Sunday, August 8, 2010
The (Not So) Healthy Grad Student - Kicking The Junk Food Habit
In about an hour, I'll be heading out to have dinner with some friends in Brampton. They don't know it yet, but I have a plan. What's that plan, you ask? Well, friends, I'm seriously craving cookie dough right now. That rich, chewy, calorie condensed blend of creamy goodness. I don't know why, I just need to have some right now. This urge to stuff my face with cookie dough is so strong, I tell you! (I guess I should stop wondering why I gained weight this summer. My uncontrollable need to fill my body with junk is probably a major reason).
After dinner, I plan to slyly drop hints that we should head over to Coldstone for dessert. Why Coldstone? Good question. I've discovered an awesome new concoction that only Coldstone can make perfectly: Creamy French Vanilla Baked Ice cream with huge bits of Cookie Dough (!!!), Reese's Peanut Butter Pieces, Graham Cracker bits, Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, M&Ms, Gummy Bears, AERO chocolate bar bits, and, last but not least, hot fudge sauce. Definitely not disgusting at all! Now if that isn't a smorgasbord of the most random crap thrown together, I don't know what is. But it tastes so very yummy that it'll cause you to contract pangs of your life's greatest cravings, trust me. Trust me.
But I know that as I'll stand in line eager and ready to order my yummy (smorgasbord) concoction, at the back of my mind, and in the most party-pooper of ways, I will probably ask myself if this is the healthiest option for my body. A huge cup of cookie dough ice cream versus an apple when I get home? The healthier option is obvious. But the question is, more often than not, do we pick the healthier option when we're faced with a choice? Come September, as I (we) head to grad school, university, new jobs, should I (we) be chomping on junky options even though we're busy with all our new activities? Actually, at any point of life, should we really be stuffing ourselves with junk?
I'm obviously not promoting a celibrate life free from junk food, ice cream, cake, chocolate, etcetera. But my point is to ask each of us (myself included) if we're guilty of eating too much of it? If we always choose the junky option when we're faced with a healthier option? We're all guilty of it. We've all bypassed the salad bar at least once to have dessert first (well, I have anyway). We've all had at least three pieces of cake in one sitting at least once (well, I have anyway). We've all finished a bag(s) of chips in one sitting at least once (well, I have anyway).....
Oh, let's face it. I can be a glutton when it comes to junk food.
I hang my head in shame, friends.
Choosing the healthier option can span a number of benefits. Decreasing our junk food intake (Lays BBQ chips and Ruffles All Dressed, I'll miss you so) can have a number of positive effects. Kicking the junk food habit is hard, I know. Choosing carrot sticks over a Fudgsicle will be difficult. But when we do so, we should realize that reducing junk food intake can:
1) Reduce our grocery bills. Junk food is expensive, friends!!! Four bucks spent on a bag of chips can contribute to your gas fund for the week.
2) Lower our sugar intake. Decreasing our sugar intake (along with the right amount of exercise) can help us shake off any excess weight we think we should lose. (With all that cookie dough, I'll probably need to).
3) Potentially reduce exposure to a number of health risks. Feeding junk food toxins into our bodies periodically can increase our risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, Type II diabetes, and osteoporosis. I think reducing our junk food intake will subsequently reduce our exposure to these health risks if we continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
4) Help our teeth. Just like coffee can make your teeth yellow (or so legend says), excess sugar we feed into our bodies can cause tooth decay, cavities, and a number of mouth-related issues we probably don't want. Decreasing our junk food intake and taking care of our teeth can go a long way to helping us have healthy pearly whites our dentist (aka my mom) can be proud of.
I'm sure there are more benefits, but these are the only ones I can think of right now. Well, it's going to be hard, but as I head back to school in September, I will try my hardest to choose the healthier option. This doesn't mean I won't partake in sugar goodness sometimes, but I think that kicking the junk food habit will go a long way to benefiting our lives and bodies. And that, friends, is what I hope to do this September. Wish me luck! If you'd like to join me on this quest, let me know!
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier