I am not an advocate of completely excluding certain things from my life – I tend to be more of a go with the flow kind of person, and this applies to food as well. Over the years, I have come to make much healthier choices than I did in the past, and I am happy about where my knowledge and decisions have brought me, but I am not overly strict about it. If I am at someone’s house or out of town, I am not going to skip eating something because it doesn’t match my relatively high standards. There are some exceptions – I don’t eat meat, including fish.
I have become a label reader and I understand a lot more than I used to about a lot of food related information. There is a lot of “food stuff” out there, as Michael Pollan calls it, as opposed to actual food. You know, the stuff that has high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and a whole host of other ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. I avoid those as much as I can, but sometimes the lure is just too strong. Like when you’re down the shore for the holiday weekend, sitting in front of a campfire, and given the opportunity to make s’mores….
I decided that I would have a s’more. Just one. The only problem was that I’m out of practice and my marshmallow just wasn’t as gooey as I’d been hoping for, so I had a friend make another one for me. After that I felt like I’d had enough s’mores to last a lifetime. Until a couple of days later when the fourth of July rolled around and I was craving s’mores! After dinner, this craving was so strong that Jon and I went to the grocery store in search of graham crackers and marshmallows. We had dark chocolate at home, which was healthier than the milk chocolate a few days earlier, so I was on a mission to make a healthy s’more.
I had wanted to go to Whole Foods, knowing that I could probably find a healthier version of graham crackers, and maybe a vegan marshmallow, that would be at least a little healthier (so I told myself), but they were closed. So off to the grocery store we went. A few minutes later, I had a bag of marshmallows in one hand (flattened for easier s’more making), and a box of graham crackers in the other (no high fructose corn syrup but they did have hydrogenated oil). I looked down at what I had in my hands and I turned to Jon. “That’s disgusting,” I said. “Well, yeah.” he replied with a tone that said, of course it is but this was your idea not mine. We left empty handed.
Back at my mom’s house, where we were spending the fourth of July, I had a new plan based on a bit of research online. So what did we do for our healthier than s’mores dessert? Grilled bananas with some vanilla sugar and cinnamon, topped with melted dark chocolate, crushed hazelnuts, strawberries and their syrup (which was just thawed strawberries from our stash of local organic strawberries), and a scoop of ice cream.
Lesson learned? It’s okay to splurge sometimes and it’s absolutely fine to do it guilt free. When it comes down to it though, I know s’mores aren’t something that I really want to have more than once in a while for a very special occassion. Chloe enjoyed eating some bites of grilled banana, and I didn’t miss the s’mores at all.