How many times have you heard someone say, “I’ve worked hard. I deserve this doughnut” or other decadent delight?

How many times have you heard, “I’ve worked hard. I deserve these abundantly nutrient, grown-on-rich, well-cared-for soil, pesticide-free strawberries?

If we stop and think about it for a moment, isn’t THIS what we REALLY deserve?  And, not just for our hard work but for our money? To support our best well-being?

Why is it that this isn’t the first thing that comes to our mind?

I think there are many reasons. Here are a few.

Doughnuts and processed delights are designed to make us love them. Fat, sugar, salt in abundance, with scientists and taste panels to help get it right.

Various studies site sugar as far more addictive than cocaine and heroin. Sugar can be a pretty big driver in what we “want” or what we rationalize believing is what we “deserve.”

You might recall New York moved to ban sales of glasses of soda larger than 16 oz. This was fiercely opposed. People didn’t want to be told what size of soda they could buy. Keep in mind, this was not saying that the person couldn’t get a refill.

On one hand, I understand and agree that freedom to choose is paramount. On the other, I ask how we can get this much excitement and passion for getting things like the vitamins and minerals in our fruits and veggies. Or transparency as to what country our meat comes from.

I feel I deserve to know what is in my food. Just as I want to know if those little black dots are raisins or chocolate chips. (Because a raisin when you expect a chocolate chip is downright DEVASTATING!) Or, when opening a can, will I find pea or tomato soup inside? I also want to know if my food has contents that are genetically modified, not mattering what side of the argument I land on. We all deserve the opportunity to make these choices. Haven’t you worked hard to deserve things such as these?

It is easy to see that a 32-oz. drink option is missing from a menu. It is harder to see that the clear container of orange juice loses the vitamin C the label says you are paying for by the time you take it home. Or how travel time and nutrient-poor soil means the broccoli may look the same but isn’t providing all that you expect.

I challenge us to think critically about what our words and rationalizations say to our self-worth or model for those around us. Are we primarily serving our inner hedonist or are we giving consistent consideration to our inner life-sustaining wisdom? How often are we REALLY letting her win? Carry a notebook this week and report in with your tally of who is getting more love! I’m well-acquainted with the inner hedonist. I know not only how persuasive she can be but how persistent she is with the opinion that flourless chocolate cake is ALWAYS the right decision.

So how can we make it easier on ourselves to get what we really do deserve? Buy local at stores or at farmers markets. Talk to farmers about the work they put into their land to provide us with good-quality food. Support quality food choices at work meetings or celebrations.

You are SO right! You HAVE worked hard!  You do deserve it!  But, what is the “It” you are deserving today?