Health BENEFITS of Junk Food and Cheat Days?

English: Oreo Cakesters cookies, made by Nabisco.

What could possibly be the BENEFITS of junk food and cheating on your diet?  Is it good to mow down a bag of Oreo cookies?  Of course not, but what about some cereal or granola.  What about some ice cream every now and then?  Maybe a good burger from a restaurant?  These are far from ideal foods.

What I’m referring to is a mental/emotional benefit here.  A lot of us “health-conscious” people or people who came from serious health challenges

get stuck in a trap.  We realize how bad all the food the average American eats is.  We realize what it does in our bodies and to our minds.  It makes us sick, weak, easily manipulated, and takes away our self-reliance.  So we opt for healthy food.  We plan our days around it.  We do a lot of research.  We read what so-called “experts” think we should eat.  Sometimes, the mental game gets so mixed up that we forget that our body has an in-born system telling us what it wants at any moment.  Now i am not talking about that craving for sugar or pizza.  These are fake-foods that people have programmed to trick your senses.  These are not real foods.  Unfortunately, they bypass our better judgement.  But look in the wild.  A lion doesn’t have to be told to eat meat.  A giraffe doesn’t have to be told to eat leaves.  Plants don’t need to be told to soak up the sun.  Humans are OBVIOUSLY omnivores.  We are naturally attracted to things of all kinds.  I think it is really quite amazing that we can eat such a wide range of things.  Not many creatures can.  Plants can’t eat nuts or meat.  Lions would probably do terrible on kale and fruit all day.  But we seem to do ok.  Just look at the variety of things people eat.  Fruitarians eat almost solely fruit.  Carnivores meat.  Vegetarians no meat, etc.  But we CAN eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers, meats, eggs, fish, grains, and wild plants.  People will argue this way and that saying that FRUIT or MEAT are the true human diets, etc.  The simple fact is that we all have different genetics.  We all live in different climates and have different jobs.  Maybe you lift heavy weights and  live in Alaska.  Maybe I’m more into conditioning and bodyweight routines and live in Mexico.  We need different fuel.  Stop following gurus.  Eat all natural, real food.  Your body will evolve and let you know it’s needs.  Also, stop using heavy perfumes, chemicals, lotions, etc.  These will block up your smell receptors.  So anyway, back to the point here.

Let yourself fall off the wagon a bit.  Eating a little off of your diet probably will not be the end of you.  Now obviously, if you have an advanced disease or another reason that you can’t cheat much, then don’t.  Even still, if you gain peace of mind and relaxation about your food for a months time with a single cheeseburger and fries, i say it’s worth it.

So what do we define as “junk-food” and “cheat/comfort food” anyway?  Personally, I have two categories.

1. This category belongs to “cheat and good comfort foods.”  For me these include things like organic corn chips with salsa, maybe some mashed potatoes, a sweet potato with a little maple syrup, some SUSHI, good quality beef jerky, things like that.  These are foods that are not by any means terrible for you but they satisfy that sweet tooth or that other craving enough that you can relax and fall off the wagon a bit.

2.  This is straight junk food.  Things like Wendy’s double cheeseburgers, fried foods, pizzas, commercial ice creams, cookies, donuts, etc.  Nobody will try to argue that these are good for you on a regular basis.  I have seen instances though, where people’s health greatly improved  by adding in a meal like this every now and then.

Think about it.  Yes, we are giving ourselves disease in this country.  Yes, it is in part because of the food we eat and the thoughts we think.  BUT think how much junk it takes for the human body to break down?  GOD designed us with a little bit of wiggle room.  When you are on edge and ultra strict on your diet, you are more or less not giving heed to that.  We all know being “RIGID” is the opposite of health.  We want to be flexible, changing, willing to grow, change our diet, etc.  If I move somewhere extremely cold i can promise you I will be eating more good quality animal fat.  Just thinking of being up there outside in the cold everyday.  Things like bison, beef, fatty fish, and raw butter sound pretty appealing.  So be flexible.  Personally, I don’t worry so much about “comfort foods.”  You will naturally want less and less junk the healthier you get.  The cravings generally go away.  If i really want some mashed potatoes, I’m going to eat some mashed potatoes.  Most of the time, I don’t need it.  As far as straight junk, I let myself indulge maybe once a month or so.  Maybe this is Buffalo Wild Wings with your brother or sister.  Maybe it’s a Nice burger from a sit-down restaurant.  Don’t limit yourself.  I had Wendy’s last month.  You would not believe the stress that comes off mowing down a double-cheeseburger.  It’s like if you can eat this, what can’t you eat?  It gives you back your power.  Food is supposed to be ENJOYABLE.

So some basic guidelines here are:

-Eat real, whole foods.  Unprocessed.  Don’t use as many condiments as these will skew what you really are wanting.

-Allow yourself to eat “less than ideal” foods here and there.  The enjoyment you get easily outweighs any negatives.

-Allow yourself to eat some bad food every once in a while.  See that it doesn’t kill you.  What I find is that when you allow yourself to have it, you actually eat less of it.  Funny how that works.

In the end, we humans don’t like to have strict “rules” about what we can and can’t do.  This is true for most fields.  Think about a relationship with too many rules.  A job?  We are born to be flexible.  Let’s aim for good old 90% instead of that 100 =)

-Joe

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6 thoughts on “Health BENEFITS of Junk Food and Cheat Days?

  1. You know you may have a point there that because we have been conditioned differently and live in different climates and parts of the world, that we *need* different foods. That´s a very interesting observation. 🙂

    I just chatted to a friend about this and she said she aims for 75% healthy, 25% junk food. I personally think 90% is too much unless you are a very strict health freak. But again, like you say, everybody is different and we have to find out exactly what food is good for us as an individual rather than following the masses. Took me 46 years to come to that realisation. 😉

    • Yea, we all need to find a comfortable medium. My goals are to become the best person i can be. This includes energy levels, fitness, relationships, etc. For me, 90% seems like the best target. It just depends on what we want out of life. I think people need to be careful though. How many people out there are eating too much junk food thinking its ok and then end up with a “disease” or end up run down in older age? So, developing a good relationship with our bodies and minds is the key here. =)

      • Oh, yes. I totally agree with the 90% taken all together for energy, fitness, relationships – actually, all that taken together, we should aim for 100%! When I was saying 75:25, I was talking about the healthy food:junk food ratio only, not the rest of what you´re aiming for in life….

        Sadly, I already have a “disease”, or two as a matter of fact – I have suffered with fibromyalgia since 1992 and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007. However, over the years I have tried many different things such as going vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose free etc., and nothing has actually made a difference to my health problems. Also, going through a mix of junk food/healthy food (see ratio above) phase for a few months, it doesn´t seem to make any difference either, just like I found that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day compared with drinking no coffee at all still makes me sleep exactly the same…

        Life is an ongoing process of finding out what´s best for yourself and your health and happiness, and I have been trying to live as “clean” as possible (e.g. I used to smoke 20-30 cigarettes a day until 10 years ago, but no more!), and experimenting to see what helps or does not help if you have illnesses like mine… however, sometimes I just get tired of *trying* yet another thing that might or might not help me, and these days, I simply want to ….. LIVE! 🙂

      • Trust me. I know where you are coming from. “Disease” or “illness” I see as a strange term now. Personally, I believe illness is a teacher primarily. We need to look at where we are out of balance. There are a lot of spiritual traditions that feel that a lot of health issues come from energetic or spiritual wounds. I agree. So the way out of it all is to figure out where we are out of balance on all levels. Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. When we come back to balance our health usually improves.

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