Having your (cheese)cake and eating it…

(Pixabay)
(Pixabay)

It’s that time of year again – Shavuot. 

Shavuot usually conjures up images of the 10 commandments, the Jews receiving the Torah from Mount Sinai, lightning, thunder, all night learning, flowers and … cheesecake.

Many a client has asked me – “I should skip the cheesecake for dessert-right?”

Wrong. 

And then the look of shock horror and they mentally go over my credentials in their mind.

The Dietician is recommending cheesecake?

Yes. Well no -not exactly -I mean, you could have fruit salad, strawberries, healthy baked cookies…

But if you really want that piece of decadent cheesecake and the fruit salad is just not calling your name today, then yes 🙂 

Why? You may ask? 

Because when we restrict what it is that we really want or crave and we eat what we think we should to be ‘good’ and not because we necessarily want it- we are actually not giving our bodies or minds the feeling of satisfaction. 

Satisfaction is a very important part and factor of eating AND maintaining our weight. When we are able to eat what we WANT, nourish our bodies in a proper way and feel satisfied after the meal -then we will not be looking for more food, our cravings or wants will be fulfilled and there will be no need to pick at the extra piece of fish, salad or dessert.

This said, it is important to eat nutritious food, to nourish our body with wholesome macro and micro nutrients and to feel good about our food choices.  

I’m not saying eat cheesecake for breakfast lunch and dinner – but I am saying that if that is what you want – take a piece, eat it and enjoy it- savor every bite and when the piece is finished – or you feel finished put your fork down and leave it. 

Yes, majority of cheesecakes are high in fat and calories and not necessarily the epitome of good nutrition- but I can promise you that 1 piece of cheesecake eaten with satisfaction and enjoyment without guilty feelings will not break the scale… 

In fact, majority of the time – MORE IS LESS- because if you allow yourself to have a decent size of cheesecake mindfully, you probably will not want more because you have filled yourself up both psychologically – (you can see how much you have eaten and the picture of the cheesecake on your plate is still in your mind), and physiologically- (you will probably be able to feel full- especially if you have eaten after a meal). 

But if you take a sliver of cake and keep picking up the crumbs, or keep straightening out the cake then you may and probably will, end up eating more than you intended because you haven’t registered what exactly you are eating, and both signals (the psychological and physiological)are not met, which can cause one to start picking at food. This often leads us to experience ‘guilty feelings’ because we lose track of how much we have actually eaten and we are not proud of our behavior. 

So, while cheesecake may not be the most nutritious food around, it is a part of the Shavuot festivities. If that’s what you want and if that’s what is going to make you happy and satisfied, then this dietician is recommending that you have a piece!

Sit down.

Plate it.

And enjoy it!

Chag Sameach and Happy Shavuot!

About the Author
Tova Kramer is a registered clinical dietician specializing in the fields of pediatrics, eating disorders and weight loss. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and five children.
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