So let's start with gluten-free cookies and why they're not healthy. Cookies are cookies. A lack of gluten (which is simply a protein that some people don't digest well/at all) does not turn a cookie into health food, even if you bought it at the health food store. The same applies to dairy-free (soy or coconut-based) ice creams, and anything else that sounds to-good-to-be-true. Sometimes they are made with better quality ingredients, don't get me wrong, but it's still a dessert lacking in nutrients and adding sugar and fats. Unless you can't eat an ingredient in your junk food (extreme pain and hospital visits aren't worth it) then eat what you love when you're indulging in something calorie rich, because it's never going to be healthy and you'll be left for want of those things you really love anyhow.
With all that in mind you could end up having the not-really-what-I-wanted gluten-free version of something, feel unsatisfied, and go ahead and eat the real thing anyhow. Then you've eaten crap twice rather than once! Moral of the story: Just enjoy the treat you want, forget trying to have a "healthy version". Yup, I said that, but don't stop reading now...
Low-fat and fat-free and sugar-free are also things to be wary of when they are things usually loaded with fat or sugar. It's not even really the food that they're calling it, like fat-free sour cream cannot actually be cream and not have fat. To produce something like that (taste, smell, texture of something it’s not) often takes a whole lot of engineering. You may have seen a meme that says something about these types of things being a chemical s@$# storm. It’s true. Food shouldn't have to be engineered, so just enjoy the full-fat version. Yup, I said that too, keep reading.
You see for the most part diets don't work, even if they're based on sound principles. People fail themselves when they have to follow really bizarre rules that don't work with their usual lifestyle and eating habits, and force them into eating in a completely different way, usually without any level of easing into it to keep it sustainable either.
So eat your junky gluten and dairy-laden food, and your high-fat or high-sugar food. But always eat real food; if ingredients in there are known to be REALLY bad for you (like high fructose corn syrup) OR you don't understand it as an ingredient and wouldn't/haven't ever see it in anyone's pantry or your own, OR if it can somehow "live" for years on a shelf (yes pickles and dried beans are ok, but cakes don’t work that way) do not eat it!
Now here's the most important part. You may actually be willing to bake pies all day. If you are, this does not mean you can eat pies all day! Desserts and treats should be treated as desserts and treats. Our society is very used to instant gratification and it has carried over heavily into our diets especially as life has gotten busier, because treats and desserts are often convenient and individually packaged. Problem is, our systems haven't evolved to run on fast food and junk, or even the desserts and high-fat food we love and can enjoy from time-to-time. And that is the key.
So with that keep in mind the treat factor; dessert shouldn't happen after every dinner. Snacks are supposed to keep you energized until your next meal, they aren't tube-watching entertainment. Find healthy snacks you can enjoy.
"But you said I could still enjoy eating!" Yes, I did. There are plenty of tasty healthy foods out there and part of the adventure and enjoyment is trying them, also when's the last time you sat and really enjoyed your junk (or even your whole meal) and said "I'm eating ice cream/pudding/pork rinds, and it's sooooo good!"? Or were you watching TV and barely noticing it as you scarfed it down?!
So, take the time when you're having a treat to enjoy each and every bite and morsel. Savour your food, stop watching tv/surfing/being distracted while you eat, sit at a table, and if you can, share the experience with family or friends. That's how to really enjoy eating!
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© Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Kingsley-Correia and Create Fitness Health and Wellness Inc. with appropriate and specific direction to original content.