Could Gluttony be Good for Us?


tortilla chips part of a healthy intake

Yes, these contributed significantly to my tasty meal.

After several weeks of eating very well as part of our new Food as Medicine program at Green Mountain — lots of great-tasting veggies and other good-for-me stuff — last weekend I enjoyed a meal that got me thinking.  If according to our genetics, e.g., our Paleolithic caveman ancestors, we evolved on a famine-feast type of  eating pattern, could an occasional repast of rich foods actually do us well?

I didn’t decide deliberately to test this theory.  It arose after the fact.  But the fact that I enjoyed a pretty rich meal at a Mexican restaurant that left me feeling great made me think it worth writing about.

The tongue-in-cheek title of this post aside, I wouldn’t call my meal actual gluttony.  I didn’t overeat as much as I just ate a lot more than I had been eating.  Similarly, I wouldn’t call my Food as Medicine eating famine; it’s just that it’s relatively light compared to the standard American diet.

My thought:  If it makes you feel good (and doesn’t hurt anyone else), do it.  The victory is in getting to the point where you really know what makes you feel good.  I know I wouldn’t feel good eating a rich Mexican food meal too often.  But it sure was fun last Friday night.

Do you have any favorite meals that might be viewed as overdoing it yet you know they’re right for you at times?

11 responses to “Could Gluttony be Good for Us?”

  1. Chef Lisa says:

    I don’t eat fried food very often, but maybe three times a year I’ll go out and get fish and chips. I just love it. It brings back great memories of eating in pubs in Europe, and it just tastes so damn good. But I rarely finish the fries 😉

  2. Marsha says:

    I love fish and chips, too, Lisa. Although now with my gluten sensitivity, I haven’t yet found a gluten-free recipe that comes close to the real deal. I keep trying, though! 🙂

  3. Sagan says:

    I don’t like the idea of being gluttonous in terms of fast food, but I totally indulge by going to fancy restaurants (that serve local food!) for gourmet meals- I’ll get drinks, apps, meal, and dessert. And I definitely think that it’s good to do that once in a while 😀
    .-= Sagan’s last blog post..A Crash Course in B Vitamins: Part Two =-.

  4. Marsha says:

    Definitely agree with you re the fast food, Sagan. Actually, I find I really can’t eat fast food at all anymore. Not when I think how it’s been produced. Did you see Food, Inc.? Now I’m reading The End of Food and it’s convinced me even more that it’s not in the best interest of our health and the health of the planet to continue to support the food system that produces fast food, at least the way it’s currently produced. Sounds like a good topic for another post!

  5. love2eatinpa says:

    good for you for letting go and enjoying!
    i am learning that life is too short to always pass on something that you will really enjoy. i have read – if you love it, eat it and savor it! easier said than done when you typically try to be “good” all the time.

  6. love2eatinpa says:

    i like your perspective of looking at a eating as an experiment. the three steps, tuning and the “feeling” good instead of trying to “be” good are all what i am striving for too, but man, it is so hard to let go of old ways.

  7. Marsha says:

    @love2eatinpa I like the idea of letting go although I also like to think of eating differently as an experiment. Do it without guilt, see if you truly enjoy it while eating, then see how you feel after. Those three steps can do a lot to open our eyes about what we really like/want to eat. As far as trying to be “good,” I think that’s another thing that takes us away from tuning in. “Feeling” good, instead of “being” good, is my goal.

    Also agree with your thought that life is too short to always pass on things we love. But I do think that if we really tune in, we’ll find we don’t have to take a pass very often. We just won’t love things that don’t do us well.

    Thanks for your comment!

  8. Marsha says:

    You are so right about it being hard to let go of old ways. Especially when they’ve been drummed into our heads for years as the “right” way!

  9. Julie says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I really believe that by spending too much time being “good” we ultimately set ourselves up to fail by putting foods into good and bad catergories. As I know you know, all foods can and should fit into a healthy diet…..even Chlies Rellenos 🙂

  10. Marsha says:

    Yum, chiles rellenos! Don’t need to say more. 😉

  11. Doesn’t everyone have favorite foods that can be overdone?! One of mine is mac and cheese. Growing up this was my favorite meal (how I became a dietitian is still a question!!), and I still love it – on occasion. If I have a little bit once in a while I’m satisfied. It’s all about moderation!!
    .-= Nutritioulicious’s last blog post..Tackling Super Bowl =-.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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