It’s Your Birthday. Do You REALLY Want Cake?

Here’s what happened when I decided to forego the tradition

Last week was my birthday. In my family, birthday dinners have always included yummy cake. So, before my birthday I started thinking that I would eat cake as a celebration for my birthday — celebrating another year around the sun, feeling good and grateful for a full and enriched life.

In the past, I have thought I deserved the cake. This year was different.

CTA - Sugar

On my birthday afternoon, it dawned on me…it’s not about the cake. Cake is just what is expected, but it’s in no way what HAS to happen. I stewed about this for a long time. Did I want to celebrate my birthday with cake?

Honestly, the answer was that I wanted to spend a nice evening with my family at a special dinner. I didn’t really care about the sweet dessert. In fact, I’m a savory girl. I was really looking forward to the different kinds of sushi at the new Japanese restaurant…not the cake.

That said, cake is tradition in our family for birthdays, and in lots of other families too. It’s the centerpiece of a ceremony — singing “Happy Birthday,” blowing out the candles and making a birthday wish for the coming year. The problem is that birthday cake isn’t really in the best interest of myself or of my family. Cake is normally white flour and lots of white sugar. It’s not good for our bodies, it causes inflammation, revs up our delicate systems and causes unhealthful blood sugar and energy swings. Personally, I have problems with lots of sugar. It aggravates my knee/joint pains and causes interrupted sleep. I don’t like how I feel when I eat it, and I’ve been noticing this more and more of late.

So what did I do about the cake conundrum? Did I enjoy cake at my birthday dinner? NOPE! I ate lots of delicious fish, and when it came time for dessert, I didn’t even want it. I thought my kids would be disappointed. They weren’t. They enjoyed dinner and didn’t miss the cake.

For me, it was another step on the path of “walking my talk.” I talk a lot about lowering the amount of sugars in the diet for better health. I have personally been working on it for years now. But at this birthday, I think I’ve turned a corner beyond celebrating with sugar. This year, we celebrated with sushi instead of sugar and honestly it felt really good!

I think it’s time to regularly celebrate with something besides sugar! There…I’ve said it. So on your next birthday or celebratory day, I challenge you to do one of the following:

  • Splurge on your favorite restaurant without ordering dessert.
  • Enjoy a bouquet of flowers instead of cake. Who doesn’t love flowers!
  • Get a mani/pedi instead of going out for cake

There are lots of options. The point is, don’t automatically assume cake is in the equation. Choose your own celebration. It felt really good! Give it a try!