How I Beat Food Cravings on the Peasant Diet

Friends that I have known for years are baffled at how I could eat a simple peasant diet. And not just because they couldn’t imagine themselves eating that way, but because they’ve seen how much of a food adventurer I’ve been since arriving in Seattle. Taco trucks, Asian markets, and food Meetup groups have been my hobby for years.

I went a few years where I was checking out at least one cookbook from the library a week. I made kimchi every week for over 3 years. This blog has numerous recipes.

So how can a guy that has demonstrated such passion for world cuisine eat bland peasant foods without completely draining his willpower?

The first thing I did was really focus on what my goals were. Defining the WHY. I knew that all those flavors were in conflict with my goals, so using the Potato Hack and the Peasant Diet, I course corrected. But what about the cravings?

Here is how I view cravings.

  1. Cravings are real.
  2. Cravings can be a drain on willpower, especially later in the day when we have less energy.
  3. Fighting cravings can often make them more powerful.
  4. Giving into cravings can become a downward spiral. In other words, when the cravings win, we can feel defeated. Satisfying a small craving can turn into a binge.

If you don’t want to give into the craving and you don’t want to drain your willpower fighting them, how can you knock out the cravings? I discovered a solution. I played a trick on my mind.

  1. I acknowledged the craving.
  2. I imagined fully indulging in the craving.
  3. I decided I would engage in the craving.
  4. BUT FIRST… I had to eat a pound of cold boiled potatoes, which were already prepped in the refrigerator.

Step #4 is my emergency brake. It is my interrupt rule. I don’t think about it. It has already been decided in advance. After eating the pound of cold boiled potatoes, I imagine the original craving again. Only this time, it is far less powerful in my mind.

I’ve weakened the craving instead of suppressing it. Because I imagined how great the craving would be and now it no longer sounds great, it loses its appeal. And because I’m a Peasant, I envision the money I would have spent on the meal sitting on a table in front of me. I can still have the meal or I can have the money. With a belly full of potatoes, the money is always more preferable.

The BUT FIRST strategy has been extremely effective for me in losing weight. Even if you don’t have the potatoes ready when the craving strikes, it doesn’t take long to boil potatoes or eggs. Just decide the rule you will automatically execute before the craving surfaces. Most people let their emotions dictate how and what they eat and it isn’t serving them well.

boiled eggs

Boiled eggs by Kathryn Harper

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MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

2 thoughts on “How I Beat Food Cravings on the Peasant Diet”

  1. Personally I don’t keep cravable (should be a word) foods in the house and it is mandatory that I walk to the shops (10 minutes each way) to buy them.

    I tried the “eat something first” method, in my case drinking a couple of litres, but couldn’t stick to it.

  2. @seantheaussie – Perhaps I should have been more clear in the post.

    I don’t buy tempting foods to bring back to the house. My trick is to prevent me from leaving the house seeking high food reward items – usually at a restaurant.

    A pound of cold boiled potatoes works much better than drinking a lot of water.

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