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Why It’s Okay to Want Something Sweet – Consider the Unexpected Power of Cookies

June 3, 2018

People sometimes sound ashamed when they tell me they like to have something sweet during the day. Like they’re confessing to something terrible.

 

But personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting something sweet now and again. It’s probably not great to only eat sweet things. But as part of your diet, it doesn’t seem like this should be a high concern.

 

I understand that if you have diabetes, you might want to avoid refined sugar. And for some people, eating refined sugar can make them crave it more, at least sometimes. But Stevia and other sweeteners give you a lot of options these days.

 

And I realize it may seem odd to encourage people to eat sweet things, but sometimes those foods are important.

 

Consider cookies. 

 

Cookies may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. But I’ve read a couple of things recently that give me a different take on them.

 

For my birthday, I got a copy of the book The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life by Cookie Monster (yes, this is a real book). In it, he shares all kinds of cookie commentary and wisdom, including this: “Two wrongs not make right… but two cookies make everything right.”

 

What struck me about this is that I had recently read a story that showed an example of this being true, in the book Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. 

 

He told the story of a terrorist who was being interrogated to find out information about Osama bin Laden. The man refused to say anything at first, as you might expect.

 

Then an interrogator noticed that when they brought the man cookies and tea every day, he didn’t touch the cookies. Not because he didn’t like them, but because he was diabetic.

 

The interrogator got the idea to bring the man some sugar-free cookies instead – and he ate them. It turned out to be a significant turning point, because after that, the prisoner starting sharing information about bin Laden.

 

So from the perspective of the interrogator, those cookies did make at least some things right.

 

And somehow, I have a feeling that bringing the prisoner a salad, or some celery sticks and hummus, wasn’t going to cut it. The cookies showed that the interrogator recognized the prisoner’s humanity, and his need for something more than simple sustenance.

 

It reminded me of the fact that food is more than fuel. It’s a way of connecting us, or drawing us together in ways other things can’t.

 

Cookie Monster commented on this, too. One of the other quotes I like from his book is:

“Stranger just friend me have not shared cookie with yet.”

 

So I don’t see any inherent issue with wanting or accepting something sweet. Especially when I consider that it could be a way to build relationships… or accept a caring gesture.

 

Mind you, I won’t go as far as Cookie Monster and say that cookies make the world go around, but I do think they have something special to offer. 

 

After all, they’re fairly humble. Making cookies may be one of the first things you share when baking treats with kids. You don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment to make them – unless you want to. And there’s just something magical about the way the smell of fresh-baked cookies can make anyplace feel like home.

 

With that thought, I hope you can find some sweetness in your day, in whatever form. And maybe Cookie Monster is onto something when he suggests: “Bake the world a better place.”

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