Greed, and How to Eat Less

I like food.  Under the approving eye of my pseudo-Epicurean wife, I have been moving from the category of 'trencherman' to that of 'connoisseur', but nevertheless, among the Deadly Sins, greed is an issue for me.

And, as with all sins, I don't want to be enslaved to it.

How can I be free?

Don't know about your motives, but I eat for several reasons, including nutrition, enjoyment, communion, escapism ('comfort-eating'), and boredom.  The first three are decent motives, and the last two probably not – eating for the good of the body, the good of the soul, and the good of community is clearly the way to go.  But none of these motives are greed itself.  Greed is the unsated, never-truly-satisfied use of food (or anything) to fill us up, to make us feel whole.  It's a vain pursuit, and commonly (but not always) leads to addiction.  

The Roundhead in me wants to evade greed by chaste pietism and asceticism – mortifying the flesh – while the Cavalier wants to affirm that every good gift is from God, and that to avoid enjoying them is ungratefulness and heresy.  Both are right.

So that's my theology sorted.  But I'm still eating too much.

And it's at this point that I realise that in my right-brained desire to have a thoughtful, contemplative discussion about everything, I've forgotten some basic nuts-and-bolts.  Whilst thinking through the concept of greed, I have omitted the fact that I never set out to eat or drink excessively – I just get nibbly, and one nibble leads to another.  Rather than focus on my fallen, sinful gluttony, I need to go to a physiological level and stop my nibblyness.

These are my resulting conclusions, helping me, in the last few weeks, to eat less:

i. Eat Eggs for Breakfast.
If I choose, say, porridge in the morning, my desire for a little smackerel of something at 11ish is overwhelming.  But if I eat eggs, I don't get nibbly until early-afternoon.  It's to do with the absorption of leptin, but you knew that.

ii. Snack on Meat.
If I open a bag of crisps, I pretty much always finish it, and still feel nibbly afterwards, and reach for something else.  But if I nibble dried meat (I like chorizo myself), this spiral is avoided.

iii. Drink Rather than Eat.
A lot of 'hunger' is actually thirst; so drink.  And drink good stuff: ale, cider, water, wine, tea. 

iv. Avoid moreish stuff.
Biscuits, popcorn, crisps, chips, bombay mix, chocolate. Sidestep that blood-sugar spike etc.etc.

That's where I've got to so far.



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