Yesterday, while returning from a family weekend in Michigan, I read my latest copy of Real Simple.

To my delight, I discovered a refreshing piece entitled “Balance: The Clean Eating Rules to Follow and to Break.” Finally. An article that handles food in a way that doesn’t heap loads of guilt on the reader and make certain foods taboo.

The main point: Mom was right. Moderation in all things. Also, food meets more than a physical need in our bodies. It has emotional and mental components to it as well.

Hello, anyone ever stress eat?

Yes, I want to eat healthy and fuel my body with foods that will keep it going for many years to come. Yes, I’m grateful to live in an age where I benefit from food-science research and know that dark leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants that fight many types of cancer. Yes, I care about the planet and want my food to come from nearby (New York for me), not Chile or California.

But, I also don’t want these desires to cause me to miss out on the pleasure of food and the enjoyment that comes when it is shared with others around a table. I don’t want to “ban” certain foods from my diet and say, “I will never eat that.”

One of the best lines in the article said, “Don’t be overly rigid.” I couldn’t agree more.  

Which was why over the weekend I ate dessert after lunch AND after dinner. I enjoyed potato chips and dips. I ate foods I don’t eat all the time. And that’s just fine. Since I don’t do this very often, these splurges don’t affect my overall eating habits and I shouldn’t look back at all.

On Monday afternoon, after most of the family had left, I sat outside with my sister-in-law and my nephew’s wife. I sipped white wine and ate potato chips at 3:30 pm. We talked and relaxed. We went for a swim. Later, we assembled a dinner from some of the leftovers.

I came away from the weekend grateful—for the making of new memories with loved ones and for the sharing of stories, for times of silliness and times of seriousness, for the beauty of God’s creation so evident on Clifford Lake. And, I’m grateful for the part food played in all of it.


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