I'm sure by now you've heard of the uproar about the new Starbucks unicorn frappuccino. And I'm sure you're tired of hearing about it by now. Meee too, but I have something important to add to the conversation! And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you're lucky.
The beauty here is that you can apply what I'm saying to any food you've been told is "terrible" for you. Especially if you've ever been confused about foods you "should" and "shouldn't" eat for the sake of "health".
Okay so first of all...I think those criticizing the unicorn frappuccino forgot that all frappuccino's have a buttload of sugar. I thought this was a well known fact? I guess not.
Also, there are a lot of delicious foods that are packed with sugar. Sugar is delicious. That's why we love it... But what about the things we've been told about sugar? It's harmful. It's addicting. It's evil. How can we just ignore that??
Well, to start... I'm sure you have a few habits that you know are bad for you. Does that stop you from engaging in those behaviors? Probably not. Knowledge alone is not enough to change our behavior. We have to have a deep understanding of ourselves. We have to have an awareness of why we do what we do. But most importantly, we must cultivate an overall awareness of our bodies, moods, and energy levels.
The last thing I have to say about this damn frappucino uproar is that most people probably didn't even know about it until other people started freaking out about how "bad" it is for you. I know I certainly had no idea. I'm sure Starbucks thanks them for the free advertising.
Attention, whether good or bad, is still attention. And when we draw attention to those foods that are "bad" for us, it makes us want them even more. Haven't you ever snuck foods that you were told not to have? It's in our nature to desire what's forbidden.
That being said, my first tip for you is to stop putting any food on a pedestal. Treat all foods equally.
You may think that sounds crazy and counterintuitive, but trust me...it's much more helpful to neutralize foods than to demonize them. What we need more of is a connection to our bodies and awareness of how we feel in them, and less judgment around what we choose to put into them. Only you know what foods make you feel good, or bad, or tired, or full. And if you don't know, stick with me and I'll help you figure it out. Then you can go off of those cues to decide what works best for you.
Here's what this looks like...imagine you experience what we like to call "food freedom"...meaning, you approach foods with an intuitive, non-judgmental awareness. You hear this madness about the unicorn frappuccino and you think to yourself "hmmm, this sounds fascinating! I'm gonna try one." You go to Starbucks, order it...sit down with it. Drink it. Think about it. Decide that it tastes interesting...but you feel kind of loopy and overstimulated after finishing it. That's your body's way of telling you that it probably doesn't want that every single day. You enjoyed the treat, and the experience. Now you can say you tried it...and you move on with your life!
Now it's your turn! Take these steps anytime you're trying a food that you may be unsure of. Use this experiment with all foods as you're trying to decide which foods agree most with your body:
- Step 1: Ask yourself if the food even sounds appealing. If so, what about it is appealing to you?
- Step 2: Try it! Start with a smaller amount first while you decide whether or not you like it
- Step 3: If you don't like it, don't be afraid to give it away, throw it away, or ask to trade it in for another option
- Step 4: If you do like it, keep eating!
- Step 5: When you notice your tastebuds feel overstimulated, pause and ask yourself why that may be. Is it too much? Too intense?
- Step 6: When you feel your tastebuds are under stimulated (you're not really noticing the vibrancy of the flavors anymore) ask yourself why that may be. It's often an indication of fullness or satisfaction, and your body's way of telling you to quit eating. Take note of that and decide how you want to proceed...there is no right or wrong way to decide, so try your best not to place judgment on yourself.
- Step 7: Afterwards, ask yourself how you're feeling. Happy? Energetic? Lethargic? Overstimulated?
- Step 8: Use all of this as information for the next time you're deciding whether or not to have that food again
Eventually, you'll get really confident in your abilities to detect what does and doesn't work for your body! Then you'll feel empowered to make decisions about food from a place of self-care rather than self-control.
I know this seems like a lot! This isn't as simple as zoning out and just eating for the sake of eating...it takes time and attention...but I promise once you get in the habit, it will help you enjoy food in a way that you may not have before, while learning to feel good and vibrant in your body at the same time!