Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Like Our Junk Food... And It's Okay!

Last night on Facebook, with visions of other, better have-it-together women sitting down to wholesome, filling meals across the land, I posted this as my status:

Will it be okay if I just have Oreos and milk for dinner?

I felt sort of bashful about it, and didn't think I'd get much response, but I did. I did! And the comments culminated in a resounding YES.

There were comparable confessions. Two had ice cream for a meal. One, cereal straight out of the box. And my mom (she's on Facebook, because isn't that the way of things now?) said sure, she'd had pie. One friend said, "I'll write you a note saying it's okay." Another said, "I say you go for it [because] life is short." A third said, "Such a sad day when we question our most pure and wonderful urges." Just this morning yet another friend had a Nestle Crunch bar for breakfast, and let it be known that she's my kinda girl.

You know what? I say we own it. OWN it, ladies.

Here's the thing. Most times I would rather have a Big Mac and fries than a salad. I like fat hunks of chocolate, and salt-and-vinegar potato chips (not together, actually, but now that I think about it...). Why not get something fried to perfection? (Dill pickles? Yes, please.) Why can't I stand at the edge of the kitchen and snarf down a bowl of cereal with itty-bitty fake marshmallows? And I know, up in the smart part of my brain, that carbonation and caffeine aren't good for my body, but dangitall I just love a fountain Dr Pepper, okay?

Here's the other thing. I know as well as the next woman that it's about balance. There are things we have to eat for our well-being. I happen to love steamed broccoli and sauteed carrots and grilled asparagus, blueberries and strawberries (but not raspberries), almonds, yogurt, things with those all-powerful anti-oxidants, (some) protein-packed meats, fish and rice, and I enjoy baking (and eating) breads and muffins with wheat germ and milled flax seed. And I'm pretty decent about drinking water.

I like to have it all, baby.

It's just I think we shouldn't deny ourselves. It's about portion control, and, I'll say it again, balance. I think if I'm hormonal and want a whole "sharing size" pack of Peanut M&M's for myself (or, say, Oreos and milk for dinner), then that's exactly what I need to eat. I say if, once in a while, I don't have the energy to cook a five-food-group meal (who does that, anyway?) then I'm alright serving up bowls of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (as long as it's spirals). [Although okay, I confess, guilt gets the best of me and I serve canned fruit, too. That just feels better.]

It's not about just health, it's about happiness. I wouldn't be happy eating only greens and grilled chicken with eight servings of fresh fruit all the time. There is something deeply satisfying about the Arby's drive-through, and have you ever anticipated the first bite of a brownie explosion with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream?, and I really dig greasy Mexican food. (Fortunately I'm blessed with good genes and a high metabolism.)

It is the small (delicious) things that make life worth living.

And that lead to the need for exercise. I gained five pounds writing this post, so I'm going to go take a walk. While I'm out, answer any or all of these questions:

Do you have allergies, intolerances or health limitations that affect your diet?
What is a "splurge" for you?
Do you indulge in your wicked desires? (I'm just talking food here, so let's walk away from TMI.)
How often do you make a meal out of something not mealish?
Do you exercise regularly?
Is there guilt?
Will you come over for milk and cookies?

How do you feel about the things I've talked about here?

24 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

I love food. Really. Sometimes I think it is unhealthy because throughout the entire day, I think about the next thing I'm going to eat. (I'm working on it...)

I think you're absolutely write. Balance is KEY. You have to treat yourself.

Unfortunatley, my metabolism isn't as good as it once was, so my love of food has helped me put on a few pounds (as have the whacked out hormones and thyroid). But I now exercise regularly. I love, love, love walking and do it every ngiht if I can.

the domestic fringe said...

LOVE this post!

Linda Myers said...

I think you're completely right. It's about balance.

A couple of months ago my husband and I made two changes in how we eat. (1) we have espresso or desserts only on weekends and (2) we don't eat in front of the TV.

For me, a quad mocha girl almost every day for the last 15 years, and an eater of ice cream while watching Netflix, these two changes have resulted in a weight loss, even while taking a three-week road trip where I got virtually no exercise.

And for my husband, a pound-of-candy-a-day, guy, it's meant a drop of 7 pounds.

The rest of the time, I mostly eat what I want. It may be peanut butter and Ritz crackers at 4 pm.

And, oh my god, those espressos are WONDERFUL on the weekend!

Anonymous said...

And there you have it - great post! She's picked up my bad habits, but dang it all, pie makes a great meal. Just sometimes though. Sounds as though most of us try to be good most of the time. What more can you ask???

Janna Qualman said...

I'm with you, Melissa. Walking's the way to go! Anything more jarring gives me a headache. (I like pilates stuff, too.)

Thanks, FG! You're fabulous.

Linda, I appreciate all you've said. Amazing those little changes make such a big difference! It's an inspiration.

And I'm pretty sure that "anonymous" commenter is my mom. ;)

Chandra said...

I love this Janna. Now I don't feel so bad about having pancakes for dinner last night.

Lauralee said...

Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself. Too bad I don't have your good metabolism genes, but I still like to splurge every once in awhile....ok...more that once in awhile.

I think you put that TMI disclaimer just for me, by the way, and it makes me feel special. ;)

Oh! And I will definately come over for milk and cookies. I'll even bake up some fresh ones for the occasion!

Women's Fiction Writer said...

Pie makes a great meal, indeed. I think I *love* your anonymous mom! :)

Next time you're here, Janna. We are SO having Oreos for dinner. And pie!

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Balance it is. And that pendulum swings for me at times...depending.

And yes, I'll be over for milk and cookies. If all you have is 2%, I'll bring a gallon of whole.

:0)

Nikole Hahn said...

Personally, I approve, but I don't allow that too often. It's taken too long just to get 39 lbs off of this body. I don't deprive myself. Afterall, God did put oreos on the planet. We shouldn't let it go to waste.

Deb Shucka said...

I love the way your mind works. One of my favorite summer meals is a pint (yes the whole thing) of Ben & Jerry's. And I say enjoy this while you can, because when you get older, your body grows less tolerant of all that delicious junk.

Travis Erwin said...

"Most times I would rather have a Big Mac and fries than a salad."

I knew I liked you.

colbymarshall said...

Oh, I have cinnamon toast crunch as a meal on a regular basis. It's one of my main food groups.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Now you've done it -- ungh - I want chocolate - and not the dark choc i've been eating, but the good smooth milky kind!

I love eating something that isn't supper-ish for supper! :-D

ConnieGirl said...

Awesome post, Janna! I agree, it's about balance, and feeling any guilt about food is not a healthful pattern.

Do you have allergies, intolerances or health limitations that affect your diet?

No, but I am a pescetarian by choice!


What is a "splurge" for you?

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. If I have any dessert or treat at all, I want it to be chocolate, or it just doesn't seem worth it. And pizza. I don't like fast food -- that's more of a punishment than a splurge, but I LOVE pizza!


Do you indulge in your wicked desires?
Yep! Especially ahem THAT time of the month.


Do you exercise regularly? Yep!


Is there guilt? See above comment.


Will you come over for milk and cookies? Of course!! We'd have a great time!

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks for your comments, friends! I tried to return a visit to your blogs, but Blogger's not letting me sign in to comment...

Joanne said...

Everything in moderation, a treat here and there, exercise always a part of my day, and I'm good to go :)

khushi said...

I loved this because I believe in moderation and balance. So I go with my urges. I'm not supposed to eat too much of certain things...so I eat a bit of those things and not as frequently to harm me. At times I eat what other people say is "a snack and not proper food.' To me anything that appeals to my palate and desires at a particular mealtime constitutes food. I take care of my diet and do not deny
myself.
I believe moderation and balance is the key and enjoy even junk food as and when I feel like eating some!

Jarvis said...

No one says you can't eat junk food, just don't indulge yourself in ridiculous amounts. Obesity is a serious issue in this country.

ninabadzin.com said...

Ha! I'm with you--no denying. I recently reread my high school and college journals where all I did was obsess about my weight and try every new diet--always denying myself. No surprise I was heavy then and I'm not now that I pretty much eat what I want and don't worry about it. Go figure.

Lisa Marie Miles said...

I love this post! I have ulcerative colitis and really have to watch what I eat. I'm not supposed to eat any of my favorites (raw veggies, anything wheat or grain, pop, diary, coffee...it goes on). I definitely splurge probably more than I should. But, like you said, balance is the key:)

Laurinda said...

Oh I love this Janna!

Me? My guilty pleasure is Ripple Chips and Dill Pickle Dip first thing in the morning...and typically on those days, often throughouth the rest of the day!!

jcaddell said...

*Hides* I am a health food fanatic. :) However, even those of us who are organic, whole foods, health nuts do splurge. When I have a sweet tooth, I'll snack on organic or homemade cookies. Our local fast food place has a yummy free-range turkey burger with locally grown sweet-potato fries and a milkshake actually made from real, all natural ice-cream. I love my sweets and salty temptations too, but I still feel the need stay away from all of those carcinogenic preservatives, food dyes and hydrogenated oils. I think everyone has his or her own line they won't cross, even when temptation strikes.

Barb said...

"I like to have it all, baby." Me, too! Me, too! Now - pass the M&M's...