Bingeing On Healthy Food

Some of us, sometimes, binge. I know I do. I recently met a cookbook author who was hell bent on sharing the info that if we just make a slight mental shift, we can binge but not necessarily set ourselves into a tailspin of eating garbage for the rest of the day, night, week or month. Here’s how:
If you want your cake, and eat it too, think mindfully about food. Ask yourself, “Is this good for me?”. It becomes automatic with practice.

When you go shopping, read the labels. It’s not just a matter of “Is this bad for me?”. The question should be, “Does it feedme?”.

We have so many wonderful healthy choices greeting us when we enter a grocery store. I speak as a vegetarian, excited by the huge variety of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, cage free eggs, whole grain breads. I start cooking in my head, combining a slender zucchini with a gorgeous red vine ripened tomato, melted together with aged Gouda cheese. A little kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper, maybe a dash of chili flakes. I pop this in the microwave oven for two minutes and out comes a perfect, delicious little feast.

The combinations are limitless! One can binge this way without packing on the pounds. And it doesn’t take much more time than opening a bag or jar of processed food that has most of its health benefits processed out of it, and is often high in fat, sugar and unpronounceable chemicals. How do you feel after eating a whole bag of chips? Yes, your tongue got a flash of pleasure with each crunch, but you’ve eaten a pile of empty calories, and you know it.

Binge mindfully. Combine a few real foods. The flavor is richer, more varied, than the chips from the bag. You can eat a lot of it and feel good afterwards. You are not likely to groan and say why did I eat that? Bad for me…fattening.

That’s not to say, you can never take a break from being mindful. There are many occasions where you want to indulge, say, in a restaurant where you like the food. You might be with friends. You want to enjoy your time. You study the menu for some favorite too labor intensive to make for yourself. Have dessert. Go for it!

No one will judge you. You’ve learned how to think mindfully, and will return to doing it on your next trip to the market. Right?

Patricia E. Byers, artist, photographer, writer, cook and author of Enduring Weight Maintenance, Vegetarian Cookbook.
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