The Sweet Side of Addiction
For years, I have blamed my penchant for Yankee Doodles and Devil Dogs on biology. Genetics are responsible for my inability to pass by the tray of brownies which holds center stage at every family gathering without eating two or three before dinner. Even as I avert my face, those moist little fudge-frosted mouthfuls call my name, "Donna. You know you want us. Don't fight the temptation. Give in." My hand shakes as I reach for the platter. Oh, the guilt! I stuff the first one into my mouth and reach for another. Brownies, I've learned, make great appetizers.
Easter is especially hard on me. My salivary glands start dripping right after the last caramel-filled square disappears from the box of Valentine's candy. Visions of solid dark chocolate bunnies and little foil wrapped eggs begin to haunt my waking hours. I would sell my soul to the devil for a few peanut butter or coconut-filled milk chocolate delights.
When my kids were small, they never believed that my lack of willpower was birth related. They just thought I was greedy and gluttonous. Every trip to the supermarket ended with me covered in cookie crumbs. While driving and pinned in place by the seatbelt, I would stretch my arm near out of its socket to dig through the grocery bags in search of the Mallomars.
Well, I've been vindicated. Based on a 2012 study from the Scripps Institute in Jupiter, my claim of genetic addiction now has some validation.
In a three year study of rats being fed nothing but a high-calorie, high-fat junk food diet, it was determined that cupcakes and cookies have the same effect on the brain as cocaine -- the release of dopamine D2 receptors. Dopamine is the chemical the brain releases in response to enjoyable experiences such as eating chocolate and having sex.
Since it's already been proven that some people are born with addictive personalities, and chocolate is an addictive substance, what further proof could be required. I'm a junk food junkie!
In reading the Scripps research, I discovered something else the rats and I have in common. When given the option of healthy food, the rats chose death by starvation rather than live life without their Ding Dongs. I understand exactly how they felt. Told that I would have to spend the rest of my life without enjoying an Almond Joy or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, I, too, would choose to die.
It should be noted that the rats gained weight much as I have over the years. However, unlike me, they don't really care about their expanding waistlines. They will never know the embarrassment of having to lie on the floor to zip their jeans.
With the refrigerator empty of turkey leftovers that had been turned into variations of its former self and with Christmas less than a month away, I’m beginning to sense an old familiar stirring in the recesses of my mind. Dancing in my head are dreams of… no, not sugarplums… dark chocolate-coated bonbons wrapped in silver and gold paper. Packaged in a bright red box and tied with a green bow they are my personal and tasty reminder that the season of joy to the world is upon us.
I just checked the Hoffman’s website. They are open until 8:00 pm tonight. It’s a good bet that those beautifully decorated boxes of bonbons will be on display in the middle of the store. If they aren’t, I’m certain that whatever chocolate pumpkins and turkeys are left over from Halloween and Thanksgiving will be on sale. They will satisfy my cravings until the bonbons are ready.
Now all I have to do is find a solution to the article published in a recent issue of the Journal of American Medicine. Said article recommended that women exercise at least an hour a day to minimize weight gain as they age. I hate exercise! If I park my car on the PGA Boulevard side of the Garden Square mall and walk to Hoffman’s, isn’t that just as good… maybe, better… than going to the gym? Me thinks, yes.
Warning to Hoffman’s employees: I’ve been known to stand outside the store with my nose pressed to the window until the holiday chocolates are put out for display. Don’t be afraid. I’m a danger to no one but myself. My presence is a compliment to the chocolatier working diligently somewhere in the recesses of the store.
And, if for some obscure reason, management isn’t happy with my daily presence, they can get a restraining order. Over the years, I’ve learned that the paper restraining orders are printed on makes an excellent napkin with which to wipe my mouth when the almond bark I keep in my pocketbook starts to melt in the lingering heat of a lost summer.
Ahhh, Christmas! You can’t get here quick enough!