Is It Live or Is It Memorex?

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Anyone remember those ads or am I truly dating myself here? My recent visits to a vegan restaurant and comments from a friend on my consumption of a diet soda got me thinking. Is it better to have a substitute when you can’t eat the real thing? I’m talking purely taste, craving, and enjoyment-wise, not from the health or moral aspects that come along with the choice to eat vegan or avoid artificial sweeteners. In today’s world, there is a substitute for all kinds of foods. You can easily replace sugar, fat, meats, and so on. Technology is a grand thing.

Since my mother is a vegetarian, I’ve had some exposure in the past to meat substitutes. I’ve often pondered the concept of a meatless burger, meatless hot dogs, meatless meat crumbles. Spiral Diner uses cute names on their menu for their “bacun” bits, tofurkey, and such and their place is loaded with whole, all natural substitutes for animal pieces. These are healthy foods, not preservative laden chemicals. But… if you like the real version, is it worth it to eat the fake if you can’t eat the real anymore or does it just make you want the real thing more? Is your brain spinning with that tongue twister?

As a figure competitor wannabe, there are plenty of foods that used to be eaten in mass quantity but now are just a distant memory. Cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream. You get the idea. There are kind folk out there who have come up with substitutes for our enjoyment that I can actually have often. For example, ice cream craving hits, and I can have an entire pint of Arctic Zero in one sitting for less than 150 calories. Slurp! It’s pretty tasty and I like it. I could also fit it in my meal plan pretty  much daily and not ruin things. I’ve found that it’s best for me to not give in to cravings for the most part because it keeps the craving alive.

Interesting concept, huh. It’s a vicious cycle for me. Craving for a cookie hits, I eat a low calorie/low sugar cookie, craving still there. Eat another, not gone yet. Eat half the box. Truthfully the same thing happens with real cookies too but the calorie damage is much worse. I’d rather avoid feeding the cravings so the craving just dies out. Ride out that wave until calm waters are reached.

I think in the old days, that’s what everyone did. They couldn’t fit the high calorie, bad for you treats in so they didn’t eat them at all when the craving hit. I bet after a while they didn’t crave them anymore. Out of mouth, out of mind. Today you can fit a faux version into your plan so zillions of people now do that. Nice little paradox caused by the advancement of civilization.

Which side of the fence do you fall on? Can you give into your cravings and have them go away with a little bit of the real thing or a faux version? Or do you just have to bite the bullet and avoid both completely?

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