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Food of the week: Girl Scout Cookies! (Part One)

Hey, wait a minute! This is supposed to be a healthy blog…Girl Scout Cookies!?!?!

Let's start at the beginning. I have a pretty active group of Facebook friends, and many of them are Girl Scout moms. I started seeing status reports about what to do with the temptation of all those cookies sitting in the garage…coming in from points North, South, East, and West.

As a joke, I mentioned that I was going to start a support group especially for these moms.

At which point my college pal and wine aficionado Hank Zona chimed in, and we discussed which wines might go with which cookies. Hank is one of those guys who, I can honestly say, I've never seen without a smile on his face, and who finds fun in everything from food and wine to music, to the little things in life that he can pair with them. I found myself wishing I could replace the fear and anxiety in all those Girl Scout moms with some joie de Hank…and thought perhaps a blog post on the topic might be a start in that direction.

So here's the deal. I am a First Class Girl Scout and I strongly support their work with girls. But…I do not think Girl Scout cookies are a health food, and suffered a severe breakout once myself from eating an entire box of Samoas in a single sitting. I think the Girl Scouts would best consider a healthier fundraiser…but the reality is, they're part of our food world. Rather than let that fact control me and how I feel about food and myself…I want to share some ways we all might include Girl Scout cookies in our lives that have nothing to do with bingeing and everything to do with being a"little more Hank".

1. Eat a couple of cookies as part of a meal, at the end of the meal. By combining a small, moderate amount of them with other foods that have helped to fill you up first, you will (1) be less likely to binge and (2) help temper the blood sugar fluctuations they are sure to produce if eaten on their own.

2. Eat the cookies at your dinner table, not standing in the kitchen, driving in the car, sitting at your work desk, or any other place where you might easily lose track of what and how much you are eating. Better yet, eat them in the presence of others so you are accountable for what you do.

3. Challenge yourself to see how long it takes you to eat one cookie. Contrary to popular practice, Girl Scout cookies were not intended to be consumed by the sleeve or the box. Chances are, if you're gobbling them down, you're not even tasting them and you're already stressing about the future consequences of what you're doing right now. You may actually find, as many people do, when you allow yourself to eat something sweet, and take the time to taste it, a bite or two is all you really need.

4. Try a Girl Scout cookie smoothie! Put some Greek yogurt, a banana, and a couple of cookies in your blender for a tasty treat with healthier influences.

5. Again, I'm not saying wine and cookies are the ultimate health food combination, but there's an energy that goes with savoring a glass of wine and a sweet treat, in moderation, that could be used with all foods, in order to have healthier attitudes about those foods. Hank's wine pairings will be shared in Part Two of this topic.

6. Finally, if the combination of you in the house and boatloads of cookies in the garage is not working for you…then don't freaking do it!!! You're still a good mom, and you're still a Girl Scout supporter if you do not turn your garage into a glucose surplus warehouse for 6 weeks each year. Donate money…donate your time…the Girl Scouts will exist whether or not you eat, sell, or support their cookie fundraiser.

Finally, here's your litmus test. If you're squirming about my suggestions, looking for ways to interpret the wording for permission to eat more than one or two at a time…or even left this post mid-blog to go get a few cookies to munch while you read…be honest with yourself. Are you using Girl Scout cookies to augment a healthy diet? Or are you hoping that somehow, some way, you are going to discover a magical piece of advice that gives you permission to just read about, not act on, healther choices that you don't really have to enact?

If you truly try these suggestions and they didn't work…that's where inCYST can help. Our providers are trained in this very dilemma and have many great ideas for ways to de-slave yourself from trigger foods. Look to the side here, and find someone who can help you.