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Is it Possible I Have an Addiction to Vanilla?

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

I need to research this a bit further

A pile of highly coveted Madascar Vanilla Beans.
The Madagascar Vanilla Bean (media by JC)

I have claimed for years I am addicted to the flavor of vanilla. There are countless items I steer towards which contain or have hints of vanilla within them. I like Diet A&W Root Beer, and I am a glutton for baked goods with plenty of this flavoring. Don’t get me started on vanilla ice cream or shakes. Even the smell of vanilla brings a certain amount of calm into my life. I know vanilla is the culprit for certain, so I finally decided to look further into it to see if there is any validity to my addiction.

First, some pertinent information about vanilla is explained on

vanilla, (genus Vanilla), any member of a group of tropical climbing orchids (family Orchidaceae) and the flavouring agent extracted from their pods. The vanilla beans of commerce are the cured unripe fruit of Mexican or Bourbon vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), Tahiti vanilla (V. tahitensis), and occasionally West Indian vanilla (V. pompona); all three species are thought to be derived from a single species native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

The vanilla flavoring we all know and love comes from the fruit of this vanilla orchid. The flower is hermaphroditic, consisting of male and female parts but unable to self pollinate. First relying solely on bee pollination, the vanilla industry wasn’t fully realized until a resourceful 12-year-old named Edmond Albius incorporated a process to pollinate the flower artificially. The vanilla market was born from his ingenuity and the shared process of yielding beans on a mass scale.

A farmer demonstrating the artificial pollination procedure of the vanilla flower.
Artificial Pollination (media by JC)

So does my claim of vanilla addiction hold any water? According to the British Medical Journal, “vanilla is highly addictive.” The active ingredient is linked to epinephrine and norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline.

That’s funny, vanilla is often regarded as the plainest, most boring flavor, but it would seem this is far from the case. Vanilla contains chemicals that trigger the same fight-or-flight response when participating in highly competitive activities, like Xtreme sports. I wouldn’t put myself in this class of individuals (not the Xtreme portion), but highly competitive sums it up. “This describes me to the T.”

Here is what I have learned. If you like and crave vanilla as I do, you could be an adrenaline junky. It looks like vanilla isn’t just a flavor; it’s a way of life. And we all know that the best way to live is on the edge. So go out and get your fix because life is too short to be vanilla!

Numerous thrill-seeking individual jumping from a perfectly good plane.
Skydiving (media by Wix)

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