I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Pudding For Custard (Substitutions) TW


(Trigger Warning for mention of disordered eating)

Substituting Pudding For Custard while at home may seem a perfectly acceptable thing to do, but if you call something on a menu in a restaurant “Custard” and it’s really vanilla pudding? Well, it’ll rain all over my parade! This is how I started my morning: Biting into a donut hole filled with “Custard” (they call them custard holes on their menu and a friend insisted they were too good to pass up) only to get a small mouthful of cheap vanilla pudding. NOT THE SAME!!! I love custard like I love espresso (as in A LOT!) and when you want one of those must have things you love, you can’t substitute! You gotta go for the good stuff, man!

One of the things I’ve learned from my own intuitive eating journey is that when I am craving something, there is usually a reason. Not just a “ooh that looks tasty” kind of craving. More of a physiological one. For instance, once a month I crave roast beef deli style sandwiches. Nothing will be a worthy substitute. I can try all manner of turkey or other sandwiches, but they will never be the thinly sliced loveliness of that roast beef sammie in my mind. I must have what I want or I will feel unsatisfied and try as I might, nothing else will do. Same thing for a nice and simple piece of good chocolate! Oh sure, you can give me a bite of your prized brownies, but it won’t fulfill that inner need for something smooth and rich and creamy. And there’s a reason I want those two things so consistently: I’m in need of iron and protein and whatever else is in that roast beef and chocolate is a mood lifter and when else do I need that most?!

This is something I have had to learn the hard way. Yes, I did read about it in Linda Bacon’s fabulous book, “Health At Every Size”, but you know that wasn’t enough for this stubborn gal. Nope! I had to see for myself. And sure enough, nothing would satiate the craving until I had what it was I was craving. And it all harks back to what we all must figure out at some point: when you knowingly try to substitute yourself into something “healthier” than what you originally crave, it just won’t cut it! In fact many studies have shown that in the end you’ll find other ways to get what you want (weather that is through salt and fats or other such things or the real deal).

I witnessed this in my pre-FA days in the corporate world when I found myself surrounded by hard-nosed dieters for the first time. There was not a single soul in a very large corporate building who wasn’t on a diet…except me! I was also, easily, the fattest in the whole building, too (though I don’t think I knew it at the time). All anyone would talk about was points and carbs and how little they ate and “Oh you ate all of that? I only ate this” sort of garbage EVERYWHERE!!! And the food y’all! I worked in a training facility, so we had catering almost every day! There was always leftovers! And so the negotiations would begin!

There it is, a platter of food, just waiting for someone, anyone, to dig in! Tiny portions on paper plates, plastic cutlery clinking about, donuts, bagels and muffins halved and then quartered, diet colas cracking open, napkins daintily lain out previously now wadded in masses with pre-chewed bites of food…evidence of many people and disordered eating. I had never witnessed such rituals before. I was a bit shocked at first but so wanted to fit in that I found myself adopting some of these behaviors, too.

It all came to a head one day when my husband and I stopped off at a gas station on a weekend road trip and I came back to the car with a nice big refreshing and cold DIET PEPSI?! The look of horror on my husband’s face and his immediate question, “Why? You don’t even like diet Pepsi!” and suddenly I had no answer for him. Suddenly I realized all at once that I’d become the very people I was trying so hard to fit in with. All of those high heeled shoes I’d recently purchased (yet not a single pair comfortable enough to wear). All of the stupid new lip glosses I “had to try.”

It all suddenly made sense. This is bullshit and this isn’t me! Of course I don’t like diet cola! I never have! But when something is all around you and often literally in abundance (the diet Pepsi was usually free) you sort of just fall into it without even noticing. I drank that Diet Pepsi that day with my husband concerned for my well-being (little did we know about the aspartame!), and pondered the recent past in my new corporate career. I made some decisions in my mind that day and because of that I think I was more open to the concept of Fat Acceptance when I did finally read about it in BUST magazine later that same year.

When my friend Freddy joined our department, he and I became partners in crime and food! We would run to Target on our lunch hour and stock up on 100 calorie packs of things like Hostess Cupcakes! Ha-ha! We’d laugh and laugh and mock-negotiate with one another, “Would you like 50 calories of a vanilla cupcake?” “Oh! Well, sure, if you’ll take 50 calories of my chocolate ones? I can’t be expected to eat this entire thing on my own!” it was in good fun, but I can see now (hindsight and all) that he probably did have some disordered eating going on. Part of it though was that we were sick and tired of trying to fit in. He and I were the outsiders (the gay guy and the fat girl, go figure). While we were both well liked, we just never fit in. That’s okay, we had too much fun to notice after that.

And now that I own and operate my own cafe? Well, I see it every single day! One day when I medical doctor came in for one of my panini asked if I had diet cola and I said no and explained why (my go-to line is “I prefer to serve my customers with foods that won’t give them brain tumors”) he laughed and said, “Oh, I know. I’m a doctor!” and he left and came back with a diet Coke  AND a big ice cream sundae in hand. When I called him on the under indulgence with the coke and over compensation of the sundae, he laughed again. He got it! He knew! But he didn’t care! I have to admit that I found this a bit disarming and cute. And it’s true, no Boston cream pie flavored yogurt will ever be enough of a substitute for a nice slice of the real thing! It is more than just calories and fat and all of that. It’s texture and colors and aroma and flavors, too!

So please do not deprive yourself or try to fool yourself. In the end, you’ll only want the real thing more! And you’re worth the real thing, every time!




17 Comments to

“Pudding For Custard (Substitutions) TW”

  1. On April 25th, 2011 at 9:06 am Lillian Says:

    I don’t have a car and I had a back injury so I have to take the bus or ride my bike to go shopping. A lot of time something close works. I could be craving mangos, but other fruit will work. I’ll want a brownie, the fresh bakery kind, but I end up with store brought cookies. The mango craving lasted close to a week, but when I finally remembered to buy them. I didn’t want them anymore. The store brought cookies took care of the brownie craving. Still, I would never called vanilla pudding, custard. It’s not even close. I can be quite a foodie.

  2. On April 25th, 2011 at 9:27 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Of course access plays a huge role in all of our lives. And yes, sometimes we must make do. Though I have had a craving last for weeks upon weeks! But yes, I consider myself a bit of a food nerd, too! =0)

  3. On April 25th, 2011 at 9:30 am Twistie Says:

    Have you seen the commercials for the diet gum (only 5 calories!) that’s supposed to satisfy the urge for mint chocolate chip ice cream? That one honks me off worse than the fat-free yogurt Boston cream pie!

    There was a place I worked at once where one woman did the same thing every single day. Around two or so, she would make some microwave popcorn and make a huge deal about how ‘bad’ she was being. This from a woman who probably weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet, too! Since we worked in the same office and I was assisting her, well, I got the act every single day, and she would share her ‘bad’ popcorn with me. Somehow I never agreed that she was ‘bad’ for wanting a mid-afternoon snack. Oh, and when she started having the no-butter type because those extra eight calories or so from the faux butter flavoring would clearly make her too fat to exist (and I have to wonder, what did she think of me and my actually fat little body if hers was ‘too fat’) I stopped sharing, not because I was worried about my waistline, but because faux butter was more my style than no butter at all… even though I would much rather have the real thing.

    The really funny thing is, left to my own devices, I eat popcorn about four or five times a year. I pop up a pot on the stove, melt some real butter, add some salt (sometimes smoked salt, yum!) and enjoy the hell out of it. but then I’ll go a couple months, or even half a year without doing it again. I love it. I want it when I get it. But I don’t have to have it every day.

    But every time I have popcorn now, I hear this woman in my head smirking about how ‘bad’ she was being for having a damn couple handfuls of popcorn in the middle of the afternoon. It’s getting better, but I still hear her once in a while. And when I hear her voice, it kind of ruins my treat.

    Oh, and I’ve had a lot of people just assume I drink diet soft drinks. I honestly don’t drink that many sodas, but if I’m going to drink one, I don’t want the aftertaste of the artificial sweeteners. But if I send someone other than Mr. Twistie to get me a soda, I have to emphasize that I don’t want diet, and I REALLY don’t want diet cola… because I’ve never been fond of cola to begin with. Add the artificial sweeteners and I can’t stand the stuff at all.

    The worst was last New Year’s Eve. I went to my usual New Year’s party, but every single person there seemed to have this burning need to tell me all about their new diet and how much weight they all needed to lose and expect me to join in… as I stood there proudly wearing my scarlet Fat necklace.

    If you don’t join in on some level, people assume you have unless you actually get up on the damn table and announce that you think dieting is a useless crock of shit. Silly me. I thought wearing my scarlet Fat and refusing to join in diet talk would be enough. Next time I’ll set my damn hair on fire and see if that gets through to them.

  4. On April 25th, 2011 at 9:45 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh man! What is with the popcorn?! I had some girls in my office do that exact ritual, too! If you can get your hands on some, try your popcorn with truffle oil on top just tossed in it: To die for! And yes, I’m not a big fan of pop corn, so I only have it when offered. Haven’t made it at home except when we first moved into our apt and got rid of our microwave. I had never had jiffy pop and had to try it! Ha!
    I see that chocolate mint gum and the picture on it is quite convincing, but I love the real thing too much to even bother with it in gum form. Funny, I only have mint-chip ice cream once in a blue moon. But the concept of it is always in my head as Thrifty’s ice cream. Nothing else is as good.
    That is so weird to me. I mean, the diet talk at a party with your fat necklace? Just seems bizarre! Take me with ya next time, I won’t let them get two words out! =0)

  5. On April 25th, 2011 at 10:43 am Twistie Says:

    It’s like people just don’t notice you’re not doing the diet talk thing with them unless you’re shouting from the rooftops that you’re not… at which point you are a bad, naughty, evil person who doesn’t have any manners at all and is hellbent on clubbing baby unicorns to death for sport. But yeah, you’d be welcome at the party and we could create our own tiny diet-free zone.

    For me, mint chocolate chip ice cream brings back memories of my father. It was his favorite flavor. Lucerne was the brand we always got. His cat always tried to share… quite insistantly.

  6. On April 25th, 2011 at 10:49 am Not Blue at All Says:

    See, I have no problem what so ever either reverse concern trolling (in-person anyway) or simply, “wow, that’s a boring subject!” or just inserting my own amazingly great topic! Well, okay, after a couple of drinks. Ha! *hugs* You rock!

  7. On April 25th, 2011 at 1:51 pm KellyK Says:

    Twistie, nah, they’d just try to tell you that if you went on their awesome diet with them, your hair would stop catching fire like that.

  8. On April 25th, 2011 at 7:46 pm Kate Says:

    I used crave popcorn like crazy, not microwave popcorn, I wanted the real stuff and I finally got a whirly pop and I’d have popcorn for lunch a lot (popcorn and some fruit and cheese). Now I don’t do it as often, but there’s no comparison in my mind to microwave vs. stove top.

    The gum is actually pretty good. Sometimes I want to taste something sweet, but not actually eat anything (this could sound disordered, but it’s not, I like to have something sweet to finish off a meal sometimes, but don’t plan very well and get my fill from the meal). But using it to substitute for dessert is not something I think I could do.

    And not related to this particular post at all, but thanks in part to you, I got my dh and I some liberator pillows and thank you very much.

  9. On April 26th, 2011 at 9:14 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I could understand the gum after a meal thing. I am in love with Orbits peachy one. So good! But surely no substitute for anything else. And yay to the liberator pillows! We need to try ours again. What ones did you get? We have the ramp and the wedge. If you figure out any fab positions, do let me know.

  10. On April 26th, 2011 at 7:12 am Chutti Says:

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around getting an unwanted spoodge of vanilla pudding. Ewww. Just so wrong.

    I actually LIKE diet soda, cola, even. Regular is just too sweet for me. So I get a lot of that annoying judgement when I order any real food, or heaven forfend junk food, with a diet soda. I like sweets plenty, just not in a thin liquidy cold drink. Don’t like super sweet cocktails either. But that doesn’t appear to be what was going on with the Dr.

    Gahh, popcorn ( insert zombie sound here). It’s so obnoxious to pop micro corn in an office/work environment-half because of the lingering smell, mostly because of the ensuing diet talk. I looorve popcorn, and have been known to have popcorn and an apple for dinner with glee. I’ll eat the microwave crap, but heartily endorse popcorn as a vehicle for fine oil and/or seasoning. I like to air pop and add my own oil. Truffle is yummy, but I had blood orange infused olive oil that just blossomed on popcorn.

    I work in the field, and finally realized well into my 30s that I just hate, hate working in the same place every day. I always knew I disliked dealing with ‘office politics’, but only just now do I understand that being a glorified traveling saleswoman frees me from daily diet talk with the same crew. Not that I don’t run into it, but if I lunch ‘with’ clients, I am probably demonstrating then, and eating later. And only have to hear whatever food policing/diet talk/ judgy judgy just once before I move onto the next group.

    And I don’t have to club the baby unicorns either. I guess I usually just keep trying to change the subject unless I’m really up for a lengthy and likely fruitless discussion. Gah. I’d gladly join your corner of the party !

  11. On April 26th, 2011 at 9:15 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh yes, the microwave popcorn smell never goes away. Even after a 3-day weekend with the office windows open (gag). Holy shit?! Blood orange oil? I’m dying! Sounds like we have a lot in common, Chutti! So glad to hear from you, always. <3

  12. On April 26th, 2011 at 11:33 am Kate Says:

    We got the ramp and the wedge, we got the extra wide one. We had an old crappy wedge pillow that couldn’t really hold my weight (actually it can’t really hold the weight of my pug either, so I didn’t stand a chance). To anyone thinking about purchasing one, I can’t underestimate the firmness of the pillow, it will keep you elevated, pretty much no matter what you weigh.

  13. On April 26th, 2011 at 12:32 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    I can’t remember if ours is the wider set or not, but I can attest to it’s firmness and stability! Wow! And if you’re feeling weird about the need to wash it and all of that, no worries there either. They thought of everything! Ha! =0)

  14. On April 27th, 2011 at 8:36 pm Mulberry Says:

    I totally hate when some food is billed as substituting for another. It’s not even a matter of calories. Like for example, when carob is touted as being a chocolate substitute. Now I like carob. I had some fresh pieces of it when I was a kid and let me emphasize that you need iron teeth to chow down on it. But NO WAY is it a chocolate substitute.
    Or some vegetarian restaurants. Sometimes they assemble a bunch of ingredients and come out with “vegetarian duck” or “vegetarian chicken” or some such. Not for me. I’d rather get something like, “assortment of vegetables sauteed with tofu” or whatever.
    However, I would be the sort who might consume a diet soda with a sundae. The reasoning goes like this:
    1) I have metabolic syndrome and therefore should really limit sugar.
    2) I don’t want to give up sweets altogether.
    3) Therefore, I will eat/drink artificially sweetened items if the difference in taste is not important to me. It’s a sort of compromise. Artificially sweetened soda doesn’t bother me, but I want ice cream to be real.

  15. On April 28th, 2011 at 8:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    And I was traumatized as a kid when my mom told me Carob was chocolate! Blegh!!! And you’re right. Part of why I wanted to be a vegetarian is also part of the reason I stopped. I found myself attracted to fake meat products that never lived up to actual meat (duh!) and then realized that I also wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed to keep my energy up. So now I’m an omnivore and I try very hard not to feel guilty about it. But yeah, that diet soda and sundae combo freaked me out! Ha-ha! But like you said, dietary needs should take priority and if you know you want some ice cream, might as well go for the real thing and have a diet soda or what have you later. =0)

  16. On May 12th, 2011 at 10:25 am NotBlueAtAll » Blog Archive » Giving Up The Fight Says:

    […] From a recent post about substitutions: […]

  17. On May 12th, 2011 at 9:40 pm ako Says:

    I actually LIKE diet soda, cola, even. Regular is just too sweet for me.

    I like some diet sodas. I’m not particularly fond of colas at all, so I tend to skip them. But if it’s a Sprite or 7-up, I like the diet version better, because it has more of a light, clear taste, and what I want is light, clear, lemony, fizzy, not-too-heavy drinks, so the sugarless version better fits my tastes.

    Now with root beer, I’m all about the real sugar.

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