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In Defense of Pleasure

December 12, 2014

Sometimes patients come see me, and proudly say, “I don’t eat any gluten, dairy, or sugar, and I don’t drink alcohol” and the expectation is that I will say “How wonderful!” but what I say is “Poor you!  Every day must be stressful thinking at every meal of what you cannot eat.”

I do not prescribe very restricted diets.  If you have acne, I will suggest cutting out or reducing cow’s milk and ice cream, and recommend a low glycemic index diet, which is a diet that is low in processed food and sugar. I will suggest cutting out soda, both regular and diet.   In general, I DO believe in an anti-inflammatory diet, and that eating in a healthy way will positively impact your skin’s appearance.  And if you feel better eating a certain way, or restricting certain things, then power to you for figuring it out and sticking to it.

But sometimes, in an effort to live a more healthy life, people go too far in not allowing themselves to ENJOY what they are eating or drinking, and feel guilt about something that, in moderation, is really not the end of the world. Health is about balance – The Chinese and Indian traditional medical systems are based on the concept of finding balance in the body.  My point is that pleasure should enter into the equation when looking for balance.

I relished every french fry and sip of my Manhattan (always rye-based, not bourbon-based please) last night.  I feel zero guilt.  Today, my eating will be a return to healthier choices.  Or maybe tomorrow 😉