“Everything in moderation”. “The odd treat won’t harm you”. “Once every so often won’t hurt”… Heard those before? Said those things before? You’re absolutely not alone and if you were talking about a delicious home made cake or ice cream, or fresh cookies out of the oven, then you’re right. It absolutely won’t harm you. BUT, our culture today has a whole new normal when it comes to treats and we say them when talking about what we think is an innocent lil’ packet of this or bar or that or a cute little cupcake at the loca cafe, and unfortunately treats aren’t what they once were. There’s lots hiding in there:
- GMO corn or soy is not a treat (catch show #46 on the Low Tox Life podcast on the subject to see why).
- Preservatives that can cause rashes, dermatitis, asthma or eczema are not treats (especially common are the 202, 220, 223)
- Food colourings that can alter brain function and may cause cancer are not treats.
- Car coolant in ice creams is not a treat (look for glycol or propylene glycol in the ingredients)
- Meat glue and pink slime (ammonium hydroxide) in some commercial burgers are not treats.
- Trans fats are not treats, in fact they’re harmful.
- Aspartame, found to – in the end – CAUSE weight gain and be a possible carcinogen, is not a treat.
So how on earth are the processed weirdness products treats? Isn’t it just weird when you slow your mind, be present and truly think about? Something I’ve come to realise over the years that just because something is considered ‘normal’ doesn’t mean it’s great.
Originally ‘treats’ were real food, chemical free and as I said, the odd slice of cake, biscuit, burger or lolly wouldn’t hurt at all – because they all used to be made with real ingredients that we could find in our pantries. So while not the healthiest everyday options, the odd treat wouldn’t harm you. The problem is when we took this phrase “The odd treat won’t harm you” into the age of highly denatured foods such as vegetable oils, petroleum based colours, preservatives to make things last a year and fly around the world, car coolant to make ice cream not ice up and be easy to scoop… That is where we’ve gone wrong because these strange additions didn’t exist when “the odd treat won’t hurt” became a saying. If treats have changed, they need to be reassessed by us in terms of safety.
What if we worked on our definition and truly recognised so called ‘treats’ for what they really are – Nothing more than a money making farce! Once you’re firmly committed to Real Food, the treats are boundless, they just don’t happen to have big brand names. Home baked cookies, luscious cacao smoothies, cakes, tarts, home made ice pops treats – those are real treats. We can make recipes with gentle sweeteners, healthier flours, no flours at all… We are in control and we reap the rewards of a little time in the kitchen. Check out the “sweet treats” section on the blog here, under “recipes” – I have hundreds of treats for you there!
The “treats” mindset needs to change. We need to stop calling marketed food-like products ‘treats’ and bring it back home. It’s just not a treat to give a kid a slushie with 11 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup and a hyperactivity causing artificial colour in it. We’ve been told by marketers for decades about these treats and we’ve so totally bought into the brands. My favourite ‘treats’ over the years have been things such as Oreos, Microwaved popcorn, Curly Wurly’s, British Cadbury, Soya Crisps, Gatorade, Magnums, Soft serve, Ben and Jerry’s, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder… so if you think I’m preaching from a position of perfection, think again.
If we’re really going to change our mindset and shape the world with our collective choices, then it’s never really a treat to have a chocolate bar with 12 additives our bodies don’t understand, is it? Make a super quick home made chocolate bar instead. SO good!
The shift is a deep one. The need to explain to our kids is imminent. We need to have patience with them and ourselves, while we get it across the line with them that there’s bad stuff in all those ‘treats’ so “why don’t we make something yummy when we get home!?” It’s not uncool if cool people start doing it, right? I’m assuming here of course that we’re cool?
And then there’s the beauty of what cooking means – Cooking together, smelling something baking in the oven together, and eating something delicious together, as a treat. A real one. It also means we eat less sweet stuff in general, because we can’t gratuitously grab at it in an instant and on call. That then means a really good chance of weight loss, less ADHD, less allergies and reduced disease risks. Wow. Powerful stuff.
Here’s to treats. Redefined. If this article struck a chord with you, then you might like my book, Real Treats, available from Amazon here. Give yourself a good year for this journey, if this scares you to death. Baby step it. Chunk it down. Join the community – we’re absolutely judgement free! Tiny changes over time will equal success and a deep understanding – possibly even boundless enthusiasm! It’s a mental shift in thinking NOT a willpower issue.
I’d love to hear of your successes in implementing real treats, weaning yourselves or kids off the junky stuff et all. If you know people who struggle with this, please share. It’s not a goodbye to treats. It’s realising that most of that stuff isn’t a treat in the first place and adding delicious things into your life that are!
Real Food. Happy Bodies.
GMO Reading. Apart from the devastation to soil quality and ecosystems, including the ever important yet dwindling bee population, that genetically modified seeds and pesticide spraying cause in agriculture, there is so much money and power that independent studies attempted to study effect on rats, often get retracted from medical / industrial pressure in the journals that dare publish them in the first place. Here’s a look at one such case. I don’t have the ultimate answer, but I just can’t see how genetically modified seeds made ‘ready’ for that same company’s pesticide, is right. All it sounds like to me is a clever business plan if you want to make lots of money.
Why soy is not a great ingredient to be choosing for growing bodies
The Whole Soy Story
Dr Kaayla Daniel – http://www.wholesoystory.com/
Information on Preservatives and Food colourings and studies showing links is available throughout the book, The Chemical Maze
Information on trans fats and highly processed vegetable oils can be found in a great book by Dr Mary Enig, Know your fats
Find out what “pink slime” is and why Jamie Oliver campaigned against it, resulting in McDonalds removing it from their burger meat here.
Aspartame is heavily contested. There’s plenty of ‘for’ and plenty of ‘against’. The official cancer associations will tell you there’s no cause for concern, but the alternative health world will. Given the way it’s produced and how chronically ill I personally used to be in my years as a diet c*&e drinker and eater of “sugar free” treats, I definitely have my doubts and choose a far simpler sweet route: Fruit, Home made chocolate in moderation, and the odd slice of delicious wholesome cake or biscuit. I much prefer to do this while they all battle it out on whether or not it’s harmful.
And is there really car coolant used in commercial ice creams? Yes. Home made ice cream often goes ‘icy’ and that’s actually NORMAL! Read more here