Guilt and the Lessons Learned From Zucchini Bread

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have a three-year-old daughter who just maybe the world’s most pickiest eater. She can seemingly go for days without eating much of anything. She will not touch anything green. I’ve read Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious, any while my child is too picky even for those recipes, I have adopted the technique of hiding veggie purees in the foods she does eat. For example, to the most recent batch of home-made chicken nuggets, I added pureed carrots, peas and green beans. Super easy recipe (thanks, Mom) and she happily eats them.

So, feeling ambitious, I wanted to raise the bar a little and try baking zucchini “cake.” My Picky Princess loves cake and she loves to help in the kitchen so I thought it would be a win-win. For the most part, I followed Paula Deen’s recipe for zucchini bread. I skipped the nuts (Picky Princess has a peanut & tree nut allergy) and added pureed butternut squash. I even added a little bit of chocolate chips to the batter. Everything was fine until my little girl realized that the green stuff would go into her cake and she strenously objected to me mixing the wet and dry ingredients. But once the cake was in the oven, she forgot about the evil green stuff and eagerly waited for dessert.

She wanted pink frosting on the cake so I topped her piece with pink strawberry yogurt with some whipped cream mixed in. The frosting was an instant hit. The cake, not so much. She eventually agreed to try it and ate most of a piece, but by then, I had eaten two slices myself.

The first piece was still a little warm from the oven when I tried it. Moist, light, yummy. Even though I had given myself the leeway to eat intuitively, I was happy with the food choices I had made all day. Before I realized what I was doing, I had finished the second slice. That’s when I noticed for the first time how sweet the zucchini bread was and the guilt set in. I immediately had thoughts of carb counts and calories and defeat.

After taking a deep breath and a step back, I realized that it wasn’t so much the fact that I ate zucchini bread that caused my food-related anxiety to act up. Rather, it was the fact that I ate the second slice so quickly without stopping to think whether I actually wanted it, whether it tasted good and whether I should eat it. If this Intuitive Eating experiment works, it will work because I will have finally started to respect my body and to listen to what it says. Which means that I will have to slow down and eat more consciously.

In the grand scheme of things, the zucchini bread is meaningless. SparkPeople estimates that after all is said and done, I consumed about 960 calories today and burned about 386 calories (5.25 mile walk). So maybe I was just hungry. But more likely, it was my mindless eating habit creeping in.

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