Struggling with Entitlement

I have realized something about myself lately. Perhaps it is cultural or maybe it is just me, but either way it is a loathsome struggle. I am struggling with a sense of entitlement to have treats (treats meaning- sugary, processed foods like candy bars or store-made cookies/pies). In my mind I think, “I already eat well, what is one sweet treat a day?” I think, “I am 6 months pregnant, I deserve to have a break from cooking for a day, let’s just get take out.” If I am having a bad day, I want a treat. If I am having a good day, I want a treat. If I am busy, I want to treat myself with quick food. If I am tired, I want a treat to pick me up.

I have never been the type of person who uses food as a coping mechanism- until now it seems. However, besides splurging once or twice on Valentines Day candy, I have not really given in to my desire for treats, but the mind game is driving me crazy. I feel as if all our diet changes were for nothing since I am craving unhealthy food. Perhaps it is my appetite going into overdrive mode to pack on more pounds for the baby on the way. I have to constantly remind myself that eating sugary treats does not do my body or the baby any good. In fact, it may actually be harmful because sugary, processed foods actually depletes our bodies of vital nutrients.

My unhealthy cravings have made me think more about all the messages that we are bombarded with everyday that tell us our satisfaction and fulfillment comes from products- like food. This of course, is far from true, but it still difficult to manuever through all the messages we hear, see and touch on a daily basis. I’ve often wondered, “Is my body really craving a Coke right now or have I just seen too many ads for Coke or is it a combination of both?” It has been ages since I have had a Coke, but even typing this out makes me thirsty for a Coke. How sad is that?

I admit I have caved on a few occasions this past month. I had a few truffles. I had a few pretzels from Auntie Annes. I have had three strawberry banana smoothies and two fish sandwiches (my latest pregnancy craving) from McDonalds. I ate two chocolate bars that my husband brought home for me as a treat; and I had a handful or two of Valentine’s candy at two get-togethers we attended. This has been the worse “treat” month ever. Pregnancy or not, I have resolved to end my unhealthy “treating” or at least significantly reduce it.

Here are some things that I do (and should do more often) when I have particularly strong cravings for unhealthy, processed food:

  • Drink a large glass of raw milk.
  • Eat an egg or make a homemade smoothie with an egg yolk in it.
  • Eat before leaving the house. If I am even remotely hungry when I am out  and about, I am more likely to give in to the tempting messages found on billboards, restaurant windows, and packaging on food products.
  • When grocery shopping, have a list and stick to it.
  • Have natural, wholesome “treats” in your house that are reserved for when you are craving something sweet. Last week I desperately wanted something sweet, so, instead of eating more truffles, I whipped up a batch of macaroons (sweetened with maple syrup) and had a few of those.
  • Examine your diet. Are you getting enough healthy fats & oils? If not, boost your intake of things like protein (eggs, meat, fish, etc.) and healthy fats & oils (coconut oil, butter, etc.).
  • Bake something! Often, if we want something sweet, but know the only way to get it is to bake it ourselves, we do not end up actually baking it (and thus, we do not get the treat). Then, if we do end up baking something, we are often so tired out (or, at least I am) from baking our treat that we do not eat as much of it as we would have if we had not baked it ourselves.
  • Pray! We are to have control over our bodies and not let our desires rule us.

Do you have any tips for curbing your cravings? I would love to hear about them!


Occasion to Splurge

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so is all things in moderation. Even though we have completely altered our diet in the past year, we do still allow ourselves small splurges here and there, and, when we do splurge, we have learned to savor it! As I have shared before, we do not cling to our wholesome eating habits as stringently when we are traveling or guests at someone else’s home. We also allow splurges on special occasions. Two days ago was one such occasion- Valentine’s Day Dinner.

This year we hosted a Valentine’s Day Dinner, the day before Valentine’s Day, at our home for couples in our church. My main contribution to the event, besides hosting was to make homemade truffles. I whipped up loads of white chocolate peanut butter, dark chocolate peanut butter and Oreo truffles. They looked and tasted amazing! Yes, I could have made some yummy, whole-wheat soaked flour cookies (or something along those lines), but we decided since we never allow anything sweet in our home besides maple syrup, Rapadura and honey (and things made from these three sweeteners) that making and enjoying a truffle or two at the Valentine’s Day Dinner would be alright.

I refuse to feel guilty for our splurge and I savored every bite of my Valentine’s Day truffles- after all, it will be another year before Valentine’s Day rolls around again (or I feel like going through all the trouble of making homemade truffles)! It was also a joy to bless those who attended the event, including my husband who loves truffles, with a memorable and savory dessert.

Chicken Avocado Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing

Chicken Avocado Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing Recipe!

(Serves 2-3 people)

Chicken Ingredients*:

  • 1 cup of bread crumbs (we use stale, homemade sourdough bread and put it in the food processor for a few seconds- viola! homemade bread crumbs- seasonings can also be added)
  • 1/4 cup of finely shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese or combination of both (we put cheese in food processor so it is a crumb-like consistency-the finer it is, the less likely it will burn (or brown too quickly) when it cooks)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • cherry tomatoes to taste
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • salad mix

Lemon Pepper Dressing Ingredients*:

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 tablespoon raw wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • pinch of Rapadura
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon expeller-expressed flax oil

Mix bread crumbs with cheese, pour onto a plate and set aside. Mix flour and salt and pepper and pour onto a plate. Set aside. Beat eggs. Flatten chicken breasts with meat hammer till thin. Melt butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Coat chicken first with flour, salt and pepper mixture. Then, dip in eggs. Coat with bread crumbs and cheese mixture. Cook in butter/olive oil mixture till done (about 5 to 7 min. on each side (or until chicken is browned)). If chicken is starting to brown, but is not fully cooked through, finish cooking the chicken in the oven by baking it for an additional five to ten minutes on 350 degrees. Let cool. Slice chicken breasts into strips

Chop avocado into small chunks. Add chopped avocado, chopped onions and cherry tomatoes to salad mix. Whisk together the lemon pepper dressing ingredients in separate bowl. Add chicken breast strips to top of salad (I prepare individual plates of salad, but you can also make this in a large bowl as well) and top with lemon pepper dressing or serve dressing on the side.

*Chicken recipe adapted from Breaded Chicken Breasts Recipe (p. 284) in Nourishing Traditions (Fallon, 2001).
**Lemon Pepper Dressing Recipe adapted from Lemon Pepper Dressing Recipe (p. 134) in Nourishing Traditions (Fallon, 2001).
***This post is shared on Real Food Wednesday.