A Foodie’s Dilemma: Excess or Moderation?
Does being a foodie mean eating to excess?
In short, not necessarily. However, this a common perception for a reason. It’s easy to overeat. Any time one gets in his or her car, they’re likely to come across a plethora of food options to satisfy just about any craving they might have. From Taco Bell to Panda Express, it’s these very options that create what we like to call “the foodie’s dilemma”. The question is what is better, moderation or indulgence. What is the best way to enjoy the vast amount of food we now have before us?
Foodie’s have knowledge and experience in the consumption of different culinary forms and styles all around the world. Some of these options are lean in nature, like salad or fish, but others are calorie-heavy, served in large portions, and easily lend themselves to consumption beyond what is perhaps healthy. You have seen them before: French fries, hamburgers, and hoagies (though we won’t tell if you indulge).
And while both certainly have their place on any foodie’s personal menu, we at The Foodie Channel see the role of a foodie, i.e., “a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating or cooking,” as more than just enjoying every food without limits.
So how can I enjoy unhealthy food without eating to excess?
In this regard, it’s wise to take a tip from nutritionists. Any nutritionist worth his or her salt will tell you that while it is okay to eat unhealthy desserts and snacks occasionally and in reasonably sized portions, one should be careful to not go overboard. Counting calories on days where you plan to eat unhealthy food is perhaps the easiest way to control one’s intake. But this method does not necessarily tell those who follow it the levels of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food they are eating. Unhealthy foods are always high in calories and limiting calories will, by extension, lead to a limiting of unhealthy food consumption.
For example, say your buddy is going to invite you to watch a football game with your friends. You know that there is going to be pizza, beer, potato chips, soda, and other delicious (but unhealthy) foods there. However, you don’t want to eat to excess or exceed the calorie intake you have for yourself. In this scenario, managing your intake is as simple as figuring out the number of calories you have left to eat to maintain your current weight (the number of calories you’ve already eaten subtracted from about 2000-2500 daily recommended limits. But this is also dependent on your size and activity level. You can find your recommended daily caloric intake by using online calculators created by nutritionists to find your daily intake recommendations or at least find a starting point. This helps for planning how much you can eat to stay within your healthy caloric intake. Have 750 or so more calories? A couple slices of pizza and a light beer will keep you within your limits. This method can be applied to any food, meaning that within moderation, no food is off-limits!
What are the benefits of this sort of self-control?
To us, balance means that you can enjoy your food — all types of food — in moderation. In fact, on our website, we list numerous articles filled with recipes for our favorite desserts, comfort foods, and other less-healthy treats. But we also believe that balance means that we explore the deliciously nutritious fruit and vegetable-centric dishes out there as well. While this balance can make you feel better in your day-to-day life, it also has practical long-term benefits.
In the United States, heart disease is a big threat — the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says that heart disease kills bout 655,000 Americans every year — a number that can in many cases be mitigated by living a healthy lifestyle.
Limiting the number of unhealthy meals that one eats and replacing those meals with healthy ones is a good start — another good step is to start exercising regularly. Pushups, sit-ups, and other means of strengthening one’s muscles allow for increased calorie burning and blood flow. Are resistance workouts not your style? Try Cardio! Even light forms of cardio, like a casual walk for a few laps around the neighborhood are a crucial addition to any foodie’s daily regimen. What’s more, friends and family will likely notice a change in you once you start exercising more: research from the American Psychological Association has shown that exercise can help enhance your mood and physical wellness.
A healthy lifestyle means the freedom to explore the options available to any foodie without worry — a freedom that will improve the quality of your foodie experience and likely your enjoyment of the food as you won’t guilt from eating. Why? Because you will know you’ve planned and prepared to enjoy your food before it happens.
What have we learned?
In short, the best lifestyle for a foodie or anyone that enjoys a good meal is one centered on moderation, moderation, moderation.
This world of ours is filled with countless culinary traditions and variations on those traditions. Some are healthier than others — that’s fine. The important thing is that we account for the unhealthier things that we eat because while hamburgers and pancakes and other unhealthy foods are undoubtedly delicious, it can be dangerous to overconsume them.
Calorie counting is one way to make sure one doesn’t overeat unhealthy foods. The best way, however, is to find a means of self-regulating that fits in with your lifestyle. The benefits of this sort of constraint are huge: they will likely result in a better mood, more enjoyment of the food on your plate, and better health overall. And those are things all foodies can get behind.