For just a moment, let’s look at this picture:
This is no Diane Arbus, I know, but still… you get the picture (literally).
This is a cake. A cake made of flour (white), sugar, jell-o mix, sour cream.
This is a cake that is absolutely amazing.
Also, for the record, this was my slice o’ cake. I DID in fact have a but before taking this photo and I DID, in fact, have some gelato, as well.
Now, let’s take a moment and observe this bad boy, right here:
Alright, so what do we got here. A burger, probably filled with a sauce that has more calories than your body needs in a given day, a pizza with oil and greasy processed meat, some kind of drink (and it has two straws, which total indicates that two people are on a date, sharing a cola! How adorable) and a bunch of other food. Fast food, that is. We have all heard the names of the well known, world-word establishments which fit into this group of restaurants. We’ve seen the commercials, pass by the ‘B’s or arcs of a ‘golden’ (let’s face it, it’s yellow) variety, or an adorable little girl who totally looks like Anne of Green Gable’s twin. As we pass, we are thrown into one of three groups:
Group One: God I need a Burger
This are the people who, regardless of how much take-out they’ve… taken out… within the past week, always stop to get a burger (or two) and friends.
Group Two: God that’s disgusting
These are the people who have a deep-seeded hate-on for all fast-food establishments because they are probably show how ‘below’ them in terms of the healthy living hierarchy.
Group Three: You know, I kind of want a burger…. aw screw it. Let’s get one.
This right here is the group of people who follow the 70/30 rule I have told you about in the past. They don’t over indulge in fast food, but when the craving strikes, they do not deny themselves either. They’ll have a burger; they’ll eat the burger and they’ll go on living. Life is too short to worry about the special sauce, right?
Alright, so now that we have adequately deconstructed the fast food triad of customers, let’s talk about why I am go into such detail about this. Well, first of all, I am a freak who has a severe attention to detail disorder (ATDD, c’mon DSM VI… it’s a real thing). Secondly, I decided the other day to stop “eating clean”. Now, that said, I will eat cleanly, but I don’t think I will like to any longer “eat clean”. What is the difference?
To “Eat-Clean” is to adhere to a set of rules and regulations in terms your diet. When someone says “I eat clean”, it is almost like in their mind they go further than eating “healthy”. In my opinion, it is smarter to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, than conform to any diet plan. This is, however, not the case if you suffer from an actual intolerance to a certain food group/ingredient like wheat or diary. Now, while I know that the “Eat-Clean diet” is “not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”, there is still an echo of diet-like characteristics which resonate.
Before I go any further, I would like to say that it isn’t the lifestyle/diet itself that I am negatively regarding. I will, when eating, ensure that I use as many natural ingredients as possible, often read the ingredients labels on my food choices to ensure everything in readable and can be counted on one (or two) hands and often at restaurants I will bring my own dressing or ask for the dressing on the side and all the jazz. So, no, I am not here to say that to eat clean is a bad idea. That would be a ridiculous notion. In fact, I urge most all people to adhere to a cleaner diet. It makes you feel great and (should this be the goal for you) eating real food will lead to a healthy weight loss.
Who I am referring to is the group of people who take the principles of eating clean, and twist them to their on decree. I am sure if you asked Tosca Reno, herself, if sometimes she enjoys a slice of cake that isn’t 100% clean from time to time. And, even if you look at Casey from http://www.blogilates.comwho often admits to enjoy ‘unclean’ foods, even though she actively partakes in a clean diet. Like with everything there is a balance to be made. The moment you say “I CAN’T” eat something because of the way you eat, you’re officially on a ‘diet’.
I used to always say ‘I can’t”. I would be offered cake (similar to the one shown above), or ice cream, or what-have-you and instead of allowing myself to enjoy it, I would utter “I can’t”. When, honestly, I could. I just did not want to. Now, if I feel like a little piece of cake, I will have it because… I can. And just the same, if I really do not want a piece of cake because I am too full, I just decline the offer, politely. But to be completely honest, since giving up on restrictions (or trying to), I always want at least a bite or two of a baked good.
Often times I have people look at my, go to offer me something and then stop, and say: “oh, right, you can’t”. Truthfully, now it makes me feel very liberated to say, “no I can and I will, thank you muchly”. On the other hand, I hate it. I know it is my fault and mine alone, but still, I wish people did not have to do that. Life should never be about denying yourself. Eating healthily should never be about denying yourself. It should be about feeling good. Your body is smart, very smart. If you put in (mostly) real foods, it will digest it well, while improving your overall digestion. You’ll increase you metabolism, strengthen your immunity and so many other things. That said, nothing can ever be all one-way. Trust me; I know. Instead of focusing on ‘can’t’, focus on ‘happy’. Sure, yes, eat healthy as often as possible. But don’t deprive yourself if you want something.
Another group I am referring to are those whole truly believe that they stand higher in terms of diet. It is your choice 100% to eat well and if that is a choice you make, good on you. If you choose to not eat healthy, while I don’t think that is the wisest of choices, that is also 100% your choice. I truly believe that no matter how healthy you eat, you are in no way better than anyone else. You are not what you eat. Yes, I am walking a fine line here, because there is no arguing that a healthy diet is not superior to an unhealthy one for obvious reasons, but I never put diets on a scale. If what you eat is good for you, then that’s fine. Obviously ensure you are still healthy, yes, but still, eat how you feel most comfortable eating.
All in all, what the take away is is simply. Stop “eating clean” and just eat, cleanly. If you eat well most of the time you are well on your way. Having a piece of cake will not hurt you. Nor will having a burger from time to time. Balance is key in everything you do. And try not to make others feel judged by what it is they eat. That isn’t fair.
Don’t let food become possessive over you. That is not how life is meant to be lived, at all. Enjoy life, enjoy food – clean, or not. Just always make sure that you’re demonstrating a happy and healthy lifestyle. :)