We get it. Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. It can replicate and replace everything from mashed potatoes and rice to pizza crust and chicken wings and, apparently, even steak. Let’s have a round of applause for this multipurpose cruciferous marvel that is single-handedly revolutionizing the culinary world.
If only scientists can discover a way to power cars with cauliflower juice, humanity will never be the same again.
But just because this replace-everything-with-cauliflower fad is all the rage doesn’t mean you have to partake in it. Sure, if you prefer mashed cauliflower to potatoes for taste or because you enjoy following a low-carb diet, have at it. If you’re one of the (I can only assume) few individuals on this planet who would rather eat cauliflower “pizza crust” instead of the original gluten-laden real thing (and you’re not gluten intolerant), please know I will never understand this choice yet will defend to the death your right to your (questionable) opinion, then continue enjoying your puzzling pizza base decision.
Not everything you eat must receive a “healthy” makeover. Personally, I’d rather eat one piece of pizza made with a crunchy yet tender traditional crust than eat three slices of cauliflower-crust culinary blasphemy. There is a time and place to prepare healthier versions of your favorite foods, but we should choose our battles.
The individual, for example, who eats mashed potatoes loaded with butter and cream several times per week may switch to a lower-calorie version of mashed cauliflower because it’s a familiar favorite food they enjoy and helps them make a more healthful choice. That’s a great swap.
It’s okay to eat smaller quantities of not-super-healthy foods while also choosing healthier alternatives, or variations, to foods you regularly eat. Be selective with your swaps and modifications so you don’t cause yourself unnecessary stress from thinking everything must be healthified. If, like me, you disdain something like cauliflower pizza crust but you’re trying to make healthier food choices, just eat the real thing less frequently or in smaller quantities instead of making a “healthier” option you won’t even enjoy.
Food should be enjoyed, so reduce stress and frustration where possible (and uncomplicate the way you eat) by being selective with the healthy food makeovers to choose to make.
Healthy Makeover Clarifications
In anticipation of the angry emails this article will no doubt cause me to receive accusing me of cauliflower shaming, let me make something blatantly clear:
If you like cauliflower-based recipes, eat them.
If you have gluten sensitivity or intolerance and cauliflower-based recipes are a staple in your diet, fantastic.
If you like following a low-carb diet and something like cauliflower pizza crust allows you to eat a favorite food that aligns with your diet preferences, do it.
That is not at all what I’m talking about here.
I’m speaking to you if you are one of the numerous individuals who feels obligated to give every favorite food and recipe a “healthy” makeover. You tend to label certain foods “good” (like cauliflower pizza crust or zucchini noodles) and others “bad” (like original pizza crust and noodles made with flour). If you eat something “bad” you feel guilty afterward.
Maybe you even use workouts as punishment for eating something “bad” or you’ve succumbed to the ridiculous notion that you have to “earn” your favorite foods and treats with a brutal workout.
Thinking it’s mandatory to modify and morph every food and recipe into a “healthier” version only exacerbates those issues. It can lead to a fear of food, and disordered eating habits. And that is something we should all want to avoid, or work on breaking free from.
- Like cauliflower-based recipes? Do they align with your diet preferences? Fantastic. Enjoy them.
- Like making familiar lower-calorie variations of your favorite foods (e.g., zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, etc.) because they help you reach a calorie deficit? Awesome. Do it.
- Do you feel like everything must receive a “healthy” makeover? For example, do you love mashed potatoes but have been told they’re “bad” (which they’re not — they’re actually highly satiating and nutritious) and that you must eat mashed cauliflower instead? Change this thinking. Banish it, actually. No food is “good” and no food is “bad.”
- Become a master of the proven basics: eat mostly minimally-processed foods (lean meats, vegetables and fruits, beans and legumes, fish, whole grains, dairy, etc. according to your preferences).
- Make room for your favorite foods. Eat them in reasonable quantities. Enjoy them guilt free. Enjoy every food guilt free.
- Be selective with your healthy-makeover choices. Don’t force yourself to eat “healthier” versions of your favorite foods if you don’t even like them.
- If you are one of the people who loves all-things cauliflower, please don’t whip one at my head should we ever encounter each other. And encourage scientists to look in to that cauliflower juice thing …
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