If you want a cookie eat a cookie. If you want ice cream eat ice cream (it’s FREE CONE DAY so you better be eating ice cream). If you want a donut eat a donut (I want a Holy Donut).
(How many times will I show this picture…)
It’s Girl Scout Cookie season. It’s Easter season. It’s OFFICIALLY creemee season!!! Heck, it’s Spring and it’s rainy and that just makes me want to enjoy some sweets (hello, instant gratification).
I came across an article today that left me speechless. I won’t get into the specifics of the article because let’s be honest, the journalist was just doing his/her job. The article was a perfect example of what is called diet culture (aka restrictive eating, labeling foods as good/bad/off-limits, calorie counting, etc.), but it inspired me to write this post.
Let me break this down. First, all cookies/cakes/ice creams/donuts are not created equal, nor should they be. Sure the peanut butter cookies have more calories than the plain sugar cookies or an ice cream with mix ins like nuts or candies has more calories than a plain vanilla. The peanut butter cookies contain peanut butter, though (shocker, I know), which is nutritious and has vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, etc. “Plainer” sweets have fewer nutrients, but also fewer calories. No cookie is better than another. A cookie is a cookie (and I love cookies). No ice cream is better than another. None are good. None are bad. Maybe some taste good and maybe some taste bad, but cookies/cakes/donuts/ice cream do not have moral value. Eat because you want to or because you are hungry. Consider the nutrients that you’re providing for your body. Consider how the food makes you feel. Does the food bring back memories? I remember all my previous free cone days in the land where Ben and Jerry’s originated and this may be my last one here for a while (grabbing a tissue). Today I tried Frozen Flakes, which is Ben and Jerry’s rendition of Frosted Flakes. I grew up eating Frosted Flakes every day as a child and my dad always commenting with, “Theyyyy’rrreeee great!” when he came downstairs in the morning.
Second, why can’t we enjoy desserts (or all foods for that matter) in peace without thinking about what we need to do to burn them off? This stimulates disordered eating and the dichotomous thinking that sweets are bad and once they touch our lips we need to compensate because immediately that cookie goes straight to our hips. Wrong. We are sculpted by society to believe that we “need” to cut back later in the day (aka restrict) or burn off what we should not have just indulged in in the first place. That is disordered eating. Dessert is part of normal eating. Cookies are food. Donuts are food. Ice cream is food. Dessert is not the enemy. Sweets provide calories, fat, carbohydrates and some protein (maybe). What makes dessert different from dinner or breakfast? NOTHING. Because sweets are not bad. Eating cookies is not wrong.
Legalize all foods, including Girl Scout Cookies, donuts, ice cream, etc. And if you can’t then seek out a dietitian to help you trust your body and learn to enjoy all foods again. I am not saying this is an easy process. But what I am trying to say is that the media supports diet culture and society encourages restriction. If this is ever going to change we need to look at articles with a critical eye and wonder if what is being said is supporting the diet mentality. Guaranteed most of the time it is. If you truly want a cookie eat the cookie and enjoy it. If you want to go to Free Cone Day then enjoy Free Cone Day! Every eating event is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your body. Isn’t that exciting?
Special thanks to my friend Christine for editing this post and providing insight.