I am struggling with grocery store food.
My tentative and gradual re-introduction to store-bought food switched to full-on immersion two weeks ago when we left the Yukon and headed to a cottage in southern Canada.
The transition was not easy.
First, there is the psychological component. For one year I quite successfully convinced my brain that food from afar is off limits. This remains my knee-jerk reaction and it has been difficult to give myself permission to try it.
I expected the re-introduction to a wide variety of new foods would be a taste explosion. But it hasn’t been. Things taste exactly how I remember them, and it’s not all that satisfying. Maybe it’s a sign that my local food is pretty darn flavourful in its own right! Smells are tantalizing, but the tastes often don’t live up to the smell. Sugar has been the craziest phenomenon. Things I used to love, now taste sickly sweet. I get the same ‘I don’t feel so good’ feeling after one bite of a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie that I used to get overindulging on six of them. It astounds me that, once upon a time, my body felt that six cookies worth of sugar consumption was totally reasonable.
Salt creeps up on me in surprising places. Store bought bread is too salty, as is butter and cheese. But a nacho chip tastes like it should. Despite the saltiness, bread products taste incredibly bland. It hasn’t all been disappointing. I reclaimed a love for the avocado. I was able to indulge in sushi again, which is as delicious as it used to be. Fresh local southern fruit such as peaches and concord grapes were definitely a treat and fresh-from-the-field Ontario corn is as sweet as candy.
However, on the ‘grocery store food diet,’ I was often hungry and never quite satisfied. I found myself longing for some of my old staples. I started poaching myself eggs for breakfast so I didn’t have to suffer through a bowl of cereal or another baked good. One sip of wine literally went straight to my head. Water and milk were really the only drinks I could tolerate. The once-loved Sanpellegrino tasted way too sweet. Dilution became my friend. A couple of tablespoons of the Sanpellegrino added to a tall glass of sparkling water felt like a reasonable treat.
Gradually my tolerance for sugar and carbs started to increase. Popsicles didn’t seem to bother me and two pieces of chocolate no longer made me feel sickly. I couldn’t handle a butter tart but a Tim Horton’s old fashioned plain donut was going down quite easily and left me craving another.
Before my body adjusts back to old habits, I want to put on the brakes. I’ve just returned home and am looking forward to eating local foods again. I believe my body is telling me something when half a cookie makes me feel sick. Surely it can’t be good to consume as much sugar and carbs as I once did. Today I stood on the scale. No change in my weight, but there is a new roll around my middle that I’m not so happy with. So don’t get too used to sugar, oh pancreas of mine – we’re going back to local Dawson food!