Years ago a friend offered to pay for my smoothie. As I humbly and politely said "no no no," she suggested that I was foolishly doubting the authenticity of her offer to treat me. I heard her, and my heart swelled with gratitude for her kindness and her honesty. As a kid I had learned I must be polite, reciprocate, and make sure things were "even Steven." And now I know this just gets in the way of being truly present and enjoying the other person.
Guilt comes from stories in our heads as in, "I should be doing this" or "I've been bad" or "wrong." Too many "shoulds" and we start should-ing all over ourselves. However, with a little awareness, guilt can be translated into gratitude. If we let go of the shame, we can bask in the appreciation we feel for another.
While guilt is about me, gratitude is about you.
Beyond the guilt, the NPR callers were actually very grateful for all of the wonderful programs on NPR, and I was moved by my friend.
How does this translate to food? Eat a bag of greasy chips, a big slice of birthday cake, or a fatty cheeseburger and the mind begins its onslaught of reprimands. Emotional eating with repercussions of guilt is a topic so common that there are experts specializing in it. But, sometimes it's healthy to "be bad," giving ourselves a break from life's daily pressures, allowing ourselves what we crave and appreciating it thoroughly. What do you tell yourself after a treat? Enjoy that snack once in a while, grateful for its silkiness, sweetness or savoriness! That's why you're having it in the first place. Replace self-flagellation with gratitude for its deliciousness. Then it might really satisfy you.
Here's my new favorite mind-blowing snack that satisfies on my more healthful days.
Thinly toasted sweet potato makes a surprisingly satisfying alternative to bread and provides a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
1 large sweet potato, either orange or purple, washed
Fruit such as thinly-sliced apples, strawberries or raspberries
Using a sharp, serrated knife, slice sweet potato into 1/4" slices. Place in toaster oven, and toast three to four times, turning after each cycle. Transfer to platter and spread with almond butter. Top with fruit. Enjoy!