Tip of the iceberg

Hi, my name is Jamie and I’m an iceaholic.

That’s right. I’m an ice fiend. That statement is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me explain.

I do, in fact, have low iron. Many a time have I been turned away from donating blood for this reason. I haven’t actually gone to a doctor to get it checked out, but it’s on my list of things to do some day… anyway, I digress.

It started back in high school and got substantially worse as time went by.

I’d grab a big tumbler and fill it with crushed ice from the freezer. So easy, so accessible. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.

In college, I developed the habit of crunching ice while driving, mostly because my family couldn’t stand the noise at home. So as I was leaving the house, I’d fill my cup and chew it in the solace of my car.

When I moved out, my new apartment didn’t have the convenience of an ice maker. So I used trays. I’m very possessive of my ice, so when company comes, I’d have to make extra. My ex-boyfriend filled my ice cube trays once and I yelled at him. He filled them all the way. Who does that? The cubes are larger and take longer to freeze. Nope, I fill mine a little over half, maximizing crunch to freeze time ratio.

I have it down to a science. I have my freezer set to the coldest temperature. I know which ice cube trays I like the most, and how to stack them so they freeze just how I like it. I have five. Four go in the main part of the freezer, the fifth goes in the door (it freezes faster that way).

In the morning, I wake up and empty my trays. That usually fills two large cups. One for now, one for later (any extras being dumped in the storage bin in the freezer). Refilling the trays, I wait two hours – and of course eat that second cup of ice from the morning. Before heading to work, I empty them again so I have a cup of ice in the car. There’s typically ice left since it’s a short ride, so my coworkers graciously bear with me as I grind on their nerves. On my dinner break, I stop back at my house because of course, my trays are frozen and ready to be munched. Then after work, much to my delight, they’re ready again. Twist, crack, plink plink plink. Two more cups of ice. If I stay up late enough watching tv, they’re ready right before bed. The perfect bedtime snack, even if I’ve already brushed my teeth!

Even waitresses at my regular haunts know of my crazy habit. They serve me an extra cup of ice without even having to ask. I also tend to steal friends’ and family members’  drinks when they’re done so I can chow down on their leftover ice.

So there you have it. Five rotations of five ice cube trays a day: 25 trays. That’s been the routine for the last year (and quite similar for the past ten years…). That is, up until 29 days ago.

I was challenged. Can you go without ice for 30 days? I said sure. I don’t need it. I just really like it. Crunching ice is like having a stress ball. It’s one of the ways I deal with pressure and problems and other stressors. Chomp them away.

The first day without ice was interesting. I didn’t walk into work with tremors because I hadn’t gotten a fix or anything. But I did notice that night when I went to watch tv just how automatic of a habit it was. I said to myself, “this is when I’d get a cup of ice.” After that episode was done, “this is when I’d refill my cup.”

I tried drinking a lot of water, but was constantly thirsty. I couldn’t get enough water. I think I’ve drank more water than I typically take in with ice, so I can’t explain that one. But honestly, I’ve just been so thirsty this month.

Smoothies are great. And frozen. I bought a bunch of fruit, froze it, and started making smoothies (without ice, just frozen ingredients). I even added spinach to try to boost my iron levels.

I bought a bunch of crunchy foods. Potato chips, taco bell cinnamon twists… I even started munching on the frozen fruit. I bought a pack of gum to keep my jaw in shape.

I still got ice in my drinks from restaurants. I only drank from a straw so as not to eat the ice. It was actually somewhat therapeutic to stir the ice with the straw, you know, that stress relief.

About 20 days into the challenge I started dreaming about ice. I’d realize I was dreaming that I had accidentally started chewing ice and had ruined the challenge. I chalk that up to being stressed about failure.

Now that I’m on day 29, I can truly say that I don’t need ice. Does that mean I’ll continue in my no-ice adventure? Heck no! Does it mean I should probably cut back before someone puts me on “my strange addictions”? Yeah, probably a good idea. I can chill out (lol) some and reduce the number of times I head to the freezer.

I will definitely be rinsing out my ice trays and refilling them tomorrow so I’m ready for my cup of ice Wednesday morning.

Yes it’s cold. No my teeth aren’t sensitive. Yes, I’ve cut my mouth millions of times on sharp pieces of ice. I love visiting hospitals because they have great ice. I go through the Wendy’s drive-thru and order food just because I want a huge cup of their perfect pellet ice. I know I have a problem.

“I’ll travel the sub-zero tundra
I’ll brave glaciers and frozen lakes
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg
I’ll do whatever it takes  To change.”

–Owl City

P.S. I came across this article which pretty much spells out what’s wrong with me to a T. It appears to be written by someone researching ice addictions who was not in fact an ice cruncher. “They were showing people crunching and eating ice cubes as if it was Captain Crunch cereal.”