Eat Foods that Love You Back

Here's an easy question: what foods do you love?

For me, the list would have to include dark chocolate, red wine, coffee with cream, peanut butter, tahini, avocado, spinach, all kinds of berries, burgers and fries. (I have heavily edited this list in order to save time and space!) Some of these foods I eat almost every single day. Some, like the burgers and fries, I limit to special occasions.

I strongly believe we should all eat the foods we love, even if we're trying to lose weight. But what if the foods you love aren't "good" for you?

First, we need to define "good" and second, we need to look at what is good for YOU in particular.

If you look at my list of foods that I love, I would argue that almost all of those foods are GOOD. Meaning they contain nutritious substances that benefit the body. Even choices like dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee have properties like antioxidants which are healthy. And "bad" choices--like burgers and fries--still contain plenty of nutrition, although they also contain an abundance of calories so might not be the best choice on a daily basis. Again, this depends on your situation, how much weight you wish to lose or perhaps gain!

What if the foods you love are junk? Let's say you love candy. Candy that is made from pure sugar. This treat doesn't contain anything nutritious; no vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. But you can still enjoy a piece of candy now and then, right? Well, maybe.

Here's where things get tricky. Because sometimes the foods you love don't love you back.

You might be able to safely consume foods that are not particularly healthy. Unless those foods make you sick, cause allergic reactions, bring on symptoms of a chronic condition, cause you to binge, are way too addictive, etc. These are some of the problems with foods that don't love you back.

For me, a small square or two of dark chocolate is very satisfying. I love the taste. But I don't need to keep eating until the entire chocolate bar is finished. Same with red wine. I can drink a small glass, but I don't need to finish off the whole bottle. Sometimes the foods we love are too addictive: it is not possible to eat just one or two bites. If every time you open a container of ice cream, you simply MUST consume the entire pint or quart or half-gallon, this is an example of a food without brakes. A food that causes you to lose control. A food that might not love you back.

Take this short quiz to discover whether or not a food loves you back:

1) How do you feel when contemplating eating it? (Excited? Starving? Desperate?)

2) How do you feel while eating it? (Insatiable? Zoned out? Guilty?)

3) How do you feel when finished eating it? (Stuffed to the gills? Nauseous? Bloated? Ashamed?)

If a food makes you feel out of control, unhappy, sick to your stomach or just sick, this is a clear message that this food is not loving you back. 

Our relationship with food is not as simple as our ancestors' was. Back in caveman times, what you caught (or found or stole or dug up) was what you ate. Period. If you didn't like it, you starved. When food was available, the cavemen feasted. During the long, cold winters, they often fasted for days at a time. And not by choice.

Today, we have such abundance! Choice is wonderful, as long as we choose foods that love us back.