So what happens the week after you do a Whole Foods Cleanse and swear off caffeine, gluten, dairy, sugar and processed foods for 5 days? You are feeling good, looking good, lots of energy, feeling skippy!
Why you make yourself an incredible grilled cheese sandwich*, that’s what.
And that is OK. Because food is not the enemy. We are allowed to enjoy ourselves, really. It is not all about denial, avoidance of certain foods, and feeling smug.
Our relationship with the food we eat hopefully is more about enjoyment, social occasions, savoring, anticipating, and feeling sated. Food nourishes us, not just physically, but emotionally too. Who doesn’t associate cake and ice cream with birthdays, corn on the cob and watermelon with summer days, and pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving? Our memories are built around special foods and the events they commemorate.
When we have a good relationship with food, we honor and appreciate what we eat and when. We don’t worry about what we eat and have less stress about our food choices. We have the freedom to eat what we want when we want.
Do you think you may have a bad relationship with your food? You may if:
You feel guilty about eating
You feel shame when you eat something “bad”
You are always counting calories
You binge eat
You restrict or deny yourself
You “yo-yo” diet, with your weight going up and down, and no real change in how you look or feel
You have developed a list of foods you can and can’t eat
You feel anxious at a party and worry what others might think of your choices at the buffet table
You have a list of foods that are “bad” for you and restrict them
You rely on your apps to tell you when you can stop eating today
You don’t rely on your own body’s cues to tell you when you are hungry or sated
Now you don’t have to experience all of these but if you have more negative than positive associations with eating, you may have a bad relationship with food. If you feel guilt, shame, stress or even fear, it is time to recognize you may have an unbalanced (and unrewarding) relationship with your food.
Please note that everyone has times when they overeat, overindulge, eat too much “junk food”, and may not feel so good about it. This is normal for most of us humans. And it is transitory.
When we can’t get out of a cycle that involves regularly restricting and/or overeating, or we are always on a “diet”, or we just feel bad when we eat certain foods, we may have an unhealthy relationship with our food.
The good news is that a healthier habit of enjoying your food again just takes practice. We humans eat to fuel our bodies, but we also eat as part of our culture, traditions and for pleasure. It just takes time, insight, and practice to get to this place.
Getting back to that grilled cheese sandwich*. I had some homemade vegetable soup and I thought what I would really like with that would be a nice grilled cheese sandwich*. That would be perfect.
As so many of you know, I enjoy my food and love to experiment. Today would be no different. It wasn’t going to be any ordinary cheese sandwich. I wanted something a little off the beaten path.
So, I whipped together the following:
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup of ricotta
1/3 cup of grated parmesan
1 tablespoon of garlic aioli (or 1 clove of grated garlic)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
Pepper to taste
I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl, then spread the concoction on pieces of sourdough bread. Normally, I slather butter on the bread and add a tablespoon to the pan, melting it at low heat.
However, I didn’t have any butter. What to use? I was so ready to make this grilled cheese!
Fortunately, I spied a jar of ghee in the cupboard.
What is ghee? It is clarified butter and is often used in Indian or Middle Eastern recipes and is associated with Ayurvedic practices. When ghee is made it separates the milk from the fat, making it lactose-free, and can be better for you if you have sensitivity to dairy.
What’s also so good about ghee is that it burns at a higher temperature, making it perfect for my grilled cheese. And, bonus, it has a slightly nuttier and roasted flavor profile. I couldn’t wait to experiment.
Outcome? Not only was the filling of my grilled cheese delicious, but the outside was grilled to perfection. I wish I had taken a picture. I guess I will have to make another sandwich.
Now, did you cringe as you read butter, cheese or grilled? Did you wince as I shared my glee in making this perfect sandwich to accompany my soup? Did you think “How could she eat a grilled cheese (loaded with fat) and ruin her perfectly healthy vegetable soup meal? She is going to blow out her calories for the day in one sitting.”
Yep, I am sharing this with you as an exercise in real life. We all have our small food pleasures and I think we may as well indulge them. Enjoy them, savor them, take our time with them. Feel sated, love our food, love ourselves.
Give yourself permission to indulge without guilt or shame. Honor your choice, without judgment. Eat until you feel full. Notice how you feel. This could be the start of a better relationship with your food.
If you have trouble with this, please reach out. We can do this together. Sign up now to get on my waitlist for the Mindful Cleanse, where I teach you other practices to support a better, more mindful relationship with your food. And, if you find this valuable, please share with your friends. Thank you!