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Last month while at the Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Casino all you can eat buffet I did my usual thing. I ate my desserts before gorging on the other over-abundance of stuff. My companions of twenty five years to these annual mid-September feasts thought me a bit weird. This strange routine came about because in the distant past I ate so many other good things that I was too full to eat much of what (at that time when still in my youth) I considered the good stuff, the desserts. So, I ate the desserts first and then if there was any space left over, I sampled the wonderful salads, dabbled in the various meat dishes, dipped into the ethnic cuisines, drank a few of the various beverages, and generally made an over gorged pig of myself. In this particular environment that was what everyone else was doing so my disgusting behavior wasn’t particularly noticeable.

This time I was looking forward to what was my usual routine with just a bit of apprehension, because with so many of these events under my belt, and still residing on my butt I had acquired a bit of hard earned wisdom or skepticism. I already had the routine of taking the smallest possible piece of each of the dessert offerings, and even cutting up the smallest piece into even smaller pieces, and sharing them with my buddies, but it was still too much. With some degree of envy I watch my friend John eat four times as much as I can stuff down, and he enjoys even the last bite. He says he wants to get his money’s worth, but afterwords his gut looks like he ate a basketball.

Okay, that’s the setting and I’m a pig, but now the momentous discovery which I encourage you to check out for yourself at one of these buffets. Start off with the smallest portions of all of the desserts you can get on your plate. Potential diabetics should probably avoid this whole experiment! That warning probably includes everyone! Notice how good each of these sugary delights tastes as you go drifting through them with a little bite of chocolate mousse, and a tad of cherry pie, then just a teaspoon of vanilla ice cream, perhaps a small bite of chocolate cake with some buttery frosting, a nibble of lime fruit jello to smooth your palate etc. etc.—doing them all, and being careful to get the maximum pleasure possible out of every one.

Because this dessert feast was done before you began eating those supposedly healthy foods your mom tried to get you to eat, there shouldn’t be any trouble with filling up your stomach too quickly. You will probably discover what I discovered after eating just a bite of each of these things which tasted great in your memory, but now after sampling through a dozen or so of them they don’t taste so great any more. In fact you will discover that there doesn’t seem to be much difference between any of them and the cherry pie à la mode with cinnamon sauce tastes about like the chocolate mousse or the vanilla pudding with almond sprinkles. It is weird, but these things which a few minutes before seemed to have such unusual, and wonderful flavors so very different from one another now are practically indistinguishable, and don’t even taste particularly good. No, they taste bad!

And now the surprise. Even after all of the desserts the salads still taste great and beets or peas which in my childhood were vile now actually taste interesting and good. This is an absolute reversal of my lifelong eating experience! How can it be? Well, don’t go by my experience, and go on eating like you have always done, which is probably the right way, but try that experiment, and perceive for yourself just how good a well made vegetable salad can taste after an excess of desserts. Trader Joe’s grocery chain offers some tasty ready made salads you can experiment with.

I don’t know why, but it is easier to stop eating salads and just say no, when you are full, to another helping of salad, than it is to avoid just another piece of pie and ice cream. So maybe it would make sense to have a small piece of sugar treat in the middle of the meal, if you want one, rather than at the traditional place at the end. Finishing your meal with some carrot sticks, and coffee rather than an ice cream and coke would, without doubt, be a lot better for your health, and you will feel better in an hour.