Kelly has been making cookies for me for many years. Over the years we have slowly become more health conscious – so my cookies have evolved: Oil, butter and lard have been replaced with applesauce, the amount of white sugar has been reduced, and ultimately replaced with brown sugar or honey. Whole wheat and soy flour have replaced white flour. And, lately, she is adding whole grains, as in grains of wheat - otherwise known as wheat berries. Are the cookies as tasty as they were perhaps 10 years ago - well, not as sweet anyway... OK, not as to-die-for as they were. Yet she has continued to make cookies that I can use to reward myself when I do things around the house. And I love them.
I make sure that I only have a few cookies a day – otherwise I would likely have to work out even more than I do now.
A healthy reward – perhaps one of my least healthy rewards. But I manage it. And, they make me feel special. That is what rewards are meant to do.
When I look around me, especially on this trip (in an airplane returning from Dallas from a wonderful weekend of dulcimers) I see the impact of diet on those around us. Recently I read that the CDC (Center for Disease Control here in the US) forecasts that a third of all of the people born in the year 2000 and later will develop diabetes. This will bankrupt America’s medical system.
From a young age we are taught that food is a reward – all too often - sweet food. Great dinners, long lunches, brunches, big breakfasts, candy, donuts and pastries – all are rewards. In fact, as I slowly became more and more aware of the implications of meat in our diet I also came to realize that many meals are judged by how much meat they include. At least in my childhood, the things that were always rationed were the meat and desert. Can’t say I remember my mom saying I could only have so many Brussels sprouts – or beans, or carrots, or apples.
Reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend who had just gotten back from an Alaskan cruise – she was not very happy with the amount of meat served with each meal – only 8 ounces!
Funny, in my mind, meat equals increased cancer risk. Meat is no longer a reward – a fact that is sometimes in conflict with my love of barbequed pork ribs dripping in caramelized BBQ sauce. But, getting that large portion of steak – no longer a goal. Or a reward. And, well, it has been years since I have had pork ribs dripping in caramelized BBQ sauce.
So, if deserts, large portions of meat, high-calorie meals – is these are no longer rewards, how do I reward myself for doing the things that need done in my world?
We’ll discuss this in my next post.