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

The House 2008

This week we look forward to the start of a new year, untouched, like a slate that is unmarked and clean, just waiting for us to paint our thoughts and impressions onto it. Many of us will start to compile a list of New Year resolutions….setting goals for 2008. For a lot of us, by the end of January many of those goals start to unravel, and we become discouraged, wondering why we should continue on the course that looked so bright at the beginning.

I think if we approach the New Year with a different perspective and keep a symbol or image in our minds it may be easier to stay focused and navigate the road ahead. I approach the New Year as a builder, a person who sees a piece of land, and the possibilities that can come forth. I look at the formulation of my goals, hopes, and dreams as a house….a beautiful shining building that by the end of the year I can be proud of. A builder needs tools, not just hammers and nails but Faith, encouragement, conviction and the belief that when you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

In January we start the foundation….we make sure it is strong and has the potential to hold what we place upon it. We make sure there are no cracks. Each proceeding month we add to our house….floor by floor we put in the plumbing, the electrical wiring, the heating system, etc. Sometimes we make mistakes, one room may not be wired right, so we go back, repair the damage and continue on. By the Spring, we see that our house is off the ground and rising. The contributions we have made to our house are beginning to show. People pass by and are amazed how “fast” the house is starting to come together….but little do they see the problems that we encountered to get to our level. So on we go, each day building brick by brick with the sky above us…..and with each brick a feeling of accomplishment comes over us and a better understanding of the mistakes we have made so that we try not to make them again. God looks down and sees a person trying to push forward with a house of meaning and purpose. A badly built house with a weak foundation won’t stand very long….but a good house can last forever. God understands how hard it is to built good houses.

By the Fall, our floors are completed, and we are about to add our roof. We want a roof that will not leak, that can take the elements. If we have done all our work and done it well, by the end of the year we will be standing in front of a house amazed that we were able to accomplish this once monumental task. We look at each brick and floor and see a story. We see the set-backs and the over comings. It is possible to build a good house, God willing, with the right tools, and determination…….All things are possible.

Good Luck with your house,

love, Jennifer Avalon

© 2008 Jennifer Avalon