As a girl who watches a LOT of Food Network, I am the first to admit we’ve gone wayyyyyy overboard when it comes to food.
I think Man vs. Food kicked off the insanity (at least on Food Network) when it began highlighting and partaking in the ridiculous food challenges across the nation. I mean several pounds of food, and several thousands of calories, consumed in a matter of minutes (usually around 30).
But food has been becoming more and more indulgent without us even really realizing it.
Take McDonalds for example, their ‘normal’ hamburger was a 3.7oz burger in 1955, and slowly but steadily it’s crept up to a 9.2oz Quarter Pounder Deluxe (in what world does 9.2 oz have anything to do with ‘quarter pound’???).
Same goes for their delicious, addicting french fries – 1955 McDonalds served you up a 2.4oz paper baggie of them, and nowadays they hand you a reinforced cardboard carton to handle the 5.9oz of salty, [sometimes] crispy goodness.
And it’s not just fast food, it’s all food.
When’s the last time you looked at a nutrition label and laughed about how it says there are 3.5 servings of chips in the bag, which you assumed was a single serving? (and subsequently ate it all in one single serving, cuz, duh)
Consumerism? More is More?
I’m not sure if it’s because of America’s consumerism society and a ‘more is more’ belief about… well, just about everything.
Although, now that I think of it, we’re not the only country that this distorted portion creep has taken hold in. It’s happening across the globe.
As that distortion creep is happening, it’s overrunning the notion of moderation.
Moderation is seldom spoken of, and in its place we’re talking about things being all or nothing, and bigger is better, and more is more and all the other cliches.
But I’m channeling my inner Justin Timberlake on a mission and bringing [moderation] back.
My post last week mentioned keeping treats as treats instead of making them a habit. Cuz, you know, ‘finishing dinner’ isn’t a special occasion. It happens every evening so there’s no reason to make dessert an after dinner habit.
Indulgences should be had in moderation, otherwise they’re no longer indulgences.
And that’s what’s happened with our food.
The sweets, pies, cakes, fast food, and junk food have all become the norm.
No longer are they special occasion treats, reserved for celebration or life events.
And in my opinion, that’s why they’re no longer indulgences… most of that processed junk (while good in the moment) isn’t NEARLY as delicious as a spectacularly crafted molten chocolate lava cake with home churned vanilla bean ice cream.
Enter my stance on moderation: live with moderation so the indulgences are truly indulgent!
I’d take a slice of phenomenal New York style cheesecake one time per week over a stack of oreos every night of the week. There’s no question!
We’ve given up our truly indulgent novelties for some genetically engineered, mediocre at best food products. But since they’ve been scientifically crafted to trigger all the right sensations (mouth feel, bliss point, etc) and are cheap, they’ve become household staples.
This is the classic example of how we’ve given up quality in exchange for mass quantities, and as a result, gains in body mass as well.
No Deprivation Here
Driving the point home, this indulgent scenario is my response to people who are afraid living a healthy life means depriving yourself.
By living a mostly healthy life (void of most of the processed junk) it frees you up (aka your caloric intake) to truly indulge in the things that ARE actually indulgent – and freaking delicious.
Give me a yummy salad (yes, it’s a thing) most days for lunch and that means the ice cream mini date is guilt free? Uh ya! No brainer!
So it’s not about giving up foods, or depriving yourself. Rather, it’s swapping out generally-bad-for-you food for generally-good-for-you food so that when you get the chance to enjoy something delectable, there’s no question you get to indulge.