I love healthy food.
But I also have to be true to my female form: I LOVE LOVE LOVE chocolate as my treat of choice! Perhaps you do to? Learning to indulge in it without ruining my health has been one of the most pleasurable lessons about health and balance I have learned.
My patients ask me all the time what are considered "good" and "bad" foods to eat. What I love about this question is that people are interested in what they are putting in their bodies and more curious about what is going to promote their health. What I hate about it is the judgment and guilt that underlies the question. Having treats is part of a healthy diet, here's how I enjoy them - within reason.
Treats are just that, treats. When you eat a diet that is more plant-based, wholesome, and nutrient dense on a regular basis – you have earned yourself the wiggle room to have a treat. Your body is a beautiful and resilient machine, it can handle a little celebration once in a while. I do this. For example, once a week I allow myself some chocolate; milk chocolate at that! Why? Because I enjoy it. And I make a point of milking the experience for all the enjoyment I can.
I am aware that if I allowed myself, chocolate, bread, and coffee might be my only food groups. I enjoy them all immensely. Through testing it, I also know that this diet is going to lead me down a path towards depression, lethargy, acne and weight gain. Easter weekend provides the perfect annual testing ground for that theory. What I've learned is that, by eating treats all the time, my enjoyment of them decreases. I also know that it's time to lay off eating it when my cravings for it become daily. Slipping that far down the slope is hard, because you have to have the discipline and will power to get back on track. The art, becomes learning how much you can treat yourself, before the scales tip. I have learned to never eat it mindlessly – its chocolate. Like all things worth worshiping, it deserves my respect.
Want more healthy tips that work for your busy lifestyle? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter!
Foods are just foods. They aren't in and of themselves good or bad, angelic or evil so to speak. You've defeated the purpose of a treat if you just feel guilty about it later. Foods are merely more or less nutritious for a human body. The goal is not to be perfectly healthy in your food choices – its about nourishing your body. The idea is to choose foods that are highly nourishing the majority of the time, but recognize that there is a point where you can become too extreme. Even as a physician, I recognize Life is about having fun – and honestly, I wouldn't want to live a life without chocolate!
As always, I hope this post has served you. If it has let me know in the comments section. How will you balance your treats into your regular healthy diet?
I hate spam too. Your email is safe with me.
This self-assessment quiz will help you give yourself a quick, but thorough check-up on your health habits in 8 key health performance areas.