Carbs in my pocket

Chocolate Muffin and a Cappuccino coffee.

“I’ll give you $1.75 and that’s it!” I prepared to walk away and wanted to make sure that she saw it in my eyes and felt it in my posture. I took a step towards my car as if to leave.

“Oh, ok!” As I handed her one paper dollar and three quarters, I looked in her eyes to see if she was sincere. We had discussed the flaws of the depression era hand pressed goblet and how she couldn’t remember where it came from, but it might have been her Aunt’s. She didn’t seem to know what it was worth, but had priced it at $3.00. She explained that her family was moving, and she just needed to get rid of the “stuff”.

I was ringing my husband’s cell phone before I backed out of her driveway. “I went to that yard sale!” I said. He groaned just a little. I ignored it and went on breathlessly, “I got another piece of that pressed glass! You know that old grape pattern? It’s just like my grandmother’s! It was only $1.75!”

“Is that a good price?” my husband asked unenthusiastically.

I wondered why I bothered calling that man because he was not going to be excited that I was bringing home more glassware. I could hear what he wasn’t saying. “We have no more room for anymore glassware. You’re never going to use that antique glassware. Our kids are just going to have to clean out our belongings one day, and it’s all going to end up at another yard sale. Why did you even stop at a yard sale? Where are you even going to store that? The cabinets are overflowing!” That’s what he meant all right.

I answered what he didn’t say with, “I know. It’s not your thing, but she was asking $3.00, and I got it for $1.75! That’s a good deal. It’s probably worth $12.00 to $15.00.”

“Did you have fun getting a bargain?” he asked. Oh that man does know me! Not only do I love collecting glassware because of my grandmother, but I love a good deal! He says that I’m the only person he knows who can spend $46 dollars at the dollar store! He laughs at the bags I carry in from there, lifts out my purchases, wrinkles his nose, asks, “Do we need this?” or “Uhm… why did you buy this?” and then he shakes his head and says, “Never mind. I know. It was just a dollar.”

This is the man who will walk into a mega store like Sam’s Club with a list of five items: bacon, cheese, broccoli, almonds, and butter and walk out of the store having purchased bacon, cheese, broccoli, almonds, and butter. He will ignore the Egyptian cotton sheet sets with 800 thread count that are on sale for $29.99 and a special buy that is only available in store and hurry because supplies are limited and once they are sold, they are gone.

Yes, he will walk right past those while I would get an extra cart and spend 30 minutes calling friends and family from the 12-foot display to see what colors and sizes they needed because that is a great deal and people can always use nice sheets and there’s always a need to buy gifts for Christmas and birthdays, right? He prefers to keep his money in his pocket.

For me, shopping can be an emotional adventure. It’s the thrill of the hunt and new finds that you didn’t even know you needed until you saw that great price! My husband objectifies the process. He sees dollar signs and storage. In his estimation, if you have two sets of sheets per bed, then you have plenty. When he needs a new set, he will buy a new set regardless of the sale of the century price or not. He is a very objective shopper. Does it meet a certain set of criteria? Do I need it? Is it good quality? Does it have the features I prefer? If the answer to each of those is yes, then he buys it.

In contrast, my experience shopping in stores or flea markets is very much an emotional adventure; however, I do shop objectively online. For example, when I shop online, I tend to search for the item I want, read the product description, the reviews posted by others, and decide whether to purchase the item or not. I consider the price, features, quality (based on reviews), and shipping time. I cannot negotiate the price or the shipping so there is no real emotional attachment. My online shopping is rarely social media worthy, unless I find an amazing deal with free shipping!

A new way of looking at food

And so it is with food. When I ate high carb, I saw food as an emotional adventure. Every celebration “deserved” a dessert. Every disappointment deserved consolation. A hard day was best started with a donut. Somehow shared food was companionship because everyone gets a slice (or two) of a shared pizza. We dip from the same bowl, share a slice from the same five-layer cake made just like my grandmother used to make it.

One of the greatest challenges of eating low carb is learning to objectify food. Food can still be like the yard sale find—there’s not much better than finding a package of bacon or a big juicy ribeye on sale! Still, eating is no longer just about flavor. While ketogenic foods can taste delicious, once we begin to think of the foods as macronutrients, taste moves from being our first priority to being a lesser priority. When I put a meal together, I automatically see the carb counts. It forces me to use a smaller amount of higher carb vegetables like tomatoes and onions, but to liberally add healthy fats like butter or olive oil.

More importantly, when I think of foods as macronutrients, I can manage my emotional attachment to them. I can see something that used to be my favorite high-carb meal, remember with fondness those with whom I shared the meal, but I no longer want to eat that food. Just as my husband sees money flying out of his wallet, I see fat headed to my thighs! I see inflammation and poor health and a larger top. No one wants to eat to obesity if they can see that high-carb foods cause obesity.

Having been very low carb since June 2013, when I see those former high-carb favorites, I am prepared to walk away. Unlike buying glassware, I know that I don’t want to store more fat in my fat cells. When I create meals, I’m much more like my husband walking through the discount warehouse. If I have twenty total carbs to “spend” in my day, I’m going to spend them carefully on foods that are very low carb, high fat, and moderate protein. Even if that chocolate glazed donut is the deal of the day, I’m keeping my carbs in my pocket.


Kristie Sullivan

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One Comment

  1. Karen
    Great analogy -- everyone can relate whether they are a hoarder, minimalist, or somewhere in between, lol. Carbs as limited currency -- love it!

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