12 June 2014

21-Day Mind Investigation on Sugar: Taste as a Reward | Day 13

On Tuesday, June 10th, I decided to buy some salad sushi rolls. Normally, there are 8 in a pack. What comes with the sushi rolls is a dressing. This particular dressing that came with the salad sushi rolls is a light-brownish dressing that tastes like peanut butter and jelly; so eating the salad sushi rolls with the dressing added a peanut-buttery and jelly sweet taste to the already-existent taste and texture of the sushi rolls.

The point that I want to make here is how I connected the dressing that came with the salad to dessert because of the taste, and normally when dessert is eaten, it is eaten after a meal as something like a 'reward'. If I look up the word 'reward' in the dictionary, it is a benefit resulting in some event or action. The point is -- is that I really didn't do anything that is apt to result in dessert but simply ate a meal.

I see, realize, and understand how a reward makes me feel when I receive one. It makes me 'feel' happy. Even if I was already happy initially, I realize that when I receive a 'reward' it makes me 'happier'. One example of my experience with receiving a reward was when I was at a school spelling bee competition. I was initially happy being there at the spelling bee as a participant because of me being the winner of the initial classroom spelling bee, but when I received a trophy for winning the school spelling bee competition, I became happier. This was in the 5th grade. So I can equate my experience with receiving the school spelling bee with me receiving a dessert after a meal like a reward is being given to me.

And so within this, I can see how levels of feelings are at play here. When I was participating in the classroom spelling bee, I was a bit nervous, but happy that I had a chance to be in the competition. When I won that spelling bee, and became a participant in the school spelling bee, I became happier. And when I received the school spelling bee trophy, I became even happier.

I realize that this is the same when eating food. It's like saying that when we eat food, we should 'feel' something 'emotionally' in relation to the food and in relation to ourselves depending on the taste of the food. For instance, if the taste of the food is seen or judged as being 'bland', then we should feel 'less happy'. And if the taste of the food is seen or judged as being sweet, then we should feel 'more happy' because of how sweet foods tends to generally activate more of the 'happiness experience'. And because a meal is experienced as being 'less sweet', the following meal, which is the dessert that is sweet, should make us 'feel happier' because of it being seen or defined as a 'reward' based on the taste. So it is as though 'taste' has been connected to 'feelings'.

The question is, how was I experiencing myself 'before' I started eating -- because I realize that when my experience to something or someone change based on the changes in events or situations: such as going from not eating to eating, then I realize that that 'feeling' is 'dependent on' that particular event or situation, and so thus that particular food item becomes something that is there that when I 'eat it', I change from one state-of-mind (such as depression or apathy) to another state-of-mind (such as happiness) because of how I developed, overtime, part of my identity within food based on how my state-of-mind changes when I eat food. And so food becomes something that is there for me to 'enjoy' through taste rather than food being there as a source of nutrition and sustenance.

So if 'taste' is something that became part of my identity because of how I depend on 'taste' to give me a 'feeling' that I believe I am separate from, then that means that if the 'reward' is something that supposed to give me more of a 'pleasurable experience' it is as though I separated myself from myself into phases because of the belief that I am defined by 'feelings' that I experience within events and situations in my life. So the reward would be defined as something that is 'more of' me which I believe I can 'experience' when I eat 'dessert' (for instance), or when I become a 'winner' at a particular competition -- being that the 'reward' is something where I experience an intensified feeling of 'pleasure' within myself.

So my experiment that I did with the salad sushi roll was that I ate four of the salad rolls with the peanut sauce in the beginning instead of putting more peanut sauce on the salad rolls in the end because I realize, for myself, how the peanut sauce intensified the taste of the salad rolls which I experienced as 'pleasurable'. I ate the last four salad rolls without the peanut sauce to see how I would experience myself while eating the salad rolls without the sauce. I realize that within this experiment, there was a 'missing out' on the taste of which I, from this, became a bit apathetic in relation to what I was eating. There was also a bit of the emotion of aggravation, and sadness, but at the same time, I could actually taste the actual food items more -- that were part of the salad roll, but I didn't get a pleasurable experience (a good feeling) from the taste of the food items in the salad roll without the peanut sauce. So I can see, because of the existence of a negative experience to / towards the salad rolls without the peanut sauce, and the existence of a positive experience when eating the salad rolls with the peanut sauce, I can see how I defined part of myself, my identity, through 'taste' because of how I, within my life, defined myself as the 'feelings' and experiences that come up within myself when I am participating in events and circumstances that lead to an 'emotional experience', thus, putting me in a position of powerlessness and submissiveness to that which I 'feel' and 'react' to within my life. And so I will, within my life even if I am not hungry, eat food that tastes good, so that I can maintain that level of contentedness or happiness within my life so I can 'feel good' about myself as an individual within the world.

I will continue in the next blog.

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