April 10, 2013

Have Your Chicken and Eat it Too

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“People say when you know you know, but do you really ‘know,’ or do you just decide?” Liz Kussman ’14 lamented this to me recently. Why, you might ask? In what context? Well, gee, if you’ve ever read anything I’ve ever written … ever … you would know that this blog is basically a better-edited version of my mental diary (there’s no real filter up there — be glad I actually read this over). I haven’t written a post since being elected Blogs editor, mainly because I’ve been super busy doing casual things like interviewing Joel McHale and John Legend, but also because I haven’t had any monumental romantic epiphanies. That was, until I gave advice to a friend of mine struggling with the same thing many of us are afraid to face: making a decision.

If I can’t decide what I’m going to buy for lunch at Trillium as I weigh my yen for General Tso’s chicken against my rational thought of getting a salad (I always go for the General Tso’s. Who am I kidding?), then how am I supposed to decide who I’m going to end up with? Ok. That’s a stretch. Choosing between meal options and men are completely different, right? Except, maybe they’re exactly the same…

One of the options is clearly bad for you, but you want it anyway. Maybe you even want it because it’s the complete opposite of what you need, and that’s what makes it intriguing. The other is healthy, it will benefit you, it will be more satisfying in the long run and it is the option your friends would tell you to go for if they were choosing which is best for you. So maybe you listen to your friends and you choose the salad. But you’ll still always wonder what it would have been like to have the General Tso’s…

Maybe you did try the General Tso’s, realized it was bad for you and moved on to the salad. But then the General Tso’s comes walking back into your life the next day at lunchtime, taunting you with its corn syrupy goodness, and you wonder whether or not you made the right decision to let it go. Wise Liz also said, “Residual feelings are like bacteria. You think you’ve killed them, but all it takes is a little mutation and they’re back in the game.” The more you resist them, the more immune to your resistance they become until they come back in full force. That’s just science. So since you resisted the General Tso’s the day before, you think maybe you can get it just this once.

As I was writing this post, Olivia Roche ’15 told me this was exactly how she describes her love life, saying, “My past relationships have been like chocolate cake. Right now, chocolate cake tastes really good — it’s decadent, it makes me happy and I like it a lot. But it’s not very nutritious or good for me, and in the long run it’s just going to make me fat and unhealthy. So I should not eat the chocolate cake in the first place.”

So what’s a junk-food-loving girl to do? Realize that the safe, satisfying salads (oooh alliteration) don’t have to be boring! You can put in craisins, croutons, roasted red peppers, fruit, cucumbers and hummus! Ok, so maybe not all in one salad, but the point is to find the one that’s right for you, because it’s out there. And hey, if you wanted that General Tso’s so badly, throw some grilled chicken in! Because according to Olivia, “You can have your chicken and eat it, too.” Just make it the right chicken. Ya dig?

Sidenote: Olivia and I also discussed how you are what you eat. I came to the conclusion that I would be made of peanut butter, chocolate, coffee, hummus and those dried Asian noodle things that you can put in salad that I really need to figure out the name of. Seriously. Comment if you know. I’m not kidding.

Original Author: Rachel Ellicott