A basic tenet of Chinese Medicine is “Everything in moderation including moderation.”  Extremes of any variety can be unhealthy.  We see this with the rise of afflictions such as Orthorexia, a condition where people get so fixated on specific, “healthy” food choices they become regimented and inflexible—ultimately costing them joy, happiness and fun.

With the Lilac Festival a few weeks ago, Rochester is moving into that time of year full of festivals, cookouts and celebrations.  These are joyous occasions.  How does one balance their health goals and having fun at a barbecue? Remember moderation.

Barring significant allergic reactions or health conditions, it’s okay to enjoy that piece of cake at your daughter’s 1st birthday.  It’s okay to celebrate her smile, laugh and marvel at the wonder of life she is—and enjoy a piece of cake while doing so.  Food is often a part of celebration and, in general, an occasional day of sugar indulgence is okay.

The key is this: your choice to celebrate does not have to conflict with your health goals.

Many of us will go to the party and say, “Oh, I can’t say no to that cake.” Then subsequently, we berate ourselves for not having “strong enough willpower”. This internal or external dialogue often leads to a downward spiral of self-deprecation and subsequent unhealthy food choices.

For a better way to look at these decisions, consider this:

Does choosing this match up with who I am in the world? Does it match up with the health I’m creating for my body, my heart, and my soul? If you decide to celebrate with a piece of cake and see it as something that nourishes your heart and soul, can you also choose to eat lean, green meals the following day to nourish your body?  I believe you can, and I believe this is what choosing wisely is.

Instead of making decisions passively, succumbing to a lack of will, choose powerfully and with purpose.  When we are proactive about our choices—I’m going to have cake today to nourish my heart, and I’ll eat lean and green tomorrow to nourish my body—we no longer need to beat ourselves up.

So, celebrate life in moderation, eat kale in moderation and have a beautiful summer!