Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Winning the fight against food allergies

food allergy recipes
Trashy, sickly, beautiful
I'm reading a VERY interesting book about habit loops and willpower.  'The Power of Habit' by Charles Duhigg.  You should buy it, it's fascinating.  

In one part - oh and please don't be thinking that this is a proper book review - an experiment is described about testing willpower.

It's radishes for you
All participants are put in a room with a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies and a bowl of radishes.  One half of the participants is told they may not eat the radishes and they can only eat the cookies.  

The other half?  Only radishes for you and don't you dare touch the cookies.

For 30 minutes, there was pleasure in one room and pain in the other.

Then - and this was the real point - the participants were asked to perform a seemingly simple test.  Draw around a diagram without lifting the pen off the page.  Actually it was impossible to do it.

But the group that had just stuffed their faces with cookies and were happy, warm and fuzzy, had a damned good go at it.  Again and again they tried, until they were told to stop.

The grumpy radish eaters?  They were NOT happy.  Grumbling, whining, can't be bothered with this, why did I volunteer for this anyway?  You get the picture.

Newsflash: Your willpower gets weary
Conclusion?  Willpower is exhaustible.  

The group that hadn't been using their willpower - the cookie lot - were more than happy to have a go at a difficult thing.  Course they were, they were all chilled, full of cookies and feeling fine.

Radish eaters?  They'd just lived through agony resisting the cookies and they definitely didn't have any willpower left in the tank.

I like this experiment a lot.  It vindicates my marshmallow willpower. 

I spend SO MUCH TIME being strong about stuff (umm, getting four kids to school, not shouting too much, baking) that it is perfectly understandable that at some hurdles, I stumble, trip and eat Betty Crocker frosting straight from the tub.

Betty Crocker's Vanilla Icing from a tub. Oh yeah
Ha! You see where I was going all along?  This stuff is amazing people!  And I mean amazing in a food allergies context, not in a nutritional context.  It is free from all the nasties (it does have a 'may contain milk' disclaimer) and it can be kept in the fridge.  Yes, it contains industrial amounts of toxic sugary stuff, but this week I really don't care. 

So when the school does a cake sale and you remember at 8am that you were supposed to make cake for your child with allergies so she doesn't feel left out...just grab some Betty Crocker magic, smear it on a biscuit, add sprinkles and Bob is definitely your uncle.

We are winning the war on allergies friends!  One trashy, beautiful product at a time.  


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8 comments:

Bibbity Bobbity Boo said...

I dipped strawberries in this stuff once. Practically healthy. ;)

dairyfreebabyandme said...

This stuff has definitely grown on me! Didn't like it to begin with, but oh! how wonderful to find stuff like this that is dairy free! Great way to top a carrot cake. Still couldn't eat it on its own though!

Recipe Junkie said...

I an very much liking your style. i don't have to deal with allergies, but I know that horrible last minute what can I cobble together thing - when all my 'high & mighty' food principles fly out of the window.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

BBB, genius! One of your five a day as well :-)

DFB&M, ooo yes, on carrot cake that would be fab. There's a chocolate fudge version too, it's on my list!

RJ alas, my high and mighty food principles left by the back door a long time ago. Nesquik on toast? :-)

kellie@foodtoglow said...

I can't bring myself to eat canned frosting - I don't like sugar *that* much and as a cancer health educator/nutritionist I would be found out, wouldn't I? - but I do like your what-the-heck approach. And love the experiment. I must try and get that book. PS My downfall is anything salty: wave a tortilla chip under my nose and watch me jump!

heavenisabookstore said...

When I was in college, my roommate and I would hang out on the couch in the late evenings dipping graham crackers in the frosting cup. YUM!

Iota said...

But surely the logical conclusion would be that radishes diminish your ability to draw.

Poker Chick said...

I love the stuff for the same reason. I shudder thinking of the ingredients, but it's what it DOESN'T contain that's the selling point. Oh, and it's damn good in between two cookies.

As for the willpower thing, that's a fascinating and not surprising test. I've read the same thing about decision-making; that it's a finite ability. Specifically, the study said that women make many more little decisions by the afternoon than men, partly as mothers, partly because of the female tendency to multi-task (or multi-think) more, such that they make bad decisions by the end of the day or just shut down screaming "la la la la la" like I do with fingers in my ears.

Either way, the "sleep on it" advice people have been giving for years sure makes sense now!