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In case you missed them: this week's posts!

Welcome to another edition of Email Mondays!

I just returned from an amazing weekend celebrating the marriage of two very close friends. Bill and Hayley of The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate are two extraordinary individuals whose partnership has inspired me greatly over the years.

(Don't miss their books: Gather, The 30-Day Guide to Paleo Cooking, and Make it Paleo!)

I got to see old friends AND make new ones - like my friend and "sardine sister" Cindy of PaleoDish. (Far right.) Love that girl! She's one to watch. Follow her here.

Their wedding was absolute perfection, and it got me thinking. The warmth, love, and of course, delicious food were all incredible. It was healthy food, with a healthy dose of celebratory indulgence, made thoughtfully and especially for the occasion. Every item was carefully selected, free of common allergens and refined ingredients, and made with love. And everything was gosh-dang delicious!

And it got me thinking: celebrating life’s momentous occasions should never feel like an anxiety-ridden fear-fest about food.

There’s no reason to punish ourselves for enjoying and marking happy memories with delicious, special food, including the sweet-treat kind. (After the steak, of course!) And further, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating milestones and special occasions with food. Food – especially the nourishing kind, but also the treat kind – is a blessing and, across history, has been at the center of celebrations, and for good reason.
Here’s the key, though: in modern life, we’ve got access 100% of the time to indulgences that look an awful lot like special, celebratory foods – when, in reality, they’re anything but.

Cookies, cakes and booze stock the shelves of every corner store, gas station and supermarket. Unfortunately, these low-grade, processed, pre-made substitutes for worthy indulgences are often stacked with trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils, processed fats, refined flours and sugars, and ingredients derived from GMOs. (If you're not sure about GMO foods, start here.)
Those are the “treat” foods available to us every day. But their real, true versions – the ones that take the best, least refined ingredients, thoughtful preparation and time to make – could never be so readily available. And that's the way it's supposed to be.

A treat is a treat, an indulgence is an indulgence, because it’s rare. Well-made. Created not to bomb your goals, but to enrich a moment. Hopefully, it’s consumed in an environment of love and happiness that takes all the baggage and stress about food away.
All foods prepared with love, especially those celebratory ones that are created for special occasions with health in mind (gluten-free, grain free and/or dairy-free when needed, free of refined grains and refined fats), should be viewed as fun, special, and worth the occasional indulgence. They shouldn’t be sources of stress or fear. Food can be a truly amazing thing!
Over the years, as a Paleo/Primal/Real Food devotee, I’ve continued to, slowly but surely, release all that old baggage that I held on to about eating. Where I used to fear celebrations and indulgences, now I appreciate them for what they are: rare, stress-free, and delicious.
What do you think? Is the occasional treat something to fret about? Should being "strict" apply to special events? 

Do you have to choose between health and indulgences?

Tweet me or share your thoughts on the facebook page!

Thanks for reading!

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