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Surgeon general’s warning: Contains food

Back when I was fat I used to lament the fact that I would always have to eat. Smokers could throw out all their cigarettes and alcoholics could empty their liquor cabinets, but I was always going to have to eat. It didn’t seem fair at all. Giving up the source of my problem seemed a lot better than trying to manage it.

Now that I’ve got my eating under control, I’ve realized I’ve got it so much better than the reformed crack whores and nicotine addicts of the world. I still get to eat! Recovering alcoholics can’t even go to a wine tasting, but if I decided I’d really like to eat half a pumpkin pie covered in whipped cream, I can still do that.

Sometimes though, I make dangerous food discoveries. When I made my vagina muff-ins I discovered a low-calorie, low-carb fruit spread that was delicious. I bought a couple jars in different flavors to eat on the bread I bake every other weekend. Funny how I ended up eating most of it off of a spoon. I don’t recall seeing a stainless-steel bread mix in my cookbook.

I should have remembered my dysfunctional love for jams and jellies which I had discovered as a child at Bob Evans or any similar family sit-down restaurant. I would grab one flavor each of the rectangular plastic packets of jellies and preserves settled in the metal rack in the center of the table. Then I’d peel pack the foil, stick my finger in and lick it dry. I don’t think I even realized I was supposed to spread this stuff on something that wasn’t part of my hand. I’ve since had to ban the preserves from my fridge. Delicious or not, they are obviously too much for me to handle outside of a square pre-packaged portion.

My other dangerous food revelation came in the pudding aisle. My grocer was entirely out of the instant pudding, so I bought a box of cook and serve instead. I went through the whole process of boiling the milk and stirring for five minutes, poured the concoction in my glass Pyrex bowl and waited a couple hours for it to set, all the time lamenting the slacker stock boys at Kroger. Then I got a spoon and served up some of the dessert to be hit with a creamy taste explosion. Cook and serve is sooo much better than instant! The texture is creamier and the skin that I used to hate as a kid I now find somewhat appealing. I ended up eating the whole bowl. The cook and serve has slightly less calories than the instant, but that calorie deficit seems irrelevant if I’m scarfing the whole batch and taking a cue from my cat by licking the bowl clean with my tongue. I considered banning the cook and serve pudding as well, but I’m just going to try to keep my portions under control because it’s too tasty.

Dangerous foods or not, I do love eating and I’m glad I haven’t had to give it up.

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jen • April 6, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Cook and serve pudding is the best. In my family, a favorite pie is the chocolate kind poured in a pie shell with whipped cream on top. Makes me drool just to think about it.


Deirdre • April 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm

No sugar added ice cream. Yes, it’s low fat and low sugar, but I don’t think I’m supposed to eat the whole thing at once. It only comes into the house for birthday parties. When it’s gone, and that seems to happen very quickly, it’s stays gone.


Mark • April 6, 2007 at 1:56 pm

I think one problem is that you’re buying packaged pudding mixes in the first place. Mark Bittman’s big yellow cookbook has a good section on puddings and custards made from scratch from fresh ingredients. It’s not that hard or time consuming. It’s the Bisquick syndrome: people assume that convenience foods are more convenient and faster, when they often aren’t.


PastaQueen • April 6, 2007 at 2:18 pm

I actually did make my own pasta sauce this week with an eggplant, though I used canned tomatoes so maybe that disqualifies me. Maybe if I could chop quicker I’d be more game to do that, but I go slow because I’m afraid I’m going to lose a thumb.


Alicia • April 6, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Mmmmm pudding. I am living in Scotland at the moment and it’s difficult to find instant pudding (actually I’ve never found it). I had such a craving so I made pudding from scratch. SOOO freakin’ good. I made chocolate and added some almond extract. I have no idea calorie wise how they compare, but it was fantastic!


Debbi • April 6, 2007 at 2:39 pm

As a recovering alcoholic, I would submit that I still drink … but I limit my beverages to water, sugar-free soda and coffee, rather than gin or Scotch. I’m glad I’m not a drug addict either. Heh.


Tracy • April 6, 2007 at 2:40 pm

LOL – I used to think I needed a cold-turkey diet that somehow didn’t involve starvation! I really like your insight that now you have it better than any addict, that you still get to eat, but that you have it under control. I don’t feel like I’m quite there yet with sugar and cheese, so I’m going to hold off a bit before testing it.

You are still going so strong with your blog. It’s a highlight among all the blogs I read. Thanks!


Flora • April 6, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Heh, glad I’m not the only pudding fiend out there.

My worst downfall, though, is cheese. Especially when there’s bread around to go with it. I could give up chocolate way before cheese.


marygrace • April 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm

as far as eating too much yummy pudding at once, after you make the batch, you could portion it in individual little glasses to keep from eating it all. portioning things out ahead of time usually helps me form overeating, as i’m less inclined to have more if i can actually see that i am having a whole other serving.


Chris H • April 6, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Some foods are certainly NO NO’s for me, I have no control over how much I eat.. like pizza last night…BAD BAD me. So in a way, it is like having to give up something for life… like an addict… giving up PIGGING OUT ! If you ever read my blog (I have no idea ?), could you pop over there …. I have put a question up, can you answer it?


LunaBella • April 6, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Love your blog!

I’m a fiend for any kind of creamy goodness– pudding, creme brulee, flan, you name it. Dividing it up into individual servings doesn’t work for me unless I freeze the rest of it so that I absolutely can’t get at it without some planning.

I’ve also had the thought about how much easier it would be to just be able to avoid food altogether; I’m kind of an ‘all-or-nothing’ personality, which makes moderation tough. Sounds like you’ve really gotten to a calm and peaceful place with your eating.

Thanks for the thoughtful posts and the inspiration!


Lose Weight With Me • April 6, 2007 at 10:17 pm

I’m glad we get to eat, too…food is meant to be enjoyed. There is no reason at all that we can’t lose weight AND enjoy our food.



BigGuns • April 6, 2007 at 10:28 pm

I always “justify” the sugar-free Jell-O pudding by adding a scoop or two of whey protein. That way it’s not just “pudding,” it’s PROTEIN pudding. :)


Ty • April 6, 2007 at 10:33 pm

I struggle with it being ok that I like to eat, that I like food. I’ve viewed food as the enemy for so long.


eileen • April 6, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Third or fourthing the comment on homemade pudding. it’s basically just cooked milk and cornstarch with sugar and flavoring.

But…Can you get tembleque where you are? It’s a puerto rican stovetop-cooked coconut-flavored pudding. It is delicious!


nina • April 7, 2007 at 12:55 am

I agree that cook and serve is miles better than instant. But at this time of year, you should DEFINITELY be using canned tomatoes rather than fresh. You’ll get a very weak sauce out of fresh in April. Just make sure you find canned tomatoes that don’t have too much salt added, or any corn syrup added. Blech.


lulu • April 7, 2007 at 8:04 am

Anyone in Scotland (or England or Wales)craving American packet mixes: try Cyber Candy (sorry, don’t know how to do the link, but you can Google it). They carry Jell-O, Duncan Hines cakes and frostings, lots of other sweet and savoury foods, and all sorts of candy and chocolate. The Covent Garden store mainly stocks candy. Part of me wishes I had not found out about this.


psychsarah • April 7, 2007 at 4:04 pm

My best friend and I were discussing this exact issue last weekend, but sadly, we are less evolved that you, Pastaqueen! We were still lamenting the fact that we could not give up food cold turkey. I really liked your re-framing of this idea. I have treated patients who could no longer eat (they received their nutrition through tubes) and it really is a loss of pleasure and ritual. Thanks again for bringing great insight and humour to the drudgery of trying to lose weight and be healthy!


Mymsie • April 8, 2007 at 2:52 am

Your low-cal/low-carb fruit spread is my peanut butter. *drool* I simply can’t have it in the house!


Melissa • April 8, 2007 at 4:46 am

Pastaqueen – Will you publish your bread recipe? Or is it from a pre-made mix? I am curious to what you use. I am thinking about starting the SBD, and bread is my downfall. I do have a bread machine and like to make healthy bread. Would love to know what works for you. Thanks!


PastaQueen • April 9, 2007 at 11:48 pm

Melissa – Here’s the recipe from my bread mixer book:

1 1/3 cups water

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

I just dump all that into the breadmaker and let it run. Takes about three and a half hours.


Melissa • April 10, 2007 at 3:03 am

Excellent – Thanks for the recipe! I am going to give it a shot tomorrow. Yum!


AutopatriotCar • May 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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