This is Jess, here.First of all, I want to begin with the assurance that I despise the word "cheat". It suggests to go against a commitment that you've made, to derail it or to be deceptive against it. Every healthy lifestyle will involve the occasional indulgence - but that indulgence, in my opinion, should still be something that is of high quality, and something "kind" to the body. So, if you are to have a pizza, go have a really nice quality pizza. If you are going to have fries, why not make them at home with quality, organic sweet potatoes, luxurious olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt?
The attitude with which we eat is incredibly important. Our "indulgent" times should not be a rebellion, necessarily, because that often comes from a negative place and borders upon self-abuse. It should be a positive, feel-good indulgence and certainly not anything you will feel guilty about later. Changing your lifestyle has a very strong psychological presence. You cannot simply commit acts of health if your head is telling you "I'm deprived, this is awful, what an enormous sacrifice I'm making." Being healthy is choosing foods and activities that are incredibly good for you, in balance. Everyone's balance is different (this is where professionals come in - to help you figure out exactly what is best for you).
The clean foods you choose are not diet foods, they are nutritious fuel. We are lucky to have them available to us - not unlucky to have to choose them over manufactured non-foods. We have a bounty available - much of the world would adore to have such options. We should take advantage, be grateful, and treat our bodies well while we can.
There is no snobbery when it comes to health. One thing I despise (and will write more on in a separate post) is the trendiness of health food, and people who judge others for not eating it, or gloat about how well they eat. We are all responsible to treat our own bodies well, and to help others. But there is zero room for judgment. Everybody is going through something different when it comes to food. Educate and inspire, but don't you DARE judge people for what they may not yet know. We know as much we've discovered or been exposed to, and we continue to learn. Don't jump on a bandwagon until you've learned about something a little bit more, and have considered whether it is right for you. Sustainable, ethically-produced food is nature's medicine. It is not a fancy jacket from Holt Renfrew. Stop frowning down on people who are still learning, and rather be a little bit more compassionate toward humans who are trying to find their way in the fog that the food marketing industry has created for decades. It isn't easy!
(I've digressed a bit, but hell - that's what I like about writing. The mind goes where it goes. Writing isn't my full-time job, so I'm okay to abandon a bit of structure for the sake of speaking my professional mind on passionate matters.)
Back to the point: Slamming an entire bucket or bag of something that has been made from sick animals, kept in a freezer for months and cooked in a filthy kitchen is not part of a healthy lifestyle. It's not kind, to anyone or anything and especially not to yourself. There's been this concept created, of cheating on a diet, that has led people to eat restrictively and then suddenly pour a grease-trap down their throats, making them feel like they are really onto something.
When you cook a nice healthy meal - let's say a big fresh salad with awesome goat cheese, a great oil, some fresh strawberries - don't you ENJOY it? Doesn't it make you feel great? And then on the weekend, wouldn't you rather that thin crust, decadent pizza topped with fresh vegetables, fresh mozzarella and pine nuts to a greasy pie that's been made in a fast food joint?
Pick your battles, of course. But don't forget what should always be at the forefront of your mind when you are fuelling and socializing: kindness. To yourself and others.