"I love food," I said. "I can't help it."
My friend leveled me with her eyes. "You could help it if you knew the foods you were eating."
Less than seven seconds later, she had downloaded four of her favorite food tracking apps onto my phone. And so my journey of conscious eating began.
It turns out, I'm pretty boring. The days calorie intake goes like this:
—Lunch: scone — or whatever is available at the coffee place.
—Dinner: scraps from my kids' plates of food.
A buttload of nachos.
Fun fact: A butt is a traditional unit of volume and equals 126 gallons — which, if one were to put my nightly nacho consumption into a blender and mix it, would probably equal the exact measurement I inhale.
The weird thing is that I don't even really notice I make the nachos. Not that I'm too surprised; nachos are delicious. But usually when you make enough food to feed an entire caravan of touring sumo wrestlers, you notice. I could fill up the entire bed of a truck with the nachos I've been eating. Which, I have to say, doesn't sound half bad.
My husband proposed to me in the bed of a pickup truck. He had rented the truck and thrown blankets in the back, and we had driven up the Pacific Coast Highway, found a secret secluded spot and slept under the stars. It was perhaps the most romantic night of my life. But you know what could have made that evening better? Trading in those cozy blankets for a pool of nacho cheese in the bed of the pickup. That'll keep you warm on a crisp evening. We could have thrown in a few pool noodles, and the night would've been set.
Another surprising factoid about the nightly nacho revelation was how much work is put into the preparation. Far more effort is put forth than I do for our family dinners. Peppers, tomatoes and onions are chopped. Cheese grated. Guacamole perfected. Limes sliced. Cilantro washed. Jalapenos de-seeded. Sour cream dolloped on the side. The oven set to 450 degrees.
After a week of chronicling my nacho intake, I switched my question from "What am I eating?" to "How could someone put forth so much effort and eat her weight in nachos and not even notice?"
Just like the nachos epiphany, the second answer was not hard to come by. I drink coffee all day while I work. By day's end, I'm starving. After the kids are in bed, it's time to turn on the nightly news. The news makes me rage. I can't handle it. I stand up to make food. I want something comforting. Nachos are basically the fluffy bunny slippers and Snuggie of cuisine. You can't get more comforting, in my book. But even though I need to turn away from news, I also don't want to miss what is happening, so I can only step away for a few minutes — just enough time to cut some tomatoes. After watching more news, I come back to rage-grate some cheese. Then, on the next commercial break, I beat out my anger onto some innocent avocados. By the time the 11 o'clock news is on, I have let out all my physical anger on some unsuspecting homemade salsa and am heaping on my second helping of healing nachos.
This pattern may be a problem.
I told my friend of my discovery. I also told her that I love nachos and, now that I recognize my nightly vice, don't really have any intention of fixing it. She recommended that I try making conscious choices throughout the day, including eating things I love, so I'm not so hungry and not in so much need of comfort by day's end. Then the nacho intake might be only a fraction of a buttload.
For the past few days, I've been in Los Angeles for work meetings. Hitting up my old stamping ground seemed like the perfect place to try this new theory out. I'd have access to old foods I loved and no oven to cook nachos.
But my favorite ramen place had closed. And sushi place. And the Israeli place had closed, too. Even the family-run custard place was closed for a family vacation. After striking out on every food and restaurant I missed, I found myself in LAX eating nachos. No regrets.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.