Death By Voodoo: Is It Really Possible?


“So doctor…what was it that killed her?” the woman asked between sobs, clinging to her husband.

“I’m afraid it was voodoo.”

She gasped. “You mean the Haitian religion based on rituals dating back to the 18th century?”

“No ma’am…Voodoo…as in doughnuts. She choked on one. See that little bit of jelly on her chin?”


That woman is my mother, and this scenario is playing out in my imagination after I tell myself that eating one doughnut won’t kill me (But what if it DID?).

I ate the doughnut, assuming all risks and liabilities. If you have never experienced Voodoo (the doughnuts…just to clarify), you have no idea just how tasty fried globs of sugary dough can taste. They are SO addictive, that If I didn’t know better, I would guess that the “secret ingredient” must be meth.

By now you must be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute…I thought that Debra teaches (and surely lives) a lifestyle of health and wellness. How do doughnuts fit into that?”

First of all, let me just point out that you’re being awfully judge-y.

Secondly, you’re absolutely right. Doughnuts don’t exactly paint a picture of healthy eating…especially if you choose the Maple Bacon one at Voodoo (which isn’t my favorite, thankfully, at 29 fat grams each. WHAT?!).

But…and I have to add a BIG but (‘cuz…well, if you don’t get it, you should just stop reading right now)…what I teach is also a concept called moderation. Yes, moderation…I will never tell you that a particular food is “bad”, or that you should never eat XYZ because ___ (insert pompous speech about organic, no artificial sweeteners, trans-fat-free, vegan, my-food-is-better-than-your-food crap).

 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“The only wine I drink comes from France, and it’s FRESH! I don’t let people fool me into drinking that OLD stuff!” (those who know me well know that I quote “The Jerk” in practically every conversation, so this seemed fitting)

What I WILL emphasize is “everything in moderation”. Which means that I DO allow myself to eat doughnuts…certainly not on a weekly basis, but once in a while. And I make sure that when I do, the rest of my food intake that day is healthy and lower-calorie to balance it out.

My theory is this: deprivation causes frustration.

Some people deprive themselves of a particular food, or entire categories of foods, for a length of time. My opinion is that the likelihood of having a “slip-up” and binging on that food is far greater than if you don’t exclude any food you like from your diet.

When you plan for, and take the time to enjoy, an occasional treat…you’re more likely to stick with a healthy plan of eating the majority of the time.

Did you catch that middle part…take the time to enjoy? This is key. Mindless eating of any food does not serve our bodies well…but particularly mindless eating of those foods that are “sometimes” foods. Be present to enjoy what you eat…turn off the television, eat slowly enough to savor the taste, and if you are eating with someone else, focus on enjoying his or her company (and you may then associate those positive feelings with the yumminess of whatever you’re eating).

So the next time you crave something like a doughnut (or whatever food trips your trigger!), go ahead and eat it! You know that somewhere I’m savoring my voodoo doll doughnut, slowly so that I enjoy it.

And if someday I’m in your presence, and I happen to be choking on a doughnut…try your best to resist the urge to revive me. At my funeral, I want my mother to say “It’s exactly how she would have wanted to go.”

This post is part of the FYB “31 Days to Quiet the Voices in Your Head” series.
Read more about it HERE.

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