Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Cravings and Craisins

May 2

I had to tell somebody, and you're it. I had my evaluation by the trainer at the gym, and since my last eval I've lost three lbs. in weight -- four being fat pounds, and then I gained one pound of muscle. Our long term goal is 20 fat lbs. gone, so we are well on our way. Or at least I am. Gaining muscle, they tell me, only helps to metabolize the fat.

At the "Wellness Center" as it's called, I have been given a program of exercise that includes five mornings a week -- only 25 minutes per time -- alternating strength training with aerobics. At the same time two weeks ago I started on a very low calorie, low fat diet that certainly kicked in. On my scale at home I lost five lbs. the first week and then gained back three the next. That's why I decided it was time to get an objective evaluation and see if it was fat I was losing or muscle.

All this means I'm more obsessed with food than ever. I shop very carefully, as instructed by the Snowbird Diet book, but when it looked like the weight was melting off, I couldn't resist browsing in the grocery store. I came to the dried fruit aisle looking for prunes and saw that something called "Craisins" were on sale for two bags for $4. I know it's the marketing word for dried cranberries, and thought, well, how good could they be, knowing cranberries to be strong-tasting and sour. I look for treats that I don't like too much so I won't eat too much. And, being the prudent shopper than I am I opted for just one bag.

In a snack mood later, I opened my "Craisins" and was surprised. They've dumped enough sugar onto these babies that they taste like candy! The bag says, "You'll be surprised how sweet they are!" and indeed I was. Checking out the nutrition, they are as sweet as candy and almost as fattening.

But of course, I was hooked. In a few days the bag was empty and I kept wondering if the sale was still on. Cranberries are good for you, after all. There is something delicate in their light weight and chewiness. I was developing a craving.

I went to another store and thought I'd just happen by the dried fruit and see if they had the same sale on Craisins. They didn't even carry them! Oh, well, good for now. There are none in the house; that means I won't be eating them. Another day I was in another store. They don't carry Craisins either. I'm lucky these things haven't caught on yet.

So I drive around with dried cranberries on my mind. I can say I'll use them in muffins or cookies for little children -- too bad I don't have any little children -- or that surely there is some nutrition left in the berries after all that processing. Surely some store will have them on sale, two for $4, and that I won't gain all that weight back just because of a few little cranberries.


Co, The Badger said...

Hey! I was searching for exactly how they process cranberries to become craisins (as I munch on some), and I found this.

From what I found at a food processing technology website (almost the name, verbatim), in addition to there being much more sugar, there are also far fewer vitamins. On top of that, I would wager money that a significant portion of the antioxidants are degraded in the process. You always hear about how raw, fresh foods are the best way to get such nutrients.

I live in Wisconsin (badger, right?), the #1 producer of cranberries. They sell them fresh by the bag in fall at the farmer's market 3 blocks away from me. Last fall, I cooked them with sugar, but I also worked at a fruit stand and when a bag broke open, I started popping them in raw as a snack. They're SUPER sour, which is enough of a motivation for me to slow down. I bet the anti-oxidants are just crazy rich whent hey're fresh like that. Also, they pop because of the air pocket in them, and that's always fun!

Can't tell what year this was posted in, but whether this was nine months ago or three years and nine months ago, I hope your weight loss is going well. I'm trying to help myself now, too.

Night Stranger said...

The post was placed in May 2007. I must say I get more hits here than anywhere else on this dormant blog! Many people are fascinated by craisins.

I know they're almost empty nutritionally, and high in sugar as candy, but they are delicious little things. I've tried the dried cranberries in health food and organic stores and they don't have the crunchy, irresistible texture of Craisins.

As to my diet, that's just an ongoing thing in life. I am not really heavy, but over the years have put on at least 20 lbs. that I wish I didn't. Wishing...not the same as dieting!