Friday, January 26, 2024

Hedonic Satiety


During covid, I ate a bunch of ice cream, and peanut and butter jelly sandwiches.  I did it because I was feeling miserable, and because my throat hurt.  It's been really tough to bounce back to the diet that lost me 50lbs since last November.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a little bit of an experiment with carnivore.  This has been a financial experiment as much as a nutritional one.  A pound of 80/20 ground meat at my local trader joes is $5. Chicken is $8.  By not eating the salads and the veggies, and the fresh tomatoes, I guess I have been saving a bit of money.  Certainly, I have been saving money over eating out.

However, what I have noticed is that I have been ping-ponging between eating 100% carnivore, and going to the local Wawa and buying 3 candy bars and a personal pizza.  Part of this is the addictive nature of that food -- during Covid I 'fell off the wagon' and it has been hard to get back on.  Part of it though is also something I'm calling "hedonic satiety".

"Hedonic satiety" means that our desire for pleasurable food has been met.  This can be accomplished with sweetness, with quantity, and with salt/spice/umami.   In eating a loaf of ground meat for dinner, I was setting myself up to want a candy bar later that evening.  More recently, eating a well-spiced, well-prepared low-carb meal at Outback steakhouse (shown above), sets me up to feel full and satiated.

The problem here is one of economics.  A candy bar is $2.50.  A steak dinner is around $35.  It's a lot cheaper to be hedonically satiated by garbage than it is to be hedonically satiated by high-quality restaurant food.  Cooking is ideal, but most people I know eat out, most of the time.  The reason for poor health is that in doing that we all can afford hoagies, not sirloin.

What's the answer?  Ideally, build some cooking skills to turn that 1lb loaf of 80/20 ground beef into something satisfying.  Short of that though, I am resolved to up my food budget to where it was when I lost the bulk of the weight early last year, and to save on other aspects of my budget.