The Turkish delight was, in retrospect, a pretty big mistake. We were browsing a Middle Eastern market near our home in upstate New York, a festive, mom-and-pop place where I tend to buy way more than I need. It was winter — cars plowing down Genesee Street beyond the front window throwing plumes of brown slurry — and I needed a pick-me-up in the worst way. When I saw that box of candy, I was basically powerless to resist. It was obscenely large, the size of a cookie sheet or a generous end table, and it was on sale. For reasons that seem a little sad to me now, that candy felt like an opportunity.

My husband looked anxious when I approached the checkout line, box tucked up under my arm like a surfboard. Over the years, Rog has watched me eat a lot of things saner adults revile —… More…

When I was a little girl, my mother would put a teaspoon of sugar, maybe two, in my glass of orange juice. I loved the taste of the sugar slurry at the bottom of the glass. I’d get as much of it as I could, having drained the juice.

 

I never got much of the sugar in the glass, but I’d drink all she gave me, and as I drank the juice I enjoyed the promise of unalloyed sweetness. I think that’s what she intended.

We never drank frozen orange juice or juice from a carton. My mother used a clear glass juicer, which collected the juice, pulp, and seeds. Then she strained the juice for me so that I never had to contend with floating seeds. Only later when I squeezed my own juice — or hers… More…

 

A few weeks into the new year and I, like so many Americans, have already neglected my predictable resolution to eat more healthfully. This year I kept it pretty simple, endeavoring to eat more super foods like berries, nuts, and oatmeal, and fewer butter cookies and blueberry muffins. While I have eaten more of the healthy super foods, I admit I’ve also eaten more desserts, too (there were just so many left over from the holidays).

I’m left wondering how I could I have failed so quickly. Is it just laziness and bad habits that make achieving the task feel so extraordinary?

Perhaps it’s not simply laziness or habit, at least. While willpower and discipline certainly play an important role in how we eat, I have come across a growing body of research hinting at biological underpinnings that… More…