Planned indulgences


I’m a believer in moderation and balance when it comes to eating. Most of what I put in my body is fairly healthy – and then I enjoy the planned indulgences (PIs) I intersperse between the meals that are supportive of good health. I aim for about 90% healthy, supportive eating. Some people plan their “planned indulgences” very carefully, in advance. I’m a bit looser about how I manage them.

I allow myself to have pretty much anything I really want to have, but in moderation, every once in awhile. Knowing I can have it when I REALLY want it, I actually don’t need to have it very often. I can put it off, saying “I can have that tomorrow if I still really want it” and then check in with myself that next day to see if that is really what I want (in which case I plan to have it) – or perhaps I’ll wait a bit longer before I eat it. The main thing is not to get stuck in all or nothing thinking, which is often the basis of eating binges – the idea that “I’ll start tomorrow on a really clean and pure diet, so for now I’ll eat as much of this as I can manage, because I won’t be able to eat it again on the clean and pure diet.”

My planned indulgences are often chocolate, which I would feel very deprived if I couldn’t have! But I also do “tastings” – knowing I’ll be somewhere there are tastes of things I don’t usually eat. So, for example, I might have a planned indulgence at the local natural food store’s bakery counter where they have little bites of treats. One day there were tastes of pumpkin spice bundt cake, oatmeal raisin cookies, and a croissant-like sort of thing. Yummy! Without eating very much of any of them, I got to have delicious tastes! So when I know I’ll be shopping where they have that sort of thing, I’ll often plan an indulgence for that day. If they don’t have them, I can have my usual chocolate indulgence.

Another way I do planned indulgences is if I’m going out to dinner and don’t want to have to worry about whether they used more butter than I would have, or cream in the soup. I usually choose fairly supportive meals, but there might be something extra that is not so supportive – white flour pasta, for example, or dessert. I may or may not know exactly what I will have, just that this will be a meal or a time for a planned indulgence.

Over the course of a week, it all balances out.

Friday I had a small PI of 1 oz. of dark chocolate and a small bit of a Gianna’s sugar cookie at New Leaf market, along with a taste of their broccoli cheddar egg souffle. Saturday, I was out for lunch at Chocolate, in Santa Cruz, and had a wonderful Chicken Mole with Polenta Pie, and some of their Italian Sofia dark hot chocolate. Yum!

I came up with this recipe a few weeks ago, and liked it enough that I made it again.

Carrot & Beet Salad with Sunflower Seeds

200 grams    beets, raw

220 grams    carrots, raw

200 grams    celery, raw

30 grams    sunflower seeds

70 grams    raisins (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup    reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons    lemon juice

1 tablespoon    agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon    ginger, ground

1/2 teaspoon    coriander seed, ground

1/4 teaspoon    cardamom, ground

1 teaspoon    fennel seed, whole

Servings: 5 (1 cup serving=160grams )

Nutrition (per serving): 161.3 calories; 31% calories from fat; 5.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 155.8mg sodium; 541.2mg potassium; 26.5g carbohydrates; 4.4g fiber; 17.2g sugar; 22.0g net carbs; 3.3g protein.