It's taken me a while to work my head around this blog post as it's such a complex topic but what I really want to say is that guilt's a wasted emotion in my opinion. If you enjoy your indulgences, then enjoy them guilt-free. If they make you feel guilty, then life's too short to regret every meal or mouthful so eat what will give you energy and leave your mind clear. If that means avoiding certain foods, then that's fine. You do you.
Guilt's a tough one isn't it? We've rather got to the point where we're 'guilt proud' when it comes to food. We know we'll indulge during special occasions like Christmas and Easter. And we know that the first day back at work after the holidays will be taken up comparing our Easter egg binges with twinges of both pride and guilt. But if we really feel that guilty, why do we do it?
Surely guilt is designed (if there is any design in this crazy world) to stop us from repeating our mistakes? We learn to change our behaviour to avoid this uncomfortable feeling. Yet when it comes to food, we don't. We've all overeaten on more than one occasion. Every Christmas and every Easter is the same. And our definition of a 'special occasions' gets wider and wider. St Patrick's Day. May Day Bank Holiday. The Royal Wedding. Where do we draw the line? If we're really living in the moment, isn't every weekend a special occasion?
But by this definition, we fall into the mindset of eating what we want to enjoy ourselves because 'life's too short'. The irony is, though, that if we eat like this life really does get shorter. And it becomes less enjoyable, not more enjoyable. We feel tired, lethargic and sick. We suffer from headaches, joint pain, and chest pains. Or I do at least. So how do we find a balance? Well, let's revisit that question of 'if we really feel guilty about overindulging, why do we do it?' One explanation is that foods can be addictive. It makes it hard to just have a little and we eat more than we planned. There are differing opinions on this but I've found it to be true from personal experience.
I find plant-based eating is a great solution if you struggle with addictive foods and I often find it easier to decide ahead of time what I want to indulge in and what I don't. Some foods are just a no-go for me. Don't feel guilty tucking into your Easter Eggs but try to avoid 'waiting until Monday' to start your healthy habits and fill up on veg and whole grains rather than empty snacks to balance out your energy levels. And if you'd rather, you can steer clear of the sugar altogether if it is going to ultimately make you feel 'guilty'. Because life's definitely too short for that.
Love Zoe x
PS Jamie Oliver has some great plant-based alternatives to Easter main meals that are definitely worth checking out.