I stood in line at Giant Eagle, my selections displayed on the belt. A middle-aged man came up behind me in line and laughed a bit. He made a comment about working at a restaurant/ catering company that also provides cooking classes, and how little many people know about healthy foods. He said he often looks at what people buy when he’s shopping and (harmlessly) judges their purchases for the relative health. I think he didn’t know what to do with my choices — because I had quite the variety of “healthy” and “unhealthy” food — from a 5 lb. bag of organic carrots to two 1/2 gallons of full-fat ice cream.
Believe it or not, my choice to buy ice cream (and consume it in small quantities on a regular basis) is part of my overall view on health and wellness. I believe that health is not about deprivation or having the most self control, but of making choices that make you feel good — physically, emotionally, relationally. etc. Eating ice cream makes me happy and satisfies me in a way that no carrot ever will. But eating ONLY ice cream also doesn’t fulfill me…. as much as I want it to– because having too much drains me of energy and lowers my self esteem. Ice cream signifies indulgence: letting go of control, enjoying the simple things in life. It’s not always right to let go of control. Some control is good and important. I mostly fill my body with food that not only tastes good but provides mix of protein, carbs, vitamins, fiber, healthy fats, etc. But I save room for that precious serving of ice cream (which conveniently has protein and calcium… and less conveniently has some saturated fat and a bunch of added sugars), because my body needs that, too.
In the end, it all comes back to balance.