I deserve it. This cookie, that cake, a taste of pastry, a bit of candy... It's a just dessert.
When it comes to my own immediate gratification, I am capable of rationalizing almost anything. To my good fortune, however, my idea of what it means to treat myself appears to be changing radically these days. If ever there be conventional sweets on my fork, or some other highly refined or overly processed culinary assault of all things nourishing and sacred, the Frankenfood that still seems capable of satisfying my palate clearly does not love me for long.
On the rare occasions I indulge, the passion of that first kiss fades all too quickly. What seemed attractive when I was drunk with desire becomes suddenly less appealing in this more sober light of morning. In truth, these indulgences have never loved me back. And now that I am less intoxicated - quite literally less poisoned by pesticides, preservatives, fertilizers, synthetic hormones and numerous other chemicals
and harmful substances - I see them for what they are - evidence of an addictive, abusive, three-decade-long relationship with food... That's more than three times as long as my longest romantic relationship!
It certainly makes getting over boys seem easy by comparison. Moments of vulnerability and weakness are to be expected from time to time. But as with any relationship that's run its course, the reasons why the relationship didn't work only become more and more apparent as I gain both distance and perspective. Even those occasional lapses of judgment help me see what's really there and what is not.
An apple pie that once helped me transcend time and space tastes less like earthy apples these days and more like corn syrup. Fried foods that once reinforced bonds among family and friends might now send me to another room in digestive discomfort and isolation. A warm creamy beverage with which I once associated freedom and creativity would now only keep me tethered to my insulin pump, chasing my blood sugar for hours on end. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a girl who's healing her diabetes with Raw foods and nutrition) to see... That's not the way I want to be or feel. And so I'm choosing paths that lead there less often.
It's not about giving up my romance with conventional foods and dining so much as it's about embracing a more meaningful commitment to giving my body the nourishment it needs. For me, dead nutrients and empty calories in a relationship with food are akin to empty words in a relationship with a significant other. Saying "I love you" and actually loving me are two very different things. And with so many mixed messages in the world these days, choosing who and what to believe can be a tremendous challenge.
For example, is a margarita after a hard day's work really a treat, or is the idea of it as a reward to which we're entitled indicative of some faulty way of thinking? Might the real treat be to enjoy a long, vibrant and disease-free life thanks to informed and healthy decisions we make every day? And what's really standing in the way of that? Am I willing to end my abusive relationship with food once and for all? Have I been continually duped by larger food and pharmaceutical corporations who stand to profit only from my deteriorating health? Is my response helping promote or discredit that message to children of a younger generation when they knock at my door on Halloween and pose my own question back to me in that scrambled version I recognize all too well - "Trick or treat?"
With so many masks and elaborate costumes on display this time of year, it seemed an appropriate time to ask.