Dessert is the time before bed, I told my kindergarten teacher. It is the best time of the day. Years later, nothing has changed. Some turn to cocktails, I still turn to dessert. Not too much, just enough dessert to look forward to and to seal in the day. It is all about moderation. Here's why you should never say no to dessert and how I live a balanced lifestyle.
Moderation is Your New Best Friend
Growing up, my mother cooked for us nearly every night. As a chef, she never made a bad meal. She's "skinny," people tell her, and they say, "you can never trust a skinny chef." But is that really true? She is skinny, but what they don't know is that that woman has never sacrificed heavy cream in her cream sauce and has never skimped on salt or sugar.
So is it really about avoiding the "fatty" and "sugary" meals? The answer is no, it is not. You can eat all of that. But there is one guideline: moderation. Moderation will be your best friend. Moderation is the friend who tells you it's okay to have dessert. It does not have to be sugar-free, fat-free, or "healthy" with oil substitutes.
We, as a people and culture, gather around food and bond over food. At the end of a long day, it's okay—no, great—to bond over a creamy creme brûlée, made with eggs, not egg whites, and a dense and beautiful heavy cream.
Moderation and Balance
Our country has a hard time grasping the balance and moderation idea. There is such a thing as being able to eat what you want, but also being a healthy citizen with normal blood pressure and no numbers showing glimpses of a future with diabetes.
We as a people love to eat, but we also love to harp on the idea that food leads to our problem with obesity, which obviously holds some truth. However, there are factors one should investigate before writing off all fats, carbs, sugars, and salts.
The diagram of a scale is a metaphor for all things. You can balance work and play, sleep and work, and of course good and bad food. Diets are a phenomenon that has not yet gone away, fortunately or unfortunately.
Depending on who you ask, diets can be viewed as good or bad. They have never worked for me, and what saved my love for food and my desire to be healthy was a balance. Moderation is a very important step in finding a balance. When you start to recognize how to eat using moderation, you will have begun your journey to balance. Striking a balance is important in everything in life.
Should You Say No to Diets?
Our country loves a good diet. For years, people may ignore exercise advice, but the minute it's spread across the news that one should never again put a finger on a cookie with shortening in it, the United States population vows to abide by this new suggestion. Is that a problem?
Absolutely not, each to their own. However, I believe it's important for people to understand that it doesn't have to be about never again eating a cookie with fatty and delicious ingredients.
My goal is quite simple. Find your own balance. Maybe it is a diet, maybe it is exercise. Whatever it may be, let it be something that allows you to eat what you want. I'm not encouraging eating a whole tray of cookies, but I am strongly encouraging you to eat a real cookie, shortening, sugar, and all.
Eat What You Want, Just Not Whenever You Want
As mentioned earlier in the article, balance is important and a necessary factor in the moderation mission. But, one thing does need to be clear. Eating what you want does not mean that you should eat a donut for breakfast because you want it, nor does it mean eating McDonald's at your every whim.
It means that you should eat healthy and thoughtful meals, but you should eat at least one thing a day that does not necessarily have health benefits. You deserve to eat what you want in moderation, the moderation being on a daily basis. Maybe one meal a day should be all healthy foods, and then another can be a salad and a real cream sauce over pasta.
Now, don't have a heaping bowl of the pasta with the cream sauce, but have the pasta. You are not Lady Gaga, you do not only need one splurge day a week. It's a very cliche thing to say and live by, but you do only live once, so I encourage that you enjoy the good food our planet has to offer, healthy and unhealthy. Sugar and salt are worth the extra calories.