I’m staring at Joe's nuts, lusting. Trader Joe’s nuts, that is. My eyes are glued to the cashews when I hear a voice.
“If you buy them, you will binge,” it says.
Then I hear another voice.
“Just get the raw, unsalted ones. They don’t taste like anything. How can you binge on something you don’t even know is there?”
“Right. And don’t look at a naked Hugh Jackman when he pops out of your birthday cake," says voice #1. "That way you won't want any."
These voices are starting to freak me out, so I slowly wean myself away from Joe’s nuts and Hugh's "any."
It’s the sixth month of my allergy cleanse, and I’ve been off wheat, corn, eggs and over a dozen other culprits. I haven’t eaten a pastry, pizza, tortilla, enchilada, frittata, ciabatta—nada. I deserve a freaking bag of cashews. Of course I’m the only one on the planet who can endure six months of this and not lose weight. Somehow I always find something to make up for those lost calories. It’s usually nuts, dried fruit or rice cakes with some kind of nut butter slathered on them. Or I simply latch onto something I can eat and then eat a third portion to affirm what a good girl I’m being by not eating what I really want.
So I'm home now, after being seduced into buying the boring bag of cashews that I don't even like, thinking one day maybe I’ll make a vegan, gluten-free cheesecake or cashew cheese or throw some in a curry. If I’m desperate to eat them as a snack, I can roast them in a pan, salt them and then have a few. All that calibrated consciousness will guarantee that mindful eating ensues and I can't binge. Five minutes later I’m scarfing them down straight out of the bag. Even raw and unsalted, they have an alluring texture and sweet richness. They are the crack cocaine of nuts, wooing me to a verboten place from which there's no return without violating several laws. That addictive feeling draws me in and tells me I'm a bad, bad girl. Oooh, I like being a bad girl. So why not be really bad and have more?
There’s a fine line between bad girl and sicko, and I cross it. So I hide the bag of cashews inside an empty bag of rice cakes that has printing all over it. You can’t make out what’s in the bag with all that rice cake propaganda, so I figure once I see the words, “Rice Cakes,” I won’t pay them any mind and they will languish, forgotten in the fridge. I forget my passwords, my bill due dates, my doctor appointments and the last time I brushed my teeth, so not remembering I have cashews should be a no-brainer.
The next day I open the fridge to discover I have x-ray vision. I see straight through the colorful, opaque package that says Lundberg Family Farms Organic Brown Rice Cakes, lightly salted, gluten-free, vegan, USDA organic and Non GMO Project Verified. My otherworldly eyes see the cashews seductively waiting for me to have my way with them. After bad girl turns sicko, I put them in the freezer, knowing they will not be ready to be ravaged any time soon. The next day, sicko gets it on with cashewsicles.
In a desperate attempt for redemption, I decide to put the remaining few cashews under my mattress next to my money. When I roll over in the middle of the night, I feel a lump. So at 12:37—an hour when bad girls are in their prime—I’m going at it with the nuts. I finish, roll over and get some sleep. In the morning I find the crumbs and empty wrapper lying next to my money, and suddenly I feel cheap, dirty and degraded—a tawdry nut slut. Next time I'm going to bring home Filbert. He doesn't seem to have that effect on me.