Health fashion & Self-Indulgence

July is getting into full swing and the sun has made a few appearances so far in my glorious yet rainy Summer. This month I’ve been thinking about health, looking after one’s self, and how people approach self-care in today’s society. 

While researching detox diets to have a bit of a health boost during my break from work, I found myself thinking about two things related to self-care:

Firstly, the realisation that eating healthily is incredibly fashionable at the moment. There are so many variations of strict diets and food rules. Increasingly people are also cutting foods out of their diets due to sensitivities, allergies and general health concerns. Most interestingly for me are the hot superfoods-of-the-moment, often proclaiming to be the answer to eternally young, cancer-free, skinny living. 

I am exaggerating for effect but the message is there. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pro-paleo/vegan/gluten-free/flexitarian/whatever you feel happiest and healthiest eating and not eating. Equally, I am all for natural health and respecting the value of Mother Nature’s produce but I do think it is interesting the way health foods have become health fashions.

Chia seeds, maca powder and kale seem to be foods of the moment right now. I know all three have been around for thousands of years and I am not disputing the beneficial properties of each, I am merely interested in the transient popularity of foods; hailed as ambrosia of the Gods in their time and then fading to just another part of the health store. I remember when Aloe Vera was the thing, similarly blueberries, wheatgrass, goji berries…All these things are still around but the hype has moved on, and I find that fascinating socially. The choices people make in their diets are very much dictated by fashions, and this in turn effects how one might conduct a loneeating experience.

Secondly, and more closely tied to loneeating, I was thinking about ways people treat themselves. Eating alone can be seen as miserable or lonely, but also it can be a chance to relax and indulge yourself a little. A moment of peace and reflection. Luxury R&R. Choosing to treat yourself when eating alone – what does this mean? Are you indulging your desires or indulging your body’s needs? Or is the meaning flexible?

In my case they are quite aligned actually, I regularly make a monstrously huge bowl of salad as my loneeating dinners – fresh leaves, avocado, pomegranate seeds, dark balsamic vinegar…I don’t feel like I compromise on taste or enjoyment at all.

But then, I do have a serious weakness for chips, with mushy peas and dollops of mayonnaise. Don’t judge, it is a thing of beauty.

I know chips are clearly not a treat for my body, and guilt seeps into my conscience at a rate inversely proportional to the emptying of the chip bowl, but some nights treating myself means a riot of veg and sometimes it revolves around the friendly deep fried potato.

When loneeating, the food is even more important for me since the meal needs to satisfy my immediate physical needs as well as provide something more, sometimes comfort during an emotional storm, warmth on a cold day, self-appreciation and indulgence during some precious me-time.

Choosing to treat myself, with health or with comfort or both, changes the type of loneeating exerience I have, as well as how I feel about myself but ultimately the theme is the same, that of listening to me, fulfilling my needs and/or desires.

Of course, moderation is key (regarding over-indulgence and over-restriction) and a rainbow diet is the name of the game, and as unbalanced as chips and salad sounds, it’s not all I eat!

Where do you stand on this? Is loneeating when you give yourself the chance to indulge, either healthfully or not? Or do you prefer to slip through your lone meals quickly and quietly, using big gatherings as a chance to satisfy needs? 

What if every loneeating experience you could value your needs and desires, feeling them to be satisfied, your body and mind simultaneously nurtured and comforted?
I wonder if there’s a superfood that is able to straddle that gap…

Anyone got any suggestions?

Wee bit of further reading for keen beans:

Remember, randomised controlled trials, although the gold standard in Western Science, are not the bottom line in understanding foods/compounds. It’s not right to assume that something that doesn’t look positive in RCT means that it is ineffective or useless. Trust local/traditional/herbal knowledge too.