There is a restaurant in Nairobi that I love. Every time I walk in, I have an enormous smile on my face. The food is good; the pastries, incredulous; and the atmosphere, truly alive.
Given that it’s my life’s work to get people away from the evils that are wheat and dairy, why would I frequent such a place? Honestly? Because it makes me happy. Deliriously happy.
My usual is a ham and cheese baguette, and in that sandwich, we have wheat, dairy, processed meat (recently termed a carcinogen by the WHO) and a healthy dose of the kind of fat that does no good in the body. I know this, and yet I eat it, because when I do I feel like I’ve been transported to a little cafe in Paris.
I tell you this story because I think happiness is underrated. I’m not talking about eating the wrong thing all the time or not keeping the body in good shape. I’m talking about something that Joseph Campbell, an American philosopher, called following your bliss.
“When you follow your bliss, the Universe will open doors, where [once] there were only walls.” Given I’ve been eating a lot of ham and cheese baguettes of late, this is exactly what has been happening.
Shouldn’t I be telling you that less of what you fancy does you good? Yes.
While I acknowledge the need for elimination diets and other such austerities, what you eat should fit into your life, not the other way around. Also, if said diet is making your miserable, the Law of Attraction says that you will attract more of the same. This is why many people find that going on a strict weight-loss programme, quickly leaves them at loggerheads with their partner, not to mention the rest of their family. It’s not about the food. It’s about how they feel about it.
When Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, effortlessly lost almost 70kg, she didn’t do it by eating what she hated; rather she did by eating what she loved: everything from fried chicken to chocolate brownies. So what did she change? Just the quantities that she ate.
It sounds like a novel concept, but it’s what regular people do: they eat whatever they feel like, they don’t eat too much dessert and may even skip it if they don’t feel like it. They exercise when they want and don’t go when they’ve had a rough week. It’s all about balance.
So getting back to my baguette, if something makes you feel good, do it - whether it’s a manicure, cool new braids or even an afternoon devoted to your favourite series. And then write to me to tell me what other amazing things happened that day. I have no doubt that there will be plenty.