I have eaten a lot of cake in the past couple of weeks, and it got me thinking about the broader meaning of cake other than it being a delicious baked good.
The cake was attached to a handful of celebratory gatherings. In the US cake is the quintessential celebration food. We eat it at birthdays, holidays, graduations, baby/bridal showers, retirement parties, even funerals.
Yet, society labels cake as a "bad" food because it contains the ever-so-dreaded white flour, sugar, and butter. We've gone as far as labeling these ingredients as "toxic" despite the fact that they are just vehicles for essential nutrients (carbs and fat) and our body metabolizes them just fine.
Most dietitans will tell you that the *occasional* piece of cake is part of a well-balanced diet as long as you're consuming it in moderation. My profession's attempt at saying "all foods fit into a healthy diet" actually further perpetuates the good/bad food mentality by implying you should eat cake with caution and consume it sparingly.
So why do I push my clients to eat cake (and sometimes even eat it with them)? So they know they can eat cake and that there's no shame in it.
Studies consistently show that labeling foods as bad/unhealthy we actually increase our drive to overeat these foods. As with any food, it's the overeating that's the problem, not the food itself.
By telling yourself you can't eat cake, you are setting yourself up to feel deprived. And consider how this impacts you at social gatherings involving cake. It's hard to be fully engaged with the other people there (the point of going to a party) when you are restraining yourself from eating the cake.
Thus, it's not that I want my clients to eat cake just for the sake of eating cake. I want you to be able to eat cake without feeling guilty, and to be able to fully participate in social experiences where cake may be present.
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