How I Have My Cake and Eat It Too

Peach crisp. Salty honey walnut pie. Chocolate covered almonds. Dark chocolate. Chocolate chip cookies. Hibiscus and hot sauce caramel corn.

No, that’s not my description of heaven (although it’s not far off). That’s a list of all the treats I consumed in less than 48 hours over the weekend. And while they were all high quality and locally made and I enjoyed them thoroughly, it’s time to tame the sugar monster a little bit.

I’ve always had a sweet tooth, and I always will, and I will always indulge it. I don’t see the point in agonizing over something I enjoy so much. I literally swoon over pretty cakes and pies, salivate over brownies and fudge, and do a happy dance when I eat an ice cream sandwich.  Suffice to say, I’m not going to be cutting out sugar completely any time soon, or likely, ever.

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Almond croissant to die for

On the honeymoon, as displayed in the photos in this post, I ate a lot of dessert. But each bite was tasted, enjoyed, and felt perfectly indulgent and satisfying. 

But over the weekend my stomach wasn’t happy and my mood was all over the place. I was eating the treats mindlessly, not savoring them. Dessert, when I’m paying attention, nourishes my soul  (and sometimes my body, depending on what’s in it). When I’m not, it’s usually just a crutch for either avoiding a feeling or a task. I’d much rather feel fulfilled by a wonderful piece of pie than look down and wonder where it went.

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Chocolate naan. Enough said.

I don’t mean that from now on I’m going to take one bite of a dessert and push my plate away because “I only need a little to feel satisfied.” Nope. I’m going to eat my whole damn slice of cake or pie or pie shake or brownie. My goal with this intention is to get back to a place of consciously enjoying these foods. Which also means eating fewer of them so they still feel like a treat.

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Me enjoying creme brulee gelato and astroturf.

This isn’t a declaration of a specific goal or task I’m taking on around my dessert habits. Instead, it’s a reminder about how to enjoy treats in my life in a way that feels good.

In this space, I try to present the way I pursue health – holistically, realistically, and passionately. And I think everyone should pursue it that way for themselves, which is going to look different than how I do it. For me, the ideal version of my life includes treats – sometimes “healthier” ones, and sometimes fat-laden sugar bombs. For some people, their ideal version doesn’t include any sugar because it makes them feel like crap. I completely understand and respect that. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that what other people do with their dietary choices isn’t actually a judgment about how we eat.

Rum chocolate cake from The Hoochery, the oldest continuously operating distillery in Western Australia

Rum chocolate cake from The Hoochery, the oldest continuously operating distillery in Western Australia

It seems to be human nature to go to extremes, and it’s especially easy to do in our diets. This weekend felt like an extreme to me of eating every sugar thing in sight without stopping to breathe. At other points in my life, I was at another extreme where I wouldn’t have touched dessert with a ten-foot pole.  Neither way of thinking felt good or sustainable. Finding and staying on the middle road isn’t always easy, but like I’m learning in meditation, when I veer off, I can just begin again.

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