Not counting the short period where I had to take appetite stimulants at a very young age, eating has always been an enjoyable event for me. However, my choice of pleasurable eating was not always healthy. When my parents signed me up for nutritious school cafeteria meals, I sold the tickets and instead bought hamburgers from the canteen as well as pistachio Tombi chips that I would salaciously enjoy after school. When I got to my twenties, McDonald’s was on my cell phone’s speed dial. I never scrutinized these decisions because of the luxury that youth and genetics affords in terms of staying thin whilst still eating “badly.” While others at my age were following diet fads, I was still after the Big Mac. It wasn’t until McDonald’s changed its ingredients to an inedible degree that my “guilty pleasure,” was taken from me. It was during this time that I began listening and understanding my body; that eating those beloved chips was as nutritious as eating the package itself.
Today I eat avocado and broccoli not because someone imposed it, but because I truly find them “delicious.” (Just like the ‘good burger and beer’ combo that I will never give up) I don’t know if it’s luck or an inner awareness of health benefits that allows me to enjoy healthy foods, but there is one truth: eating the right foods is the greatest show of gratitude we can afford our marvelously working bodies.
If there is something we crave that we know is unhealthy, I say, first understand what this particular food does to your body. If you still feel like eating it, then remember that there is always the option of consuming “less.” And then give the healthy stuff a try and remember that you can always find peace of mind and pleasure simultaneously!
Photo: Andy Warhol’s hamburger scene from Danish director Jorgen Leth’s film 66 Scenes from America.