Anyone who knows me knows that I have incredible ability to put away gobs of ice cream in a single sitting. Lactose intolerance, be damned. I never have been able to figure out why I can’t stop myself from shoving in the creamy good stuff, not stopping until I hit the bottom of the carton. It’s strange but while I’m scooping away I’ve always felt that something in my brain clicks off and all eat-right bets are off.
This morning I received the explanation of my binging ways, courtesy of the UT Southwestern Medical Center PR department.
Apparently researchers at this institution have found that fat we eat—specifically palmitic acid, which is found in foods such as butter, cheese, milk and beef—travels to the brain and causes a communication break down between our cells and the hormones leptin and insulin, which suppress appetite. The bottom line: Our whole brain chemistry can change just by eating something delicious. These fatty acids make us resistant to the every mechanism that tells us not to overeat.
Ah-ha! That clicking in the brain wasn’t just my imagination. Thank you for clearing that up.
For some reason, I haven’t been the gung ho grocery shopper that I am normally. It could be that I’m not cooking as much. But I have been living on the following foods:
1. FAGE Greek Yogurt. (I’ve mentioned this recently) This thick creamy Greek yogurt is my favorite—happens to be Baby A’s too. I finally got M. to ditch the overly sugared crap for it and now, with a bit of honey, it’s his favorite too.
2. Zen Muffins, preferrably the raspberry/blueberry oat variety. These are high fiber, naturally sweet, and vegan. I started eating these for breakfast when I commuted 40 miles on the 405 freeway to work. They’re the perfect car breakfast.
3. Yogurt cheese. M. discovered this cheese at Trader Joe’s. It’s dairy without the lactose-induced issues. Best part is that it melts well.
4. Almond Butter. I could eat freshly ground nut butter by the spoonful. This is childhood on a spoon for me. The Scottsdale Whole Foods offers to grind almonds with chocolate. Yum! Especially when served on a toasted whole wheat bagel (that’s still warm) topped with raspberry whole fruit spread or bananas.
5. Ice Cream. I think this post says it best.
Ben & Jerry are my favorite summer cooks. Their ice cream always hit the spot. If I want something gooey I reach for Light Phish Food; craving cheesecake, it’s ONE Cheesecake Brownie; or have a taste for peanut butter, it’s Peanut Butter Cup. And when I was pregnant, I had dreams about Neapolitan Dynamite.
In truth, I could live on ice cream. Not what a someone who makes her living writing about exercising and eating right should admit to, but there is something in me that can’t say no to the creamy frozen stuff. Apparently I am not alone in this indulgence. Americans consume about 15 quarts of ice cream per person per year—that’s 27,840 calories (which could translate into 8 additional pounds)!
But this admission gets worse: once I start, I don’t know when to stop. I can easily polish off a pint in one sitting. This has gotten me into trouble. In my 20s, I gained 40 pounds thanks to my two-pint-a-day habit. (Ben & Jerry aided that addiction with their Chubby Hubby flavor.)
Now a days, I try to keep ice cream out of the house. But every once in awhile on a warm night when I don’t feel like cooking, I go to my grocery’s freezer section to pick up an indulgent dinner.
Next time you’re craving cake and ice cream, head to local Cold Stone Creamery and pick up their cupcakes (http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/promos/sweet_treat_cupcakes/). In my opinion, they’re the perfect blend of this dynamo dessert duo. Yum!