Day 157 ~ 177 Days of Unexpected Health Project

Sugar-Coated Health

I could potentially call myself a nutrition expert. I have been formally educated about healthy eating and feel quite confident teaching others about vitamins and minerals, macro- and micronutrients, etc. If you were to ask me for nutrition advice, I would immediately suggest drinking plenty of water, eliminating sodas, cutting down on breads, pastas, chips, and any other white flour substance, and would definitely recommend removing sugar from your diet as much as possible. But today, after a beautiful walk in Bidwell Park (yep, I’m in Chico for the weekend!), I discovered the Unexpected Health in…snow cones!

Well, let me explain snow cones. I’m not talking about your do-it-yourself Snoopy snow cone machine that us kids had growing up. What I am referring to is Hawaiian Shaved Ice…that 50+ flavored sugar syrup drizzled over shaved ice. If you have ever been to the fair, you’ve seen these little bits of icey heaven. You can get any flavor imaginable: from blueberry to bubble gum to tiger’s blood (not sure what that would taste like!), there is a flavor for every palette. My favorite: a combo of blue bubble gum and pink cotton candy! Now of course, there is NOTHING nutrient-rich about this concoction. In fact, I am quite sure this is a dentist’s nightmare (and any nutritionist, for that matter). But the Unexpected Health in snow cones–Hawaiian Shaved Ice, to be exact–is that these kid-loving treats can remind us of our youth…and reminiscing about childhood times is healthy.

When we lived out in the country, there was a little blue snow shack (yes, literally blue and literally a shack) that served the most refreshing Hawaiian Shaved Ice during the hot summer months. As a treat, my mom would drive me into town so that I could get a little summertime snow cone. I never lost my love for these little ice treats. When I moved to Chico for college, I found a little frozen yogurt shop that carried the very same sugary snack. So of course, I can never make a trip to Chico without treating my taste buds to a little blast from the past.

Of course, our diets should not be filled with simple syrup and deep fried fair food. But sometimes, we crave a certain food not because of its nutrients but more because of its memories. I have so many healthFUL memories from my times living out in the country. I have countless healthy memories from my time here in Chico. And sometimes, I want to go back to those times…to remember and reminisce about life in those areas, during those times, and at those age groups. So the next time you crave a little nutrient-lacking food, think about why your belly may want it. It’s okay to splurge once in a while…especially when fond memories are involved. -Until tomorrow, Jaime

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