A Taste of Shenpa, Hot and Spicy Wings

As one who loves to eat, I am always on the lookout for food’s goodness. For 58 years, there was not a food or drink that I did not indulge, no matter the consequences to my health.

Six years ago, those consequences came to call. The years of binge eating and poor nutrition choices resulted in numerous food allergies. Every time I ate, I was in digestive discomfort and my joints hurt.

I was always hungry, unable to absorb most nutrients. It took three years of researching and experimenting to figure out which foods feed my body.

Sometimes, I resort to old eating behaviors. It often happens as I come out of an autoimmune disease flare up. It is the craving mindset—shenpa in Buddhism—getting hooked or sucked in by an old choice.

I have been craving hot and spicy wings, a mindset that accompanied most of my flare-up. Yesterday, the mindset broke through. I wrote through lunch and into the midpoint of the afternoon. It was too early for supper and too late for dinner.


That is prime time for purchasing hot and spicy wings prepared by a nearby grocery store. They are not breaded, no sugar is used but they do have natural flavorings, a catchall ingredient that is ever mysterious and never natural.

I told myself I would eat just a few, maybe four, and so I ate six, possibly seven. Within a few hours, I was feeling the effects but this time a poor choice proved a good result.

For the first time, the reality of joint pain and digestive discomfort–increasing inflammation–was more powerful than my craving for hot and spicy wings.

Insufficient fuel for my body—mindfulness—meant more than mindset.

Literally, the pain from eating the wings was more powerful than my craving. It seemed only seconds and the craving was gone. I doubt its return.

There is something to be gained for straying into food choices that do not fuel my body. Over time, I have learned which nutrient dense foods will help even out my body’s reaction.

This time, I got results within hours; that does not always happen. I remain grateful.

Eating mindfully is not about labeling food as good or bad. There’s no judgment involved. Mindful eating means being aware of what each food offers my body. All food is fuel. The choice is mine.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity in daily doses. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page. 


2 thoughts on “A Taste of Shenpa, Hot and Spicy Wings

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  1. I love the photo accompanying this. Our feathered friends know without thinking what provides nourishment. And thank you for the reminder about what mindfulness really means in relation to nourishing our bodies. I recently experienced a shift in the way my body deals with foods I used to love, which has required a corresponding shift in my eating habits. At first, I kicked and screamed (and didn’t make changes, and continued suffering). Recently, I have been able to look at it more as opportunity than as deprivation.


    1. Good for you, Audrey! It took me a very long time not to feel deprived of food. And like you, I continued to suffer. It is interesting that we go to the same experience and expect different results. 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed a photo! It is one of my favorites. Thanks, Audrey.


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