Is there a cure for olive addiction?

October 4, 2011

I have been told that once you eat five or six olives, you become addicted. That is true. I used to avoid eating olives. I’m not sure why, but I automatically said, “I don’t like olives,” whenever I was offered any.

I would pick them out of my Greek Salad. And, if you know what Greek Salad is made out of, you know that black olives are one of the main ingredients. There are usually a lot of sliced, black olives in a Greek Salad.

I would pick them off my pizza. I would move them to the side of my plate if I found them in any food I was eating. I did this even as an adult. “I don’t care for olives,” was my explanation, when I was in polite circles. “Ugg, I hate olives,” when I was amongst family and close friends.

I can’t remember ever eating olives or how I came to dislike them. I don’t have any childhood memories of traumatic episodes with olives. I honestly don’t think I ever actually tasted one.

A few years ago, I did start eating the olives that were on my pizza. After all, there were so few of them that it seemed pointless to pick them off. Besides, that just prevented me from diving into my delicious pizza. Usually, the flavour of the pizza would more than cover up any olive taste anyway.

An array of olives lining a market place in France. Photograph by David Monniaux, published on Wikipedia.

Then one Christmas I started eating olives. I had to. They would have gone bad in my fridge. And I dislike wasting food more than I dislike the idea of eating olives. I had arranged a celebration for an English as a second language (ESL) program I coordinated. It was a graduation party and I purchased an array of delicious food from the delicatessen at the local grocery store. One dish was a variety of olives and antipasto.  I thought these would help to add elegance to the affair. Needless to say, nobody ate any of the olives. So I took them home.

For a couple of days they sat in my fridge, taking up space. Every time I opened my fridge, I would see them in their container, all lined up in neat rows. They started to look appetizing. Finally, I resolved that I would eat them. I decided to eat one group of olives each day until they were gone.

So, I took out the green olives stuffed with garlic cloves. I ate one at a time throughout the day. With the first few olives, I grimaced. They actually didn’t taste that bad. I think my grimacing was simply an automatic response to the idea of eating olives. I convinced myself that olives were healthy and continued eating. By the time I got through half the pile, I was enjoying the taste. The time between each olive was becoming shorter. I was starting to smack my lips and lick my fingers.

The next day I took out the next group of olives, the green ones stuffed with pimentos. It did not take me very long before I started eating them. I definitely preferred the olives stuffed with garlic cloves from the day before. But the pimento-stuffed olives were also tasty. Before long, I had finished the pile and started on the next batch.

Finally, I was down to the last group on the tray. I thought they were red peppers stuffed with some type of cheese. Since I knew I would enjoy the red peppers, I had anticipated eating them since the day before. I was looking forward to seeing how the cheese stuffing would blend with the red pepper taste.

They looked like small red peppers to me. Photograph by Wikipedia.

I picked up the first red pepper and popped it into my mouth. It didn’t take long before I was coughing and sputtering. My eyes started watering and my mouth started burning. That was my initiation into feta-stuffed jalapenos. Jalapenos were another food that I had avoided eating. Even though I like spicy food, I always considered jalapenos to be too hot for my taste.

After I got through the first jalapeno, alive, I looked at the rest of the pile dubiously. I had to eat them. I knew I just could not throw them away. I gave myself some time to recuperate, then took another jalapeno. This time, I was prepared for the heat so I was able to eat it without a lot of fanfare. By the time I had finished the pile of jalapenos, I was quite enjoying them. And I was able to eat them without coughing and sputtering.

Now, I buy feta-stuffed jalapenos and garlic-stuffed green olives on a regular basis. I purchase them from the olive bar at the delicatessens. Nobody in my house eats them but me. I buy a medium container of each, filled to the brim. It doesn’t take me long before I finish off the container. I usually have to restrain myself to make them last more than a day. I don’t think it would be wise to eat that much in just one day, so I do ration myself.

Speaking of which, I think I’ll go have some right now. Mmmmm……


  1. I just ate a whole container of black olives on my own… I opened it for my toddler, but isn’t around now… lol

    I can see that the sodium would be an issue, but they are real yummy…

    1. That is funny, Laura. Isn’t it just the case, that the things we love to eat the most are those things we need to limit because of too much…. sodium, fat, sugar, caffeine, etc.

  2. When I was a kid, before each family holiday feast, my Aunt Dart would buy two extra cans of black olives. She would open the cans, chuck them in an old breakfast bowl, shove them in my direction, and instruct, “Here, kid, these are for you. Don’t eat the ones on the tray, and those are for the rest of the family.” Later I would hear her mumbling under her breath, “I’ve never seen a kid eat so many damn olives in my life.”

  3. I too started with the black sliced ones, then I moved on to the stuffed ones, and now I’m eating green unstoned olives straight from the jar after a quick wash in the sink. The transition was slow but once I got a taste for them I was hooked. Slowly but surely I got the taste for brie cheese…..Then fine wine.
    The next step is that I start speaking French and the transformation is complete.

  4. I hated olives before but once I tasted it I cant STOP literally. Everyday I buy a 250 g of olives and I finish it on my own. I want to stop eating it cause i feel that my sodium intake would be high.

    1. Definitely the sodiun intake is too high! I very seldom eat olives now. I just stopped buying them for a couple of days. Now I eat them when they are served but I rarely buy them anymore. That helps to cut down on the sodium.

  5. I have the same issue. For years I decided I hated olives after trying a black one. Then 8 years ago whilst pregnant, I tried some green ones in Nandos and that’s when my craving for them started.

    After pregnancy, I didn’t eat them for a while, but recently my preferred snack is garlic stuffed olives from the supermarket deli. I could eat a whole large pot, but I am concerned with the high salt content, I know olives are packed with healthy fats, but the amount I’m eating can’t be too good.

    1. Hi Mona: Yes, I agree with you that olives have a lot of salt. So you do need to be careful not to eat too many. I’m not eating that many anymore. I do have them when someone serves them, but I generally don’t buy them anymore. I sure do like those garlic stuffed olives! And I’m also eating other varieties as well. They are a treat, not a staple. As long as we remember that, we’ll be okay.

  6. At least,I feel good knowing I’m not by myself. I go to the grocery store and fill up a big plastic container full of the green pitted olives. They are pretty expensive. THEN, I go down the pickle, olive aisle and buy the Spanish pimento stuffed olives in a jar. I am addicted. I can old eat olives all day, and not eat food. This happened,,after I found out I had Lupus and am anemic. It is a serious addiction, and I’m eating them while I am texting this lol

  7. IF you has anemia you will crave olives once your blood count goes back to normal the olive craving goes away. This was my experience in the past countless times, and it is happening again. My blood count is low now and I am going crazy for the olives again. Hope this helps.

    1. Definitely. I have Lupus and my iron level is low and I have Amenia. I am seriously addicted to them. I cannot take iron pills, so I must get iron infusions monthly, and when the iron is wearing off, my olive addiction kicks in. My husband thinks I’m weird, lol.

  8. Hi Loennie: Thanks for sharing! I too worry about the sodium so I have cut way back. I just avoid buying them on a regular basis. That way, they aren’t in the house and I can’t eat them continuously. Maybe talk to your doctor about what minerals, vitamins, etc are in olives. That might be what your body is craving and there might be some other type of food that could give your body what it’s missing. That way, you can still enjoy the olives without going overboard.

  9. Hi There, I am the same at first I hated olives without ever even trying them, then I would maybe sample one or two at a party but never an olive on its own it had to be accompanied with at least a bit of cheese or salami to drown out the taste of the olive. Anyway one night I tried a green olive marinated in garlic and chilli, it tasted really nice. I started to buy those olives in the smallest container from the deli but would always eat them with some boccacini, again just to drown out the flavour a bit, to cut a long story short, I have gone from the smallest container now to the jumbo container every 2 to 3 days, and eat olives for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can’t stop, I’m litterally addicted to them I don’t know what it is but I can’t stop, I get constant cravings for them, I would easily go through 1 to 1.5 kgs a week. Now I worry if the sodium content in them is bad for me because I eat so many, every day I tell myself I am going to cut down, the longest I have gone is one full day but thought about olives constantly and this insatiable urge comes over me and I have to eat them. I woke up at 4am this morning and by 4.30am I was eating olives for breakfast, I wish I could stop, I eat them like lollies now. I just read a comment from someone else who is also addicted to olives, his comment made me laugh, he wrote his story and at the bottom he put “Dang those little bastards, they taste so good I can’t get enough of them”

    1. I’m in the exact same boat with you, Leonne! I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OLIVES!!! Kroger has now become my favorite grocery store because of their vast fresh olive selection alone!

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