Don't Sweat the Sweet Stuff?

>> Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Carla writes:

"Hi, Ashley! I've been following your blog for a while now. I found you while looking up detoxes on Google. Anyway, I love your blog because you seem to have a really healthy, balanced attitude toward your diet and training. I'm wondering (and this is a question I have of all healthy living bloggers, not just you): Do you ever eat BAD food. Like candy? Fast food? French fries? Soda? Sometimes it seems to me like everyone in the blogosphere is eating so perfectly well and that my candy bar habit is getting the best of me! Please help!"

Carla, Carla . . . Carla. THANK YOU for asking this question. It's funny, when I bumped into (Healthy) Ashley at the Boilermaker in July, we found ourselves on this topic. There wasn't much for vegetarians/vegans to eat at the expo, and we were making a crack that it'd be funny to bump into each other while chowing down on some mega fast food. Doesn't seem right that I'd (or any other "healthy" blogger) eat crap . . . does it?


At least for me, it's not all coconut water, celery sticks, and sugarless cookies. I strive my very best to eat a healthy diet. This means I eat a lot of whole foods -- you know, starting the day off right with a green smoothie, Greek yogurt with fruit, or oatmeal bowl. But this doesn't mean I do this every day. There are times you'll catch me with a glazed donut and coffee (even though I said in my homemade chai post I'm not a coffee drinker, caffeine happens . . .). I'm also known to knock back quite a few slices of pizza on occasion.

And by "occasion" I mean like every weekend.


Stephen will be the first to tell you that I have a sweet tooth. Embarrassing as it might be for me to admit this to the healthy living blog world: I love peanut butter M&Ms. I usually eat some every single week. And that's on top of all the tasty desserts you see on this blog. I could go on a while about all my "unhealthy" eats, but that won't get to my point.

My answer to you is this: I exercise hard. I party hard . . . and usually that party involves bread (yes, sometimes WHITE bread). And cheese (fondue, perhaps?). And beer (the darker and heavier, the better!). I'm no nutritional saint. And you need not be either.


The best you can do is the best you can do. It's always good to be striving to eat as many "good" foods as possible. (we don't like assigning positive or negative words to foods -- so good just means foods that contribute to the healthy function of your body.) More times than not, the processed stuff -- yeah, processed: Think Lean Cuisine mac 'n cheese, which I'm known to chow down on occasionally) -- definitely doesn't taste as good as my vegan-ized, homemade version (with a side of kale, to boot). Make sure you get in your fruits, protein, veggies, whole grains, and drink tons of water. It sounds much easier than it actually is.

But a girl (or guy) can't survive on Reece's Peanut Butter Cups (another favorite) and ginger ale alone (trust me, I've been there -- in college). You need to make sure that all that junk food is in addition to a healthy diet, not in place of it.

However, do the best you can do and pay attention to how those not-so nutritional foods make you feel. My big thing is learning portion control. I like enjoying the sugary, salty, fat-filled stuff on a limited basis. Through cooking and baking, I've even started to prefer my own creations to many packages items I used to consider myself addicted to. You'd be amazed at what a little time in the kitchen can do. I even created these vegan peanut butter twix bars.


Yes, they are still sugary and sweet . . . but they are VEGAN and made with whole wheat flour and natural peanut butter. C'mon!

I also find that when I'm at work, I fall into the candy bar-a-day trap. So, what I did to help change that situation is pay attention to why I was searching for the quarters and dimes. Was I hungry? Stressed? Bored? Was "everyone else doing it," so to speak? Now I've stocked my desk with some healthier treats (oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter and whole wheat crackers, etc.) . . . and I take those cravings as they come. Sometimes, I do just want a treat -- so I let my inner sugar-crazed girl go wild. But I make sure to spoon myself an extra serving of veggies at dinner.


I can't speak for all healthy living bloggers, but my diet involves at least some candy, soda, and fast food. And -- at least for me -- the short answer is what we hear all the time, but is often the most difficult advice to heed: MODERATION is key. I hope this post was helpful to you!

Tell us: What are your secret cravings? Do you like sweet, salty, a mix of both? Don't be shy (or embarrassed). Even the "bad" stuff can have a place in a healthy diet. We'd love to hear your thoughts. Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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