But its gluten-free!
So what is the deal with ‘healthy indulgence’? I don’t understand the concept really. Either, the concept is retarded or I just don’t get it. And since there are bunch of stuff I simply don’t get (like linking food habits and morality, the elliptical, coding etc.) and since there are also a bunch of other widely accepted concepts that are, in reality, retarded, please hang with me while I try and figure out what this ‘healthy indulgence’ is all about.
Before I get into why the concept of ‘healthy indulgence’ is asinine, I’d like to mention why it is fundamentally retarded.
Part 1 – The fundamental retardation
v. in·dulged, in·dulg·ing, in·dulg·es
1. To yield to the desires and whims of, especially to an excessive degree.
Now, I’m sure we all know, that as a general rule, too much of anything isn’t good and this holds true for anything from alcohol to exercise to food. If you remember, I argued in my article about grains
, that for the majority of the people, it isn’t the consumption of grains that is the problem, but the overconsumption. Using the same reasoning, I think we can all safely claim that irrespective of how healthy (or unhealthy) a food is, overconsumption is indeed detrimental.
If you are aware of the concept of ‘food reward’, you will understand that the more a food rewards you the more you are prone to consume it in excess and consistent consumption (and hence overconsumption) of such a food will result in making you overweight/obese and/or diseased. But since we are discussing why the concept is fundamentally retarded, let me elaborate.
We all know I’m crazy about cheesecake. Every time I eat an awesome cheesecake I get transported to a different world! Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with that ‘cos the cheesecake was created to please and it does its job pretty darn well. The sole purpose of its existence is to please the human senses – look, smell and taste – and hence I salute any awesome cheesecake. The cheesecake, in all its greatness, is made up of sugar and fat, which as Dr. Kessler explains in The End Of Overeating, is a combination that is irresistible to the human brain. So when you do eat a piece, the reward centers in your brain are activated and since that activation is desirable to your body, it drives you to eat more and more and more.
So now let’s say I’m addicted to cheesecake. I eat 3 slices everyday and I end up getting fat. So, in an effort to get ‘healthy’, I decide I’m not going to eat junk anymore and I start eating a real food based diet. I eat meat, seafood, veggies, fruit, dairy and some white rice. In about a week, I’m sick of this shit, ‘cos I’m used to eating delectable food and now that my reward centers are not activated as frequently anymore, I don’t really feel good. So I get on the internet and start looking for tips and tricks to make my boring real food diet tasty and boom! I come across a grain free cheesecake recipe! My eyes light up and I’m not quite sure if the food driven depression is making me hallucinate or if this is real food for real! I re-read it and it is indeed a real food cheesecake! I thank my stars and I get to making it. Two hours later, I’ve made a 14″ inch cheesecake… super decadent and yet supremely healthy!
I take a bite and I freakin love it! My reward centers are activated and I eat the whole damn thing. And since all the ingredients are real food healthy ingredients, I make this and other such ‘real food healthy’ stuff like paleo pizza, primal brownies, cholesterol free cocaine etc etc and eat them all week.
Is this helping me get healthy? Chances are, I’d be gaining more weight from all the hefty real food ingredients and my reward centers are, by now, super seasoned to ‘healthy indulgences’ like these that good old meat, veggies and fruit taste like shoe!
Summary – If indulgence, in any form, becomes a frequent occurrence, wellness is out of the window. And again, this applies to everything from alcohol to exercise to work to real food! To get specific about nutrition, irrespective of what the food is, indulgence should be a rare phenomenon if good health is a goal.
Now, moving on to why the concept of ‘healthy indulgences’ is absolutely asinine.
Part 2 – Absolute asininity
You know, potatoes are a real food and they are plenty healthy. So is the case with chicken, eggs and milk. But the healthy potato becomes the unhealthy french fry and the healthy chicken becomes the unhealthy fried chicken, when…
1. you add high reward foods/ingredients like fat and sugar to it
2. and as a result, you over-consume it (i.e. you indulge)
So my dear greedy health enthusiast, what you are doing with the grain free pancakes and gluten free cheesecakes is, in reality, the same! You take a real food and add high reward foods (which could be other real food) to it and process it till it becomes a food that activates your reward centers immensely. So in addition to fooling yourself that you are actually eating real food, you are training your taste buds to like nothing but foods that are excessively stimulating.
Summary – Real food means food in a form as close as possible to its original form. Some amount of cooking/processing is acceptable and, in fact, beneficial. The problem arises when the cooking/processing is aimed at making all food excessively delectable.
Part 3 – Reality check
So my recommendations –
1. Stop whining. Be a (hu)man and eat real food for the most part.
2. As long as you are generally healthy, eat junk every once in a while and when you do so, eat the real thing for crying out loud!
3. If you have an autoimmune condition that will end up killing you if you eat a certain food, then use a little common sense and stay away from it.
Sure it is commendable that you want food manufacturers to stop making junk food look and smell like real food. But first, smack yourself in the ass and stop trying to make real food taste like junk food!