In response to another post, twistie wrote this about a Thanksgiving meal with her family:
I wanted to cry and my stomach rebelled at the cognitive dissonance.
The meal in question was one of those faux dieting meals--you know the kind, I'm sure. Where the "mashed potatoes" were really pureed cauliflower. Where the "lasagna" was really zucchini cooked in butter.
II can't count the number of faux dieting meals I've eaten in my life. I still remember some of those old Weight Watchers recipes, like the one for bread pudding that consisted of cottage cheese, almond extract, cinnamon mixed with Sweet 'N Low, and "lite" bread, mushed into, well, mush. You get the idea. It gives me the willies just thinking about it.**
At some point I simply could not eat another one of those meals. Could not. It's not because I'm such a gourmand that I couldn't bring myself to eat fake food. It's because, as twistie says, of the cognitive dissonance.
Lovely concept, cognitive dissonance. It refers to the mind-blowing distance between what is and what should be. In this case, food should be substantive. It should have enough calories to make you feel satisfied. It should taste good. It should look appealing. Faux diet meals do none of the above. Hence, they trip you right into cognitive dissonance.
So now I have an intelligent-sounding answer to offer the next time I am sitting at a potluck table and neighbors start whipping out the Weight Watchers "brownies," made with applesauce, cocoa powder, and aspartame: "No thanks, I'm allergic to the cognitive dissonance."
**If you're a veteran of 1970s and 80s WW and haven't seen Wendy McClure's hilarious take on those recipes, you are missing the laugh of a lifetime. Check it out.