Top | Sugarspeak Baking

I Would Have Included a Picture of a Cookie ... but I Ate Them All.

(post, Jenny Weber)

“Tame Your Sweet Tooth” read the headline of one article. “Can One Bite Lead to a Binge” asked another. Both screaming at me in the latest issue of body + soul Magazine (May 2009). 

My cookie is finished. Seated at a café, looking at the greening park across the street, drinking coffee, catching up with the whole balanced living this magazine aims to teach its readers, listening to Bob Marley play in the background, and my cookie is gone. Rich chocolate chewiness. Gone. Save I want another cookie. Something must battle the deep, dark bitterness of this coffee in front of me. Which brings me back to the above.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that “sneaking a few bites of a sinfully delicious chocolate treat might leave you longing for more goods packed with sugar and fat.” A professor of psychology goes on, in the article, to say that distractions like playing games or speaking with friends might help these cravings subside.

There are a couple of things I want to gingerly step on my soapbox for:

(1)   the article starts with the word “sneaking.” Negative connotations stage right! Who doesn’t crave that which we must sneak to do? Oscar Brown, Jr. himself sang of forbidden fruit and made it sound oh so sweet.  A light squeeze of your boyfriend’s bum as he walks beside you, any movie starring Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, or Jennifer Lopez (perfectly acceptable to do in public if said movie also stars legitimate actors like Jane Fonda or George Clooney) are all forbidden things we love to do. Okay, that I love to do;

(2)   How does one decide what is “sinfully delicious?” Would you call fresh goat cheese on a bed of greens cozing up to slices of crisp pears sinfully delicious? No. Delicious. Yes. But because it is considered “healthy” it is not considered a sin.  But I might call it divine.

Why must we attach words like “sneaking” and “sinfully” to perfectly crafted confectionary delights? Why attach a stigma? Should I care if I enjoy (yes, enjoy, not indulge, enjoy!) a home baked cookie with my cup of coffee? Should I grab the crossword puzzle instead and deny myself the pleasure of someone’s hard work? Good quality fresh sweets should be enjoyed. But by all means distract yourself from anything that comes in a plastic tray with a “locked in for freshness” seal or, by all means, anything that has to clarify that it has no preservatives or is antibiotic free.

I hear constantly about how one can never over eat fruits and vegetables (I also hear the obvious lack of the word indulge when coming to fruits and vegetables—cricket cricket).  Look at any diet on the market—quite recognizable by the convenient pre-packaged foods better suited for your next mission to Mars—and you will hear over and over and over and over and over again that you can eat all of the fruits and vegetables you wish. Don’t misunderstand. By all means. Do. I always load up on fruits and vegetables (in the winter when my body craves the immune-enhancing carotenoids of squash to the summer when my dehydrated cells scream for berries and watermelon).  But the message should never be that you can’t have this or you are sneaking that or that anything you consume is sinful. Enjoy life. But enjoy it as you should all things in life—in moderation. I don’t need to find distraction in a game or a movie when the craving for a second chocolate chip cookie hits.  For heaven’s sake, I am writing over 500 words about a cookie.  I just tell myself, and implore you to do the same, “there will always be more cookies and I don’t need to eat them all today.”

P.S. I tell myself the same thing when the first of the berries hit the stalls of the farmer’s markets.

Post to the post-script … There might be some instances of too much of a “good” thing. Just ask my brother who suffered from orange skin when my over zealous mother thought there was no such thing as too much pureed carrots.

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*Articles referenced are found in the May 2009/Number 36 issue of body+soul magazine.