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  • michaelhamanaka

Why I Never Regret A Meal. Ever.

As I’m sitting here at Tacos Mimi in Pacific Beach, looking down at the best adobada tacos and chips and guac I may have ever had, I got inspired to write this blog post. These chips are made from a fresh pressed corn tortillas, sliced up and lightly fried to perfections. They also fresh press each and every one of my grill warmed taco shells. And let me tell you, in the year they have been open I’ve had hundreds of these. Sheesh, I could write a whole post on these tacos.

I had the realization today that I never regret any meal and it got me thinking about why so many people have a negative relationship with food. I know that people eat when they’re stressed, but they also eat when they’re celebrating, they eat when they’re happy and they eat when they’re sad, We are always eating and our lives are centered around food. Yet, the food we choose to eat is usually less than ideal and does nothing for our confidence, energy levels or waistlines.

I am pretty strongly gluten free, not 100% because some of my clients make roll mouthwatering pastas and wood fire oven roast the heck out of a pizza, but 90% of the time that’s how I live my life. That makes most of my meals out focused around tacos, salads, sushi or meat and potatoes and veggies and my drink order is dominated by wine, sake, and tequila (to go with my tacos). It’s not really that bad of a life.

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather lately and to fight it I purchased a green energy magic powder that somehow contains the nutritional equivalent of 24 servings of fruits and vegetables in a tiny scoop, a bitter tasting vitamin C powder and some homeopathic cold remedy pills. Since I started taking them yesterday, I’ve done a complete 175 degree turn, I still have a lingering cough every couple hours but I’m thinking clearer and have more natural (not caffeine stimulated) energy.

Don’t get me wrong, this stuff doesn’t taste great. But the 3 minutes of “yuck and discomfort” I’m willing to put myself through is worth the way I’m feeling now. I understand that you might not like the way vegetables taste or you might not be ready to cut the sugar out of your coffee just yet, but it’s just a little bit of discomfort for a possibly mega-rewarding outcome. And I get that we work really hard so we deserve a little comfort and the right to enjoy a sweet, tasty grande double shot, two pump vanilla almond milk latte in the morning. Just know that adding those little “comforts” adds to your calorie intake. Adding cream and sugar to your black coffee can be over 60 kcal and each pump of syrup is an extra 20 kcal plus 5g of sugar.

Now, I’m not saying not to do it, I just don’t think everybody knows exactly how much 60+ extra calories a day can add up to over a month (1800 kcal and if 3500 kcal is a pound of fat, that’s 6.1 lbs/year if you don’t burn it off, just in cream and sugar).

The relationship I have with food is one of balance, that 80/20 rule every one talks about. 80% clean (oatmeal or cream of rice for breakfast, protein bars, beef jerky, or nuts as a snack and two or three of The Meal Prep Company’s, delicious pre-peeped meals daily) and 20% fish tacos with chips and guac, salmon skin handrolls, chilaquiles, home made pasta, and gluten free pancakes, charcuterie boards, or anything else lacking gluten. The point I’m trying to make is that even my “cheat” meals aren’t really cheating. They still (mostly) align with my self-imposed dietary restriction so although I have the occasional birthday ice cream scoop or holiday pie with my family, I’m fully aware of the choices I’m making and eating is one of my favorite things to do too, so why waste a second on anything but positive emotions?

There have definitely been times when I eat way too much because the food was so amazing I literally couldn’t stop myself but even then I don’t regret the meal. How could you regret something amazing? But during those times, I know that tomorrow I’m going to lock it down for the day and maybe push myself a little harder in a workout. I once knew a competitive runner that would eat a scoop of ice cream every night because that would always give him the motivation to wake up extra early and train. While that’s definitely not my mentality, I see it’s merit and if it works for him, it works.

I think people could get a lot out of slowing down a little and actually considering what, why and when they’re eating… take a couple breaths between bites (maybe even put the fork down) or drink a little more water when you start to fall asleep (it might be dehydration, not a caffeine deficit).

Luckily, for me gluten free and keeping a strict eye on sugar intake allows me to keep a decent physique and eat at least 10 tacos a week. Could I look better? Of course. But would that make me happier? Probably not. They say after you make a certain amount of money your level of happiness stops increasing as your bank account grows… my body is my bank account and less tacos (aka a better body) would not increase my happiness at this moment.

I know this message won’t resonate with everyone but if you have your head down and you’re grinding and you’re not quite getting the results you’re expecting or you’re just ready to get healthier and make a few better decisions, keep some of these thoughts in the back of your mind every time your brain tells your mouth to open and your hand to shove something in it.

Don't hate yourself for eating, just know what the risks are and be able to live with the consequences.

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