Today, eat what you want

May 11, 2019 7:09 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Throw your diet out the window: it’s official. Today is Eat What You Want day! Here’s what its founders, Ruth and Thomas Roy of wellcat.com, have to say about it:

What would you eat, if you could eat whatever you wanted?

‘It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine how to celebrate this holiday, really. You can eat whatever you want, isn’t that enough cause for celebration? Everyone is different, so for some people, this will mean pigging out on junk food. They will stop counting calories and go berserk, eating everything from ice cream to chocolate to cake and pie, and then some cookies with ice cream washed down with hot chocolate, and then some ice cream cake. You get the picture….Aficionados of gourmet cuisine can choose to celebrate by splurging on a meal at a five star restaurant. Do you love lobster, but rarely order it because of its price tag? Understandable, but today is the day to take a break. Or, alternatively, you can try to recreate a favourite childhood meal in your home. Did your Mom use to make the best macaroni and cheese? Call her up and get the recipe!’

The Roys founded this day to beat the new trend of orthorexia (a dangerous obsession with healthy foods) and to combat the unhappiness engendered by many diets. For just one day, they want us all to stop stressing out about food. After a day off, we should have a new and refreshing perspective on the food fads that come along almost daily, and we’ll also avoid disillusionment with what is, after all, one of the greatest sources of joy in life. They put it well:

‘Nothing beats a good comfort food to make us feel full, happy and sleepy all at the same time.’

They add, as an afterthought, that many nutritionists agree that a break from a strict diet is a good thing anyway. But ultimately, they’re interested in our happiness and relaxation. Once in a while  – and it really should be once in a while – it’s fine just to ‘let go and enjoy life a little’. Food is fuel for some people – for others, it’s medicine. But for all of us, it’s also one of life’s best pleasures. We salute you, Ruth and Thomas!

So – what are you going to eat?

Just as an aside, it’s also National Doughnut Week this week, so if what you want to eat is a doughnut, then you’ll have the satisfaction of ticking two boxes at the same time. But if not doughnuts, then what else?

Ask a child and they’ll list a whole range of confectionary, perhaps topped off with some chips. Ask a US prisoner on death row (which, of course, they do) and burgers, fries and ice-cream feature heavily. Ask a normally functioning adult, however, and the answer will be a little different.

First of all, the adults ask questions. Can they eat as much as they want without getting sick? Will their allergies still apply? Are ethical concerns miraculously wiped away? Living as we do, outside of the realms of fantasy, we have to answer that actually, the usual rules all still apply.

Thus, the ‘dream meals’ of sensible, normally functioning adults are generally relatively restrained. Adults understand that they can only fit so much in their stomachs. They know that certain combinations simply don’t go well together. And they stick to religious, ethical and serious health restrictions: someone with coeliac disease won’t plump for a doorstop wheat-bread sandwich, for example, and you won’t find either a Jewish person or a vegan opting for a bacon butty. These restraints, it seems, are unbreachable.

But what about restrictions that come more into the category of ‘lifestyle choices’? If you’re avoiding refined sugar because you’re generally trying to be fit and healthy, then if you could eat whatever you liked, wouldn’t you abandon that restriction – just for one day? And what about vegetables? And fibre? Can you have a day off?

Well, yes – you can. Adults can, in fact, choose to eat pretty much whatever they want every single day of their lives. But the fact that most of us still eat within fairly strict self-imposed restrictions is telling. These, it seems, are restrictions we genuinely want to impose on ourselves. So we can have a day off from fibre if we like, but we’ll feel worse for it the next day. We can avoid vegetables, but we’ll probably feel pretty stale and unrefreshed at the end of the meal.

Sensible adults, unlike children, want to eat delicious, comforting, amazing food – but they don’t want to suffer for it in the short or the long term. If you’re eating sensibly 344 days of the year, this special Eat What You Want day probably won’t result in much difference. Our taste-buds and digestive systems have, if we’ve been sensible, adapted to genuinely prefer a meal full of vegetables and fibre, packed with high-quality ingredients, over one made up solely of sweets and junk food.

What would you eat if you could eat anything, I asked my husband. He thought for a while.

‘A nice bit of poached salmon’, he replied.

So that’s what he’ll be having on that day.

Eat What You Want: unless you’re a child, or a last-meal prisoner, it’ll probably be Just What You Need as well.

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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