from people telling me about their problems with diet and food. Obesity is turning into an epidemic…..surely it cannot be an accident. Perhaps the American love affair with food should be reduced to a lifetime friendship!

Bon Appetit!

Jennifer Avalon

© 2008 Jennifer Avalon

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