My wife was watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix and I couldn’t believe what was happening. Why would anyone watch a show about de-cluttering your house, so of course I sat down and watched and now I get it. Well kind of….
If you are a fan you are probably familiar with the basic refrain of does this “spark joy” in your life and it got me thinking about what people choose to eat and why.
So first I am going to go the opposite way that I suspect most of you think I will go. I have a rule in my life, actually it’s more of a guideline, if it’s not a home run I don’t eat it. Or at least I don’t waste a lot of my food choices on foods that really don’t bring a lot of joy to my life. Nothing against McDonald’s but if I am going to eat a hamburger it’s probably not going to be McDonald’s and even though I could, fitting McDonald’s into my life would not bring me joy.
Think about it, really think about it, if you are letting convenience rule your food choices isn’t that the real problem? Now don’t get me wrong, every three years or so I get the itch for a Big Mac and the worst thing you can do in that situation is try and make it fit because a Big Mac is only good with fries and a coke. That might in fact spark joy in your life but at least you got it out of your mind and you can move back to mostly whole food choices.
So that’s one side……
The other side is the folks that are too rigid with their food choices, food purity paralyzes them and sometimes they might find that process too limiting. So maybe they live in this endless cycle of guilt or even worse, they are paralyzed by a rigid lifestyle and worst of all it isn’t actually getting them the results they want.
There can be a happy medium, you should be able to do both and the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the Big Mac example and the food purity example.
That’s why I love the spark joy idea!
If you are in the McDonald’s drive thru for the 4th time this week let’s be real here, convenience is ruling your life and you need to examine if your food choices are bringing joy to your life. Part of the reason why I have a Big Mac every so often is because it’s sparks a tiny place of joy, some of that is remembering going to McDonald’s with my grandmother as a child. Things don’t need to be good or evil for you to realize that some food choices should only need to happen on occasion.
Same goes for the 5th chicken and kale salad you have had this week. Once again, does a chicken and kale (1 not 5 a week) salad spark joy in my life, I would argue it does and for this reason. First of all it’s a responsible way of eating and that matters. It means I care about my health and that I understand the value of not endlessly dulling my senses searching for joy with bad food choices.
That said, most people endlessly eating low calorie meals for months and even years on end are sort of missing the point. The point of life is to create moments where joy is an important piece. If eating flexibly doesn’t bring you joy, in my mind, that should concern you and the reason it should concern you is because food is much more than sustenance. It’s social, it’s flavorful and cultures literally take pride in the piece of who they are that food represents.
Food is mean to be enJOY’ed, it’s not meant to be a source of convenience or a punishment for bad deeds and somehow the idea of “sparking joy” fits great on both sides. So think about that as you are eating or prepping your meals this week.