Living in l’Arche was a difficult experience for me for several reasons. One was that I went from living with one person to living with ten. Seven were Canadians and the others were from Germany, England and Ireland. The Englishman and the Irish woman did not get along, and their continual bickering provided a low-level background stress to everyday life.
The Irish woman cooked a lot and she loved sauces. I used to joke that she never met a food she could not improve with sauce. Cream and cheese sauces were not previously part of my diet, and my body did not adjust well, so I would nibble at meals and leave the table hungry.
Then there was the whole psycho-spiritual realm, where God was inviting me to stretch in ways that seemed like I was being asked to be a contortionist. I just was not very good at it; and I was not good at dealing with the fact that I was not good at it.
Between the stress and the lower caloric intake, I began to lose weight. By the end of my second month in l’Arche, I had dropped twenty pounds. It was not good, and I knew I needed to do something to stave off further weight loss.
Enter the apple fritter.
I don’t remember how I discovered this little wonder, but once I did, I was smitten. Before the apple fritter, I was committed to chocolate and would rarely eat snacks that did not contain chocolate. Why waste the calories? But there I was, cheating on chocolate with fried dough laced with fruit.
I had one free day each week and I usually spent it wandering around Winnipeg indulging my newly-discovered passion for apple fritters. I ventured into donut shops, grocery stores and bakeries in search of apple fritters. I am not proud to admit that some days I would have more than one. It was my secret, guilty pleasure.
When I left Canada, I thought I had left apple fritters behind.
But then I started a new job and found myself craving apple fritters. The stress of that job continued for several months, long enough for me to find several apple fritter dispensaries nearby.
In time, the job got easier and my fritter craving dissipated.
Fast forward to my move to Michigan. More stress, more weight loss, more apple fritter cravings. Back to the hunt for apple fritters.
Fortunately, apple fritters are not confined to the borders of Canada, and I am free to indulge whenever I want. (And, to my credit, I have not crossed into Windsor for a Canadian apple fritter fix.)
I have come to think of the apple fritter as my stress-o-meter. When I am craving one, I know I am highly stressed.
I also know there are healthier ways to deal with stress than high-calorie, low-nutrition fried dough (although I tell myself the apples count as a fruit serving), and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut back on my apple fritter consumption and concentrate more on exercise and meditation.
So far, I have only had one apple fritter in 2015—and I started Pilates today.