Nina’s Story: A Different Kind of Happy

My appetite was a total idiot. The day I arrived at Suppers we read about the concept of “appetite foolishness.” We spent the hour talking about the trouble we’re in because our appetites made us feel that real food is bland and boring and junk food is delicious and fun.

Before coming to Suppers, I thought I just liked what I liked. I never thought that my love of “white food” was a sign that something in my body was broken, or that it might mean something that I cared for chocolate and coffee more than for most of my friends.

I’m always getting urges to eat something that changes how I feel. Doesn’t everybody? Doesn’t everybody eat something to wake up, cheer up, celebrate, and calm down? I do. I never thought in terms of eating “to solve an immediate problem at the expense of creating a bigger problem over time.” But I can see that’s what I’ve been doing. My relationship with processed food has led to overweight, bad moods, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, low self-esteem, and chronic embarrassment. It’s embarrassing to live in a body that craves junk and feels indifferent to fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s as if the part of my brain that knows what’s good for me isn’t connected to the part of my brain that decides what I’m going to eat. I guess that’s where automatic choices come in. It was time for me to start using a different part of my brain to make eating decisions.

There have been some pleasant surprises on the Suppers table. The salad dressings have been delicious and satisfying; nobody tells me how much olive oil to use. There are several people in the group who love Indian food as much as I do, and we learned how to make mouth-watering curries. In tomato season we must have tried at least seven different recipes for fresh salsa, all good.

Foods that have flavor are making me a different kind of happy. They are delicious, and I’m pleased with myself for eating them. While I’m a little sad that they don’t fix anything for me except to satisfy normal hunger, at least now I recognize what normal hunger is. Before Suppers, my appetite was too stupid to know.