I believe in eating healthy, taking care of yourself and maintaining a healthy weight. That doesn’t mean never eating potato chips, or fries or chocolate chip cookies (just a few of the things I’m craving right now). Live healthy, but don’t lose yourself.
This past summer I had a major realization. I was enjoying some wine, olives and potato chips (which I LOVE, especially tortilla chips and especially pressing an olive between two tortilla chips) and realized how happy I was feeling. It wasn’t just the sun on my face and the complete relax-mode I was in, but it was THE FOOD. The not-all-that-healthy food, may I add. Of course, I could have had some fresh fruit (which I do, every day) or raw tomatoes (which I hate, except when sliced VERY thin) but I was feeling the wine/potato chips combination. And then it hit me: to be 100% physically ‘healthy’ I would have to avoid fatty foods like olives drenched in oil and salty potato chips, but I DON’T WANT TO. That would mean giving up a part of myself.
So that realization has led me to write this blogpost. Here I share five things I will never give up for the sake of ‘health’. I don’t want to live a life where these 5 things don’t exist. By the way, I firmly believe happiness is healthy and I feel VERY happy eating handfuls of potato chips every now and then with a glass of white wine. That must give my health a nice little boost.
1. Fast food
I will never give up fast food. It is my ultimate guilty pleasure food. It is my dream that one day (SOON) an all-vegan McDonald’s will open in the Netherlands. But even without that, I am able to find lots of vegan fast food (fries, cheeseless pizza…). And I love it. I don’t just love the taste, I love the ordering in, not cooking, eating in my PJ’s while watching a movie and simply eating way too much food. It’s the whole experience. Now, I don’t order in food every day. I don’t even do it every month – I like to keep it special. Some nights I come home exhausted, I have zero inspiration for dinner, it’s cold outside – and those are the nights I like to order in. Completely guilt-free, as it doesn’t happen all the time. This I will never live without.
All my life I’ve heard people tell me I eat too much salt. My grandmother would cringe and yell ‘your kidneys!’ every time I poured salt on my food as a child and my mother would gasp and look away every time I reached for the salt shaker at the dinner table (again). I love my salt. Now, I have tried to give it up. I really have. But without salt, food just has no taste to me. I have cut back enormously and I’ve even bought so-called ‘low salt’ which contains less sodium than regular salt. I can’t give it up completely and I never will. To compensate, I drink a lot of water every day. But no salt-free life for me.
We’ve heard arguments for and against coffee and I’m not sure anyone really knows what’s going on with it. Instant coffee is apparently super dangerous, but at the same time coffee supposedly protects against a number of diseases. Still, I know lots of people who’ve gotten old while drinking coffee and it makes me SO HAPPY. I limit myself to 1 cup a day, mostly because coffee just doesn’t taste the same to me later in the day. I love coffee in the morning and I seriously look forward to it. I will never take that happy moment away from myself. Also, it’s such a social activity! You meet people at the coffee machine at work, you meet people and have coffee together and you invite people over for coffee. People equals happiness, so there you go. Coffee stays!
A while ago I wrote a blogpost about alcohol and how I think it’s a socially accepted drug. I still feel that way, because I’ve experienced first-hand what it can do to people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t drink. Again: in moderation, alcohol makes me happy. I’m also very happy without alcohol – I definitely don’t need it to feel good. But I like my wine and I can’t imagine ever completely banning alcohol from my life. Last week I was at an event and a woman told me: “no matter how unhealthy it is, standing here drinking a glass of wine with all these people makes me feel happy. Nobody ever talks about that”. It’s so true! If you have a glass of wine every now and then, at an event, a dinner party or a night out, and it makes you feel good, what the hell is wrong with that? Again: I enjoy my wine a lot more if I only drink occasionally. So definitely not every day.
5. Truffle oil
Truffle oil is the love of my life. I remember the first time I bought it and my life was forever changed. I am not kidding. I LOVE truffle oil. The unfortunate thing is, that recently a lot of scientists have come out and warned people about the dangers of oil. It’s 100% fat and has very little nutritional value. On top of that, truffle oil usually contains 0 truffle, but has some chemical substance added to it to make it smell truffely. When I heard this I stopped buying truffle oil for a while. But now it’s back in my kitchen! Again: I love it too much to give it up. Same is true for regular oil. I try to limit myself to 1 tablespoon per meal, but will never go without oil.
So these are my ‘guilty pleasures’ which will always be in my life. I have accepted them. Decide for yourself what you can’t live without: what are your guilty food pleasures or other things you love but are ‘not good for you’? If it’s very unhealthy just limit yourself; have it once a month/week/day (depending on what it is). And if it makes you happy, accept that it’s part of your life and stop feeling guilty about it. We all eat junk food, or drink wine, or have a double espresso – who cares! Eat your veggies and enjoy life. Happiness is healthy!
Note. No matter what though, I continue to be as ‘vegan’ as I can be. For health reasons, yes, but most of all for the animals. Because no matter how happy cheese or meat used to make me, now that I know the incredible suffering that is involved on the part of the animals, I no longer want to eat it. It no longer makes me happy. I just had to add that in case someone was reaching for the bacon after reading this post.