December 2, 2020

What’s YOUR Pocket Salad?

by christopherabdo


A salad in my pocket accidentally had unintended benefits. 


But first, let's talk about the Pocket Salad: 

I wanted to get more greens in my diet, but with the Texas heat, even a lunchbox full of ice couldn't keep a salad cool enough all day. For reasons I won't go into here,  I didn't want to buy greens powder. So I wondered: how did ancient civilizations preserve food... and which of those might work for me to get more greens in my diet? This is one way I applied modeling nature...[MN] for short. 

As I looked through the options, I realized that dehydrating made the most sense. 

So I bought a dehydrator, went to the store, bought kale, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, tomatoes, apples, onions  and low-sodium Tajin (a Mexican seasoning) and limes to use the juice as a spray for some tang. 

What I came up with was the Pocket Salad. 

It's super easy to make: you just slice all the veggies/greens, throw in the dehydrator, get that thing going overnight, and viola! Pocket Salad complete. 

It had some unintended side-effects...the first one that I noticed was a few months went by, and I noticed I hadn't had my usual fast food craving. I would normally, every couple weeks or so, get an intense craving for fast food. Since most of my diet was on the healthy side, I wasn't exactly worried about it, although of course, if I can upgrade my diet and shuck that off, that would be great. So I wondered if maybe this pocket salad was satisfying that desire for crunch that most humans have?  At some point, I stopped making the pocket salad and I noticed in a few weeks that my fast food cravings came back, right on schedule. 


Now does this mean I think everyone's desire for fast food is automatically stemming from wanting crunch? Not at all. If you take that assumption, you might jump to this strategy of the "Pocket Salad" (which luckily is a nutritious thing anyway) and not really get to the heart of the matter, your real desire underneath the "I want fast food" desire which could be a number of hidden root causes...maybe you're feeling lonely and by eating super filling food (like fast food) you feel a little warmer?

In that case the pocket salad will not do anything for you...in fact, you'd feel worse because the pocket salad is pretty light. 


And actually, there was a time where I WAS DOING THAT EXACT THING! I had a period in my life where I felt incredibly lonely. I had no idea how to have deeper connections with others, or invite new people into my life. Some days, I would go and eat a bunch of fast food because it would make me feel warm and full...and that sort of poorly helped me cope with loneliness for moment.

When I no longer felt lonely, the first layer of desire for fast food, fell away and so did my eating habits. So I wonder if this is often true for others?

It had nothing to do with changing my eating, it had to do with feeling what I was needing...more depth of social connection. 

And this connection between our universal human needs and the strategies we use to satisfy them (Pocket Salad for a desire for crunch, fast food to bring comfort to loneliness) has shown up across many different fields of thought. 

Here are just a few of the different books I've read where I have come across this important understanding of separating what strategies we are using to fulfill needs and what our real needs actually are: 


Like this book:  Non Violent Communication 

Talks about universal human needs when it comes intra- and interpersonal relationships. 

Talks about how unmet customer needs aren't what they seem...

Connects values and needs to how have better conversations that bring you closer together. 

Connects 9 universal unmet human needs that are the real causes of depression. 

You'll love to learn about when someone solved their depression...with a cow! 


So my question to you is not "are you gonna try this pocket salad idea?" but rather...what's YOUR pocket salad? What's the need and then the strategy, that really does it for you? 


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