Many of us are quite familiar with the phrase- “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” meaning that when you’re presented with two mutually exclusive options- you have to make a choice. You can’t have it both ways.
Lovin’ the Sweets & Lovin’ the Healthy Too
OK, so here’s my dilemma- I love chocolate and other sweet treats, but I also love to eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There’s an inner conflict in which I tell myself – “Eat this, don’t eat that…put that down…it’s OK, go ahead and eat the whole pan of it.” So, it was time to bring those opposing voices into harmony.
Saying “No” to Food Overload
I have come to realize more and more the importance of achieving and maintaining healthy balance in all areas of my life. For example, I have learned to not over commit myself, but to politely say “no” when I need to. I have also learned to say “no” to food. There was a time when I would grab whatever was on the table when I walked into the lounge area at my workplace. The foods on the table were always high carbs, high trans fats, and high calories. There were boxes of doughnuts, packages of cookies, store-bought cakes, pizzas with all kinds of toppings, fried chicken patty biscuits with egg & cheese- and the list goes on. Now I can walk right by a table like the one I described without stopping to load up. I have lost much of the desire for those types of foods.
Make It Better, Make It Yourself
Once I got into the habit of reading the ingredient labels on packages, I came to understand much of what I was putting into my body were artificial food additives and preservatives as well as hydrogenated fats (trans fats). I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but I developed a greater appreciation for preparing my own meals after becoming more aware of the nutrients I was not receiving from store-bought prepared foods.
So, how have I chosen to balance my love of chocolate goodies and my desire to still eat healthy and stay fit? Simply put – I prepare my own desserts and that allows me to control what (e.g. artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners) goes into my food, thus allowing me to control what goes into my body; I prepare the desserts I eat in smaller portions; and I eat some, share some, freeze some. I also exercise regularly- my routine includes doing aerobics, running, boxing and kickboxing.
I still love those moments of just sitting back and sipping a cup of hot pomegranate green tea while closing my eyes to slowly consume a lovely dark chocolate mocha truffle petit four; I feel aglow and as if my whole being has been saturated in a river flowing with chocolate richness and decadence. It’s a euphoria that no words can adequately describe. And, while I enjoy those moments of escaping into my own world of “all things chocolate”– I equally enjoy sitting down at my dinner table to eat a plate full of vibrant foods such as dark leafy greens complemented with a baked sweet potato or a stir fry with broccoli, carrots, red peppers, water chestnuts and mushrooms served with brown rice and salmon.
I had to use the self-discipline necessary to limit the amount of heavenly chocolate confections I consumed during the week. But, I have to admit, it used to be a daily routine of chocolate goody consumption. These are the sincerest confessions of a true chocoholic.
Go For It, But…
So, if you’re having deep, luxurious dark chocolate or rich brown, sensual milk chocolate cravings- go ahead and have your chocolate and eat it too. But, it’s a good idea to limit the amount you have throughout the week.
As a part of your meal planning, I hope you will begin to explore the endless meal combinations you can create using nutrient-rich foods. Enjoy a little sweet- but enjoy plenty more of what’s nutritious.
Yes! RECIPES :)