Good v. Evil: The Fat Free Dilemma

Standing in the grocery store, staring at a frozen wall of heaven sent ice cream treats, my head began to swirl.  Ice cream. Full fat ice cream. 50% reduced fat ice cream. Sugar free ice cream.  Sugar free, reduced fat ice cream.  Double churned, single sugared, half fat without the cream ice cream.  Frozen yogurt, low fat. Fat free sorbet. Sugar free ice cream sandwiches. Sugar free AND fat free ice cream sandwiches.

Next, to the cheese.  Cheddar cheese. Reduced fat cheddar cheese. Fat free shredded cheese. 

Chip aisle.  Same issue.

Why is it that just because sitting next to every single regular food product in a grocery store is the reduced fat, non fat, no sugar, lower calorie, item, I question what I want?  Why does this mere offering of alternatives make me question my values, the essence of my being?

And, when did we begin to assign moral value to food choices? Good job!  You chose a lower calorie item.  Why do I feel like every time I choose the baked chips balloons should fall from the ceiling for making a “healthier” choice? 

You are a healthy eater. Get the reduced fat ice cream-right? Do I want the regular ice cream? Is it worth it.

The two people sit on my shoulders. You know the drill. Angel on the right. Devil on the left.

Angel: Oh, Girl Eat, you are active. You try to stay healthy. Get the sorbet. Look-no fat!

Devil: Girl Eat, Girl Eat, I know how you love the taste of vanilla bean ice cream, mmm, regular creamy melt in mouth vanilla bean ice cream.

Looking at the labels I noticed that a lot of the lower fat and fat free versions had more sugar. Hmmmm. Another set of equations raced through my head.

Then, it hit me, like a bolt of lightning. I want vanilla bean ice cream. I want vanilla bean ice cream. I don’t want to eat a thousand scoops but it is what I want and no matter what I pick here, no matter what I choose I will still want the vanilla bean ice cream, so I chose it. Tonight, I helped myself to a small bowl and I was satisfied, inside and out, soul soothed and body craving eliminated. Mission accomplished.

In a world where we are constantly offered a way to be better healthy eaters, better women, better people, by simply buying a lower calorie item, a reduced fat item, a sugar free item, ask yourself is this what I really want? Is this what my body wants? Will ten sugar free ice cream sandwiches still leave me wanting one small bowl of real vanilla bean melt in my mouth regular old ice cream? If so, is it worth it to plow through the ten sugar free sandwiches? Is the occasional vanilla bean ice cream going to take me out? And, if I eat a thousand scoops, is it really because my body wants it-or am I satisfying a need other than my body’s need for freaking rock my socks off delicious ice cream?

Having the options is a great thing, for people watching their calorie intake for medical reasons or otherwise, for people who have to watch their sugar, for people who feel bad when they eat higher fat items or higher sugar foods.  But, somewhere along the way, we made ourselves feel bad for choosing what seems like the unhealthy item. In reality, sometimes, the healthiest choice is the one that satisfies us-so we do not keep eating in search of the holy grail (a simple bowl of vanilla bean ice cream).

Sitting at my table tonight, one small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (and then one more small scoop), every bite tasted like heaven. on earth. in my home. at my dining table. Good job, Girl Eat.  Somewhere between the angel and the devil’s words you found the words that really matter-yours.  And, after those two scoops, I was done. Mission accomplished.




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