Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Lie Behind 'Happy Plates'

Happy Hump Day, and Tacky Holiday Sweater Day, everyone! 

I didn't wear this to school today, but I wore something of similar fashion
Two posts in a row is a rarity for me these days, but here I am with yet another post. Actually, I can’t take credit for this one. I reached out to a friend of mine, Austin Bowles, who actually has his own incredible blog that you guys should most definitely check out. Seriously. He just gets it. He’s currently striving to complete 100 blogs in 100 days, because his dreams are important to him. And I’m not lying when I say that I look forward to his posts each and every day. They're the kind of Cliffs Notes this English teacher can get behind.

He's third from the right
Anyway, I met Austin in the summer of 2011, when we were both fresh out of our freshman year of college. I was obviously at UT, and he was at one of our Big 12 rival schools, Oklahoma State University. More on that later. We were both working at a summer camp called Kids Across America, and though it certainly wasn’t my most favorite summer, I learned a lot, grew a lot, trusted a lot, and I met some pretty awesome people. Austin is actually one of the few with whom I still keep in touch today, and he’s one of those forever friend types of people. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but he remains one of the easiest and most real and encouraging people to talk to. Again, I encourage you to check out his blog. But before you read his awesome post, you have to know this one fun fact about Austin. He was THE Pistol Pete at Oklahoma State University during his junior and senior years. You know, this guy?

It’s the coolest. And even though I’m a Longhorn for life, I definitely brag that I know a former Pistol Pete. So, now that you know that very important piece of information, read on. He obviously knows the main focus of my blog, so while I asked that he might start with the food and fitness topic as a segway into a larger message, I gave him very little restrictions and said, “Go for it.” And go for it he did.


“Make a happy plate!”
“Eat all your food, or you won’t get any dessert.”
“Just three more bites!”

These are three of the most famous parent quotes from pretty much every parent ever. Since the beginning of time, parents have been trying to get their children to eat all of their food. From threats of having to sit at the table until all the green vegetables are gone, to bribes of new toys, trying to get kids to eat goes to all kinds of ludicrous extremes. Watch closely, and you’ll see it all around you, at restaurants and even at your own family’s table.

Now, is it just me, or is it because of this that we have all been brainwashed since day one to not only eat everything in front of us, but to also indulge regardless of how full we may be or what foods we do and don’t like? I think yes.

I’m not picking on parents or hating on how they raise kids. It’s different for every family, and learning to eat and learning to eat right are super important things. It’s how we stay healthy, get the vitamins and nutrients we need and, in reality, how we keep from dying. Eating right is important, but why were we taught to ‘eat it all?’

Gluttony has become a problem. It’s so easy to eat in excess, especially with America’s fast food chains and super-sizing options. It’s become encouraged and easy to “make it a large” at the drive through and at the movies because it’s only $0.40 extra. What could it hurt?
Maybe a lot more than you and I think.

Gluttony steals away from portion, and portion is ‘importiont’ to life.

Portion is a part of a whole amount; it’s a share and a piece of something. A portion is a bit of generosity and a bit of healthy. Having portion sizes, not just in a food context, but also in a life context, is the only way to maintain healthy doses of both good (and not so good) things.

Is it good to eat a portion of fresh green beans? Yes. It is good to eat fresh green beans and fresh green beans only for every meal? Probably not. The same goes for Kelli’s favorite, frozen yogurt. Is it good for her to eat only frozen yogurt for every meal for the next 60+ years of her life? Nah. Is it okay for her to have a portion of some froyo every now and again? Most definitely.

The point is this; portions are what help make life more enjoyable. I love cheeseburgers, but guess what? If I ate one every day, I probably wouldn’t love them as much anymore. Portions keep the exciting things in life from becoming mundane. Portion out your life, not just your food. Eat a salad; eat a burger. Relax some; work some. Watch TV some; read some. Life shouldn’t be all about ‘making a happy plate;’ it should be more about making a healthy one through portions and pieces. 


And he's right. I love frozen yogurt, but if I ate it every single day, would I really even enjoy it anymore? Variety is the spice of life, and that applies to more than just food. Just something for you guys to think about on this December Wednesday. And thanks, Austin, for taking the time to write a guest post for fitness & froyo. You’re a rockstar and I love the way you write.

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