Just because you crave it, doesn’t mean you should eat it. But just because you shouldn’t eat it doesn’t mean ya can’t! The fun of being an adult is you don’t have to wait for your birthday to eat cake. (Close, mine is only a few days away!)
Here’s the question, though: Are you eating your cake consciously?
Are you eating it because you want to and have deliberately chosen to do so, and you feel good about that choice, or because your brain chemicals are saying “yummy” and overriding your willpower to not eat it, in spite of your perfectly intact awareness of the consequences?
I played the willpower game last month, saying, “No thank you” to sugars for the duration of March… With the bitty exceptions of one cookie, some chocolate soy milk (running recovery drink, man), and two or three choice brownies (choice as in gluten-free vegan with organic *unprocessed* sugar, yeaaah!).
In allowing a few exceptions for the month, I was a little more flexible through this 30 day challenge than in the past. I have done 100% no sugars (other than natural fruit) for 30 days on other occasions. My point in doing these challenges at all is for systems reset, to exercise mind-over-matter, and also to push back on the inundation of sugar over-saturation in our food supply. (Read labels. It will start to gross you out…)
Releasing my sugar intake restriction in the new month (best month of the year, April babies unite!), I went ahead and followed my bliss to this piece of highly processed and disgustingly delicious yellow lemon cake. Because of, guess what? Craviiiiings. For days I’ve been hankering after a cupcake with frosting. Saw this cake at the grocery store and decided it would do. 🙂 Got home, sat myself down at the table with an icey glass of almond milk, and relished mightily.
I did this deliberately and consciously, in a totally consensual act between mind and body, with full acceptance of the likely consequences of feeling icky afterward. I even chose my utensil with intention, picking up a heavy-handled silver fork with the thought of, “Yes. This looks indulgent.”
Ideally I would eat nothing but the purest, cleanest foods all the time, but I am not always above the influence of marketing, sentiment, social complaisance, or physical chemistry igniting a sweet tooth (hello Lady Hormones!).
What we do now and then has consequence, but minimally. What we do on a regular basis, daily and weekly, is what really counts over the span of years and the course of our lives.
Consistent healthy eating habits matter, and even though I grew up with a comparatively wholesome diet, it is still an ongoing development for me to improve mine. I am a voracious label reader and have experimented with multiple health-centric dietary options including whole foods and gluten-free, in addition to sugar-free.
I like to explore and continually build a better, more holistic relationship to my food. Also a compassionate one, which is why I eat a vegetarian diet and have leaned into vegan as well. I am not perfect, and my choices are not for everyone. But the rippling chain of cause-effect that buying one item at the grocery store can send out boggles the mind, when you stop to consider everyone and every thing involved in its creation. It feels good to take that into account and take care of the whole planet, not just succumb to the passing cry of tastebuds.
Healthy eating serves as an opportunity to positively influence the world around us–to be the example and invest with our dollar in good, sustainable practices and kind hearts rather than rich companies that don’t care a whit about anyone’s wellbeing. (I’m looking right at you, Coca-Cola. “Open Happiness”–ugh! 10 packets of processed sugar in one bottle, folks. That’s a temporary high, not happiness! And definitely not health. Ok off my soap box… climbing down now… I am not opposed to the occasional Rum and Coke, so I can’t get too carried away…)
If you want a life journey that feels as good as it looks, good luck finding it in a Coca-Cola bottle or a regular intake of junky, processed foods. But it certainly doesn’t have to be a painful exercise in denial of all earthly pleasures to consume wholesomely as a rule. Healthy eating can be a fun adventure, and it is a sure path to a better-feeling body and life.
There is a quote going around the Web by the ever-wise Unknown that says, “You are what you eat. So don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.”
Assuming you want to be a conscious person of quality, authenticity, and strong values, then be what you want to be in the way you eat, as much of the time as you can. Then every now and then, when the mood is right, a little fast and easy ain’t so bad. Just make sure it’s consensual. 😉