Recently I spent a  lazy afternoon at my local farmers market sipping rosemary lemonade and strolling between the stalls admiring the fruits, veggies and art. It was a pleasant way to spend the an hour or so, but it was the treat that awaited me at home that was the real treasure. 
    I bought sparingly because it's one thing to let lettuce from the local super-chain fade in the fridge, a whole lot more tragic to waste fresh, from the farm veggies. My harvest was tomatoes, apples, pattypan squash, a garlic braid and purple cosmos. The squash went into soup, the tomatoes on salad, the apples into my lunch sack and the cosmos and garlic adorned my kitchen. The taste can only be matched by growing your own,but I don't have the space or exposure where I live.
   Farmers markets are  a tradition dating back to the first small settlements of human civilizations. More recently there has been a revival of them in urban areas. They are not your Grandmas market either. There are produce stalls, bread and cheese, jewelry, home decor, toys , snacks and samples everywhere. Food trucks are a common addition to most, mine has a brick pizza oven on a trailer and a converted school bus serving up fresh vegan/vegetarian fare. The proliferation may owe to the slow food movement. Slow food began in 1986 out of a protest over a controversial McDonalds in Italy. What started as a protest about the commercialization of Rome's antiquity areas, became a movement devoted to  
food that has been prepared with care, using high-quality local and seasonal ingredients according to Dictionary.com                                        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slow+food.
      Slow food is a healthy alternative to the drive through mentality many of us have in todays fast paced, multi-tasking lifestyle.  I know...I am guilty of excessive driving through myself. A well prepared meal with whole natural ingredients is a joy to consume. It takes time to prepare slow food and that may be it's biggest drawback...we lead such busy lives, but it is well worth the effort even if you can only manage it once or twice a week. Leftovers can be repurposed, used for lunch, frozen for another day or just reheated tomorrow because it was so good. Another way to turn today's wonders into a quick meal is to use a crock pot.  Simply put the ingredients into the pot before you go out for a couple of hours and tada! it's done when you return.
      Time is running short for this years Farmers Markets, but if there is one in your neighborhood I highly recommend that you treat yourself to a visit. Grab a sample of the freshest bread in town and stock up on the ripest fruits of the year. Freeze a few veggies to pull out at Christmas or for that special celebration meal. Some things never go out of style, fresh local produce cooked into a healthy satisfying meal for you and your loved ones is always spot on. And the lemonade is worth the trip.  :-)

    I was writing this about super foods, it was taking a long time and I realized that I was boring the heck out of myself. Then as I was researching the material I came across a blog that was much better at explaining super foods then I could ever be. 
                            So here is the link to Mindbodygreen blog re: super foods  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5903/9-Superfoods-for-Super-Health.html
 I hope you find it helpful.  
So that said, if you please, I will get on with what I am really writing about,
                        Fast Food addiction.  
   When choosing what foods to eat we all know what junk food is. It comes with ease of availability and often it is inexpensive. Most of us know that it can be high calorie, fat and sodium laden. It fills our tummy and either tastes very good or has nostalgia factors that can make it downright nearly irresistible. Ask me about french fries from a certain drive through from my childhood and how often they have called to me when I was either tired or blue.  Most of us know that it usually isn't a very good choice, but many of us make that choice more frequently than we would care to admit. I know, I am one of those persons.
    When my son was young I worked 12 hour shifts at the local hospital and we had an hour commute home in the evenings. He was always hungry on the way home so a quick drive through was our nightly routine. I justified that by the time I got home there would be little time to prepare anything before we had to go to bed and start all over again. I rationalized that I did not eat the take out most nights, but I know that was just a cover. Over 7 to 8 years I gained and lost and gained again 30 lbs, easy peasy... at least the gaining was easy :).
     I have never lost the cravings for what I consider very addicting food. Addictions occur because we have an experience of satisfaction or distraction when we take an action that in some way eases a feeling of discomfort. The next time we are in that situation we remember what we did the last time that brought us back to equilibrium and we do it again to either distract ourselves (like from chronic pain or sadness), to gain satisfaction (I deserve a treat because  my co worker is a beast!) or just to numb us temporarily.
    Time has gone by, I have changed jobs and the daily temptation to indulge in junk food has waned, but I still feel the pull of time-crunch, taste and comfort on a regular basis. I can recall a particularly bad week when those afore- mentioned fries were a daily drive through to the point where I really didn't want them, but it had become a coping mechanism. There are many means in our society to numb ourselves: food, alcohol, drugs, TV, on-line diversions, shopping, work, excessive exercise... I am sure you can think of a few more. These distractions keep us from experiencing ourselves, wholly in this moment. We don't want to experience our loneliness, pain or dissatisfaction in this moment or any other. So we eat, drink, imbibe or whatever our particular device is and tame the dragon of our distress. When we do we set ourselves up for the possibility of addiction , if we are not already addicted.
      To let go of our addictions we must first recognize what the addictive behavior is and if we are able we should determine what feelings they are distracting us from. Just knowing the cause will not make them disappear. We must be mindful when the desire to indulge comes up and it will. We must confront the grief that comes from losing a friend- our coping scheme and if we can not welcome the feelings we were avoiding, then at least work to be able to hang out with them. This will probably take time.
       Some addictions are easier to tame, because they are not essential for survival. Food is not one of those. You cannot go cold turkey on food like you can on drugs or alcohol, you still have to eat. My advice is to limit the temptations as much as possible. To combat the chances that I will indulge in what I know is a dead end road of low nutrition, big belly and big thighs , I stock up on grocery day on fresh, nutrient dense veggies full of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory good stuff, lean protein sources: soy foods, turkey and eggs, and apples( I am picky about fruit). I chose EVOO, grape seed and coconut oil, avocados and Greek yogurt and yes cheese. I realize I have to watch it with the cheese, so I use food portion limits, but I am not always successful. It is difficult to get optimum nutrition just from eating food as well so I take supplements to make up for what I am missing, this helps me with portion control.  I pack lunch for work and cook at home as much as possible.
     These days my worst moments are surrounding time-crunch situations. If I am in a hurry or tired my thoughts are conditioned to think of drive through options. I don't always win the battle and I've noticed that when I do give in the choices I make are not as healthy as they could be( would you like that in a large combo...hmmm... yes!). And even in the safety of my kitchen there is always the temptation to disregard portion control. 
       I know certain situations will always be triggers in me for the desire to avoid myself and that certain foods will seem to be an escape from whatever uncomfortable feeling I am experiencing in this moment, but I also know that being overweight and consuming foods that are nutritionally poor will only lead to more uncomfortable feelings of guilt and remorse and worse. My addiction only works for the short while that I am eating, but the consequences on my health last a lot longer.   
       The fast food stills calls my name, but I don't hear it as often as I used to. When it does I  attempt to put it off by thinking "if I still want it tomorrow I'll get it". I don't always succeed, but I'm working on it every day. I take it one step at a time , one drive home at a time and yes, even one drive through at a time.
                                         blissings, amber