Chip Rehabilitation (+ Favorites!)

I don’t consider myself to be a person of many vices at all. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble.

What do I do instead?
I eat chips. Or at least I used to.

Hi. My name is Starr and I’m a recovering chip addict. If you could take a pause from laughing at me for a moment, I’ll explain my sad story. (Cue violin music.)

I’ve always loved chips. They’re crunchy, they’re crispy, they have this amazing savoriness, even a bit of umami-ness. I love the taste and texture and how they never let me down.

The funny thing is, I actually gave up chips for Lent a few years ago. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but I pulled through without too much issue and resumed eating chips after Easter, finding that I had regained self-control in the presence of chips. I still loved them, but I no longer felt like I needed to inhale every snack-sized bag that reached my grubby hands. I could eat one bag, or even share one with a friend!

Evidently, I lost this self-control somewhere along the way. I know exactly when. It was a little over a year ago, and I was at a really stressful job. I had a snack drawer at my cubicle and there was always a bag of chips in there. At the peak of my burn-out that would eventually lead to me leaving that company, I was eating an entire family-sized bag of chips every day. FAMILY-SIZED. I was not a family. I was — and remain — one single person. In fact, I was eating so many chips every day that I started gaining weight. I’m lucky enough to not really gain weight very easily at all, but I starting putting on pounds during those last few weeks at that company with all the chips I was eating. No matter how much I love chips, they are no where near as good for your body as they are for your soul, and they are really quite bad for you when you eat enough to supply a weekend barbecue with friends.

With the weight gain and the realization that I could probably eat two full-sized bags of Doritos every day if I let myself buy that many chips, I decided to quit cold turkey. I figured it’d be like when I stopped eating chips during Lent. When I found myself craving chips, I ate some cereal to satisfy my crunchy craving and sate my hunger. But I still wanted chips. Okay, I decided to have some roasted seawood to satisfy my salty craving. I figured chip craving = crunchy craving + salty craving, at the end of the day, and as long as I could fulfill those two, I didn’t need chips. But I was wrong. In fact, I ate through most of my snack foods that day, and even though I knew I wasn’t hungry, I still desperately wanted chips.

In short, I realized I was addicted to chips. I wanted something very specific and I wasn’t able to substitute other things for it.

That moment, coupled with me actually tearing up in the chips aisle of my grocery store, woke me up to a pretty bad problem. Not eating chips was going to take a lot of willpower. Would I ever be able to eat chips again?? I told myself I would start eating chips again when I started a new job, but when my first day approached, I realized I just wasn’t ready.

Today marks me being one-year clean of chips. The last time I had a potato chip was August 20, 2014. (Incidentally, it wasn’t the first day I went chip-free. That was a relapse. Originally, I had quit chips about a week prior.) I have had, on hand, a bag of Captain America Cool Ranch Doritos (Cool Ranch or bust!) ready for this day, but we are not together today. I’m going to ease into chips with those and the Fritos (see below) because I’m not even sure I can handle a potato chip just yet.

Because bae should be there when I have chips

I’m not going to eat the whole bag. I’m trying to really practice healthy portion control with chips, and that’ll be the biggest struggle of all.

Let me walk you through the chips that have tormented me the most:

There are going to be a lot of kettle cooked chips in my future. Nothing beats that amazing crunch!

Ben introduced me to these and I now LUST for jalapeno kettle-cooked chips.

These aren’t potato-based BUT they’re really addicting. My roommate and I used to have to confiscate the bag from each other. They were buy one, get one free yesterday and I’m just such a sucker for deals in the chip aisle.

These are my TOPS. I basically always buy one of those 3 bags (maybe all 3, if I’m feeling really naughty). But you know, in my obsession with these 3, I forgot about other great ones that I rediscovered right before I stopped eating chips.

Sour cream and onion! I missed you. (Until I ate a family-sized bag in one sitting, that was a low.)

BBQ chips are all fine and well but honey BBQ? Oooooooh yes. Also, did not know that Utz was a local(ish) brand!

I have a lot of fears.What if chips aren’t as amazing as I remember them being? What if my body rejects them? (Oh god…) What if a year of hyping them up has just set me up for epic disappointment?

But this has been a really good exercise in self-control. I don’t actually NEED chips. I want them, really badly, but I can live without them. It’s been oddly empowering, and I kind of want to experiment more with these year-long abstinences rather than just my annual Lenten one.

Tell me about your favorite chips please!!