Mindful Eating: 5-Star Desserts

When I first embarked on my mindful eating journey a couple of months ago I had a set of rules that I’ve more or less stuck to, but from time to time they evolve. One of my rules was that there’s no point eating anything that I don’t think is less than a 4-star dish. I’f I’m not really liking it or loving it, why bother? I made an early exception for vegetables, allowing myself to eat 3-star vegetables, because I’m not crazy enough about that food group in general and it’s too important to skip.¬†This weekend, I decided to make another exception, this time for desserts. The new rule is:

I will only eat 5-star desserts.

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone else rush out and adopt this strategy. Heck, my entire eating philosophy is difficult for the average person. It’s entirely psychological and really requires you to get your mind in the right place. It requires you to know good nutrition inside and out and to be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods from many different food groups. It also, IMHO, requires the ability to look inside yourself to fine tune the details. To know what’s working and what’s not. Knowing myself as I do is what convinced me to make the change I did this weekend.

I went on a weekend trip and I ended up being surrounded by desserts the whole time. There were Weight Watchers desserts (which I don’t have any trouble deciding not to eat at this point) and candy like M&Ms and Twizzlers. I didn’t eat any of it. Why not? Well, even if I believed the people who assured me that *this* diet recipe was actually very good (when I’ve never found this to be true in 35 years of dieting), I didn’t want to eat something very good. Mindfully, I was willing to wait for the cheesecake on Saturday. And if it hadn’t been that, then I would have known I could go out and get myself a really, really excellent dessert later in the week.

It helps that in my case I know how to bake. I buy ice cream and quality chocolate from the store. The rest of my desserts start from flower, baking soda, salt, eggs, butter, and sugar. I know something that most of the American public has been fooled into thinking isn’t so — that baking a cake from scratch is ridiculously simple. Box cakes? Why? If you’re going to take 5 minutes to mix up a cake batter you may as well take 10 and do it right. You can still get it in the cake pans before the oven is done preheating. (Or at least, you can once you get past your learning curve. I admit, I’ve been doing it this way for a few years.)

As for cookies…there is an entire aisle in the grocery store that I sometimes forget exists. It’s the one with the chemically-enriched ¬†cookies in plastic packages. I’ve come to a point where I actively dislike them, but the point might have come sooner if I’d implemented my 5-star rule because there’s no way you can pit a hard, stale chocolate chip cookie from a plastic package against almost anyone’s homemade cookies and win.

Homemade cookies take more effort to cook than a store bought cookie. I’m not even going to pretend that opening a bag isn’t easier than mixing up cookie dough and spooning it onto cookie sheets. But in mindful terms, didn’t you have to think about it a bit before you made those cookies? And in the end, don’t they taste like a little piece of heaven?

5-star desserts are not exactly hard to come by, whether you can cook them yourself or not. If your goal is to love your food, then why settle for second best? Especially when we’re talking about foods that are inherently not good for you and have almost no nutritional value?

Posted in ChitChat, Diet and Exercise.