Thursday, September 9, 2010

Forbidden Food

We are so hung up about what is forbidden, that we forget to enjoy ourselves. When I was a kid, forbidden things were like “don’t talk to strangers”...don’t eat candy from strangers....and on it you think we remembered and did what we were told?  No!
When the Mr. Softee ice cream truck came rolling down my street, playing its sweet jingle and I bolted down the stairs of my three story walk up, the only warning I got from my mom was, “Look before you cross the street!” I was allowed to indulge in any ice cream that Mr. Softee sold. My favorite was the chocolate ice cream cone dipped in chocolate sauce that would harden. It was fun, there was no pressure, just pure enjoyment.... 
A few years ago, I made ice cream my forbidden food. And it wasn’t because I was afraid of gaining weight....I’m lactose intolerant and if I eat too much, as in everyday, I suffer the consequences....bloating and feeling crummy. Not fun.....So where does the forbidden part come into play? I don’t remember the exact moment when it started but there I was....diving for Haagen Daz’s dulce de leche. I would be strolling down the supermarket aisles getting closer to the refrigerated case where the ice cream is kept and talking to myself in my head. I'd be saying, “NO, you can’t have ice cream, you know how it makes you feel after.”.....“Well if you buy the small one, it’s ok, plus you can share it.”  Guess which won out?....As soon as I was home, I would grab a spoon and dig for all the caramel not the ice cream because in my mind, I wouldn’t feel bad after...since I wasn’t really eating the ice cream. I’d be there in the kitchen kind of hiding, digging for all the caramel...smashing the ice cream from side to side in search for the gooey, sticky, syrupy sweet dulce de leche. Let’s just say that smashed up ice cream, that’s refrozen does not look appetizing or the slightest bit inviting to anyone else other than the one who did the smashing. Nobody wanted to share...oh well, more for me!.......which had been my intention all along.
Around the same time, I was taking a self growth course. One of the exercises was designed to “out” yourself and your forbidden food. Instead of eating your forbidden food in the corner of your kitchen with the lights out while everyone is sleeping, we were to invite “it” to the table in broad daylight....ok, how? The facilitator of the program asked us to pick a spot on our bodies and place the forbidden food there...and fully experience the food...its taste, smell and texture as we very slowly licked, nibbled and sucked it off our body. WHAT?!....was she crazy? How does she expect me to do that with ice cream?....  
Just thinking about it made me feel exposed and silly but then I thought, why not? I have an “open mind,” I’m willing to try things once. I started sitting at the table but that didn’t seem fitting...I moved over to the cool granite counter, I looked around to see if anyone was watching me, impossible since no one was home...I scooped a bit of ice cream and before it melted I placed it on my forearm, no easy feat...I closed my eyes and took my time just as the exercise had demanded, after I was done, I was laughing, smiling, in awe that a simple exercise like the one I had just done, had such a euphoric effect....Interesting? The one teaspoon of ice cream had been enough. While I was reflecting on what I had just done, my cell was my then newly minted boyfriend....I tried to sound as “normal” as possible, a bit hard while smiling from ear to ear....I had a yummy secret! He could tell something was up by hearing my voice, he’s professionally trained to notice these things....and if I lied, he could tell that too....So, I came clean and told him. He was more intrigued than shocked and wanted to see for himself but I told him that the exercise was done for my benefit and I wouldn’t be repeating it...maybe.
Fast forward to a week later.....I had completely forgotten about the whole ice cream thing. We were out to dinner, the waiter comes around and asks if we want dessert. He looks at me and says, “how about ice cream?” Huh? cream?...oh ice cream..oh no! Are you kidding? NO WAY!..WHAT?!....well, if I’m doing it purely for my enjoyment...what am I saying?!, oh screw it, ok. All these thoughts were running through my mind with the facial expressions to match....

Regaining my composure, I asked the waiter if he could bring chocolate syrup and strawberries with the ice cream. I looked around the restaurant and as far as I could see, there were no other customers in our section...was I really going to do this?! Oh yeah....the waiter comes back, places the ice cream between us, I notice that they’re three strawberries and a dollop of chocolate syrup. Come on! Did they run out or what? The waiter is about to leave when my BF tells him, “you should see what she does with ice cream? Before I had time to react, the waiter pulls out the chair across from me, sits down and says, “ok, I’m ready.” WHAT???!!!! He’s so dead!...I can not believe he just told the waiter and the waiter is sitting across from me while my BF sits next to me with a huge grin on his face. Fine, I can do this! And I’m going to enjoy every minute of it, ha!...I take a deep calming breathe, scoop a very small amount of the already melting ice cream, place it on the top of my right wrist and close my eyes. I cleared every thought in my mind and any noise around me, it was just me and the decadent, creamy rich ice cream which I slowly licked and sucked until there was not even a drop left on my wrist. I wasn’t trying to recreate an adult film scene, I wasn’t looking for approval, I did it for my enjoyment. It was more of a challenge to myself...being able to enjoy myself no matter where or with whom I’m with....When I was finally done, I slowly opened my eyes and looked at my rapt and speechless audience. All the waiter could do was get up and leave...quickly returning with a huge plate of strawberries and a saucer full of chocolate syrup, as a bonus. He also told us, we didn’t have to give him a tip, that watching me was tip enough and then he invited us to visit him in Italy for the summer.
I can honestly say that after that, I didn’t feel the need to have ice cream in the house and shortly after...I gladly gave up ice cream made out of dairy. It was just not worth having my body complain about it.
Unless, it’s harmful to us and/or detrimental to our health, why stop ourselves from fully enjoying our favorite “forbidden foods” in small quantities. The more we avoid something, the more we are drawn to it and the more it comes at us full force. Why “fight” it, embrace it instead, you may no longer find your self craving it as much or even at all. So, go and experiment with yourself or a partner, just be careful where you put the “food” don’t want to end up in the EMERGENCY ROOM!...explaining to the nurses and doctors why you’re there.....but if you do end up in the ER, please share the story with me! I promise I won’t post it, unless you give me permission
Cravings come in many forms. Recently, I was craving human touch in the masculine form, a platonic hug to be precise....I got something even better!....tell you next time....

in love and pleasure,
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