The Problem with "Yummy"

Why the constant search for decadence and hyper-palatability in our meals can be a problem.

Article by Mandy Pagano | 17 Jan, 2021

Article originally published on on 4/18/17. It has been lightly edited for re-publication.

Here in the West, we are inundated by many so-called First World Problems. Essentially, that refers to the idea that we have so much, and so many options available to us, that our lives are rather decadent and we make problems out of things that shouldn't really be problems at all. We have issues that people in the developing world- where choices are severely limited and comforts aren't always at one's fingertips- simply don't have, because they don't have time for that mess.

The wealth and relative ease of life for the First World has created entire generations that have had so many choices readily available for so long that the way we think about things has become incredibly disordered. For an increasing number of Westerners, many (if not most) of our problems are self-created via our disordered and ill prioritized thought and behavior patterns.

Today we'd like to discuss a First World Problem that we have dubbed, "The problem with 'yummy'."

Aside from the infantilization indicated by the term, the problem with "yummy" as a concept is simple: It's the idea that absolutely every time you put food into your mouth it needs to be some kind of amazing, orgasmic experience. This is a problem that is unique to richer populations and isn't particularly well-understood in the less developed world. Let's be brutally honest here: When you aren't even sure if you're going to have a next meal, much less from where it's coming, the idea that everything must taste like sunshine and rainbows exploded in your mouth is pretty absurd.

The problem with "yummy" is one that we see very frequently in our Facebook support groups. One of the most prominent examples of this can be found in the never-ending questions about the coffee shop. They go like so:

"Help! I used to drink this gigantic 'yummy' milkshake every day at my local coffee joint. How can I continue to order this but make it keto?"

This is usually closely followed by inquiries as to how one can go about "making it keto" at home.

Now there isn't necessarily anything inherently wrong with inquiring as to how we can change our orders or cooking habits in order to keep to our ketogenic lifestyle. In fact, that's a large part of what we do over at My Ketogenic Kitchen.

The problem is the "yummy."

We've gotten so used to just running down to the shop to get a coffee-flavored shake whipped up for us that we've eventually come to mentally depend on not just having this kind of thing every once in a while as a treat, but having it every day as a part of our routine. We are so dependent upon this that we suddenly can't imagine life without the "yummy." That's why we get posts wherein people proudly show off pics of their home "coffee bars" that contain fifty-plus bottles of sugar-free flavored syrups, flavored latte foams, etc. and so on. Many of those posts are indicative of a whole pile of disordered attachment to the "yummy."

What everyone should understand and absorb is that while it can be OK to have those things, no one needs them. No one needs a coffee bar at home. No one needs to have a specialty coffee milkshake every day of their lives. And no one needs everything they put into their mouths to cause a D. H. Lawrence-style crisis.

Food is not primarily for your entertainment.

Food is primarily for fuel.

Yes, food can absolutely be enjoyable; in fact, it should be! Yes, the keto lifestyle allows us to eat some of the most enjoyable foods on the planet. Yes, sometimes food can be a part of our entertainment or celebrations, etc.

The problem is not when we begin thinking that it can be those things sometimes, it is when we think that they MUST be those things all the time. If you simply cannot live without your favorite coffee shake- or whatever "yummy" item or concoction it is upon which you've mentally fixated- you have a disordered relationship with that food.

A big part of the ketogenic lifestyle is breaking the physical addiction to sugar and other unhealthy foods. After a couple of weeks, that physical need is no longer a factor. Any mental addictions you have, however, do not magically go away when the physical withdrawal subsides. The rest of your battle is in your own mind, and if you insist upon holding on to the "yummy" your ketogenic success is going to be more difficult to obtain.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to get that "yummy" monkey off your back. Learning how to see food as enjoyable, but primarily fuel for your body is one of the most important things that you can do for your physical and mental health. In addition to aiding your long-term adherence to a keto lifestyle, learning to put things in their proper place and to distinguish between actual needs and treats that you don't need all the time (regardless of how readily available they are) is going to go a long way to restoring a healthy mental relationship between you and food.

Your health depends on removing these kind of self-created First World Problems. If you need help, please consider hiring a Ketogenic Lifestyle Coach that can help you work through and break your attachment to the "yummy" and other disordered habits and thoughts relating to food.

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