Confessions of an Addict

by Fat Daddy, Esq. on June 19, 2012

I have a confession, I’m an addict. It started early on in life but I only recently began to understand the impact of my condition. I don’t remember the first time I “used” but I know by college I was a full-fledged junkie. You might wonder how I kept this from my parents. The truth is I didn’t have to because they knew all about it—they were my original suppliers.

I don’t have ill feelings towards my parents, they didn’t fully understand what was going on. They were just trying to do the best as they knew how and I think the landscape changed without us realizing that the drugs were more available and more potent. Initially I had to rely on others, but by college I began to make my own. The materials were readily available and the internet made it easy to learn the process.

I am now trying to make a change and overcome the impulses that remain. I’ve been clean for a few months now, admittedly with a few slip-ups along the way. I am on the road to recovery but what scares me most is that I see my own children starting down that same path.

You see, the drug is food—more specifically processed food. Actually, Michael Pollan would say it is not food at all but rather edible foodlike substances. A drug is a substance that has a physiological effect when ingested. Doesn’t food have an effect on the body when ingested? Is it that far off to compare food to drugs? Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, claims that food can be as addictive as drugs.

There are some significant differences. Food is legal. Food, especially the really bad stuff, is readily available. And most importantly, food is necessary. I have managed to avoid ingesting any illicit drugs for over thirty years but I don’t remember the last day I went without eating. I am not against alcohol, but I am confident that I could function without ever imbibing alcohol again. I am equally confident I am going to eat within the next few hours.

And once again I will be tempted. Once again it will take a conscious effort to make a healthy decision, even if that decision is much less convenient given the food options usually available in our society. I’ve advocated rethinking fast food for some time now. And I’ve pondered if it’s crazy to envision a day where tasty, healthy food is readily available from a drive-thru. But until that time, I must make the best of what I have to work with.

In December I hit an all-time low, which was an all-time high in weight. I have been working on making positive changes for a couple of years but recently have really made progress. In January I built a treadmill desk which I can use at work. And at the end of April I began following a Primal/Paleo diet. I have eliminated all grains, legumes, and overall processed crap—mostly. I loosen the restrictions on Saturdays, a la Rule #5 of the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.

For my efforts I have lost 30 pounds and feel much better. I am still not where I want to be but the change has been dramatic. When you are not constantly ingesting highly processed, sugar-and-salt-laced substances your tastes change. Berries taste sweeter, vegetables taste better. It is amazing what a difference a few weeks makes. It took going through this detoxification process to realize the physical reaction I have to the wrong foods and to see that the right foods can be rewarding if given a chance.

My kids don’t sit around watching commercials for heroin or methamphetamine between cartoons, but they damn sure know what sugary breakfast items are available in our country. We do not buy these items, but what effect will this marketing have later in life when they are out on their own and just a few tastes can get you hooked? I can only hope the positive influence Hot Mama and I have tried to provide will be sufficient to overcome the barrage of ads trying to sway their thoughts.

Lately a study by Kendall J. Eskine has been reported which seems to show that exposure to organic food may make you more likely to act like a jerk. I admit that I may have caught a mild case of the jerk bug myself. It appears to be mostly dormant but does flare up from time to time.

For example, recently I attended a gathering where everyone made sure to say a blessing for the food which consisted of a variety of carb-loaded, sugar-laced, obviously-unhealthy-to-anyone-with-half-a-brain food. “Thank you Jesus for this horrible shit we are about to ingest in your name.” I’m paraphrasing.

Later I was at Wal-Mart, which has so many disgusting people grace its doors that there is a website devoted to posting pictures of some of the patrons, and after maneuvering past a morbidly obese shopper on a scooter I arrived at the check-out line behind another plump lady with a cart full of soda and chips. I admit when I looked into my cart full of fresh produce I had a twinge of superiority.

But then I caught myself, realizing that she too is an addict, and hoped that someday she could get clean.

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