Sunday, December 15, 2013


I have a fairly unhealthy relationship with food. Don't get me wrong, I love food. I eat it all the time... seriously, all the time. Sometimes it's good food. Sometimes it's bad food. Sometimes it's my personal favorite, good bad food. The unhealthy part is the fact that I cannot and will not allow food to go to waste. At the expense of my own well being, I will make sure that food is never thrown away. 

The issues with my eating habits haven't been properly diagnosed, but hey, I'm pretty sure that's why the internet exists... for me to put this out there and find other people like me. My sister also suffers from this eating thing. I know that because we have discussed it ad nauseum - pun intended. 

My sister and I were raised to finish what is on our plate and to not let food go to waste. This seems like a pretty innocent, worthy lesson to teach your children. However, there is something wrong with the severity with which we adhere to this rule and the guilt associated with breaking it. Frankly, we take the whole thing a bit too seriously. The guilt we have from wasting food leaves us both with refrigerators and pantries which are constantly full of leftovers. Has it been one day or one week? You'll just have to be brave enough to pop the lid and find out. But in fear (yes, actual fear) of throwing food out, we will consume vile combinations and quantities of food. 

It is definitely some sort of condition, although I have not yet discovered any information on this particular issue. I'm not sure if it has been named yet, but if not, maybe I can get in there with a proper name recommendation, like Miss Spartacus Behavior, or Spartacusemia.

If you can't leave food on your plate because the guilt is just too much to bear; if you would make yourself sick from fullness rather than throw food away; if you smell food because you're never quite sure how old it is, yet that fact alone doesn't make you throw it out: you make have the condition commonly known as Spartacusemia. 

Do you ever cook or order too much food and then make up multiple packages to take to work, put in the freezer and eat the next two nights for dinner? Do you find yourself regularly making banana bread or fruit crumbles due to an excess of fruit that is about to go (or maybe just went) bad? Do you fear hurting the chef's feelings if you were to leave any food on your plate? Do you find it impossible to leave even a small bite behind if you are enjoying the food? Then you too may have Spartecusemia.

Spartecusemics have trouble with lots of holidays, but certainly Halloween is a demonstration of our disorder in all its glory. I acted like it was my motherly duty to get rid of the candy so that my daughter didn't have to eat all that junk. To be honest, she didn't even seem to care about most of it. Partially because I ate the good stuff before she even had a chance to sample it and partially because she just seems to be more of a lollipop afficionado. Weird, I know. And before you go suggesting that we donate our candy to the troops, you should know that we don't trick or treat that much, so we only had a small bowl full at the end of it all... and once we got through the few good items, we were left with some packs of Smartees and a handful of dum-dums and frankly, I believe it is a bit of an insult to the troops to send them Smartees. I am certainly not going to thank them for putting their lives on the line for me by sending them Smartees. What kind of a person do you think I am?
Yes, this was my dinner on November 1.
As of now, there is no cure for Spartecusemia. But if you know someone with Spartacusemia, there are a few things you can do to help. 
*When they are not looking, go through their fridge and throw away the food you know is well past a healthy consumption date. 
*Do not let them over-order. 
*Mock them for strange meal combinations. An example of one such combination may include, but is not limited to: a mound of shrimp fried rice, one sparerib, a half a piece of pepperoni pizza and a half a bagel with lox and cream cheese. It is OK to point out that this is not an OK combination, and they will thank you for it.
*Ask the waiter to take their plate away from them when they have complained about being too full three times yet continue to plow through it. Sure, they will complain about how rude the waiter is for a little while, but that is better than them complaining all night about how sick they feel.

It is important that you do not confuse a Splitzer (an expert sharer) with a sufferer of Spartecusemia. A Splitzer is someone who doesn't need a buffet to negotiate a little bit of each of the different things they want to eat onto their plate. A Splitzer can proudly manage a three-way split with two willing friends of say: an individual pizza, cheeseburger and ceasar salad** and be satisfied having gotten to eat everything they wanted. But a Splitzer will only eat until they are full. Someone with Spartecusemia can't and won't leave any of that expert split on the plate, even if they are full. A Spartecusemic can be a Splitzer, but a Splitzer is not necessarily a Spartecusemic. I am a Splitzer who also suffers from Spartecusemia.

Hopefully one day there will be a fancy drug advertised on tv for Spartacusemia. I hope it shows a plethora of otherwise normal looking adults partaking in a multitude of activities that have nothing to do with eating: cross country skiing on roller skates; playing carnival games like the one where you shoot water into a clown's mouth to blow up a balloon until it pops; alpine sliding with funny hats, etc. Hey, if erectile dysfunction ads can use a couple in individual bathtubs in the woods or on the beach (a scenario where the benefits of the drug being advertised would be logistically impossible), then I think we can use these random activities. At the end of the ad it should list all the different possible side effects, which don't actually totally suck. "Warning: this medicine may cause goofy dizziness, an irrepressible urge and newfound ability to do the worm, light buzzing in your ears, that feeling on your tongue you get in the morning when you're hungover that goes away as soon as you drink some water, a flushed face or a really bad hangnail."

Somebody thought this imagery worked so well that they used it

... again

... and again

--- and again.

Anyone else out there suffer from Spartecusemia? Hit me with your strangest splitsy combo...

** - based on a real-life splitsy which delighted the two ladies I was sharing with and appalled the rest of our dining companions.

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