This article was the catalyst for me in going on to write my best selling book, Real Treats. You can check that out here on Amazon.
“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. We say them when talking about that innocent lil’ packet of this or bar or that, but here’s the thing:
GMO corn or soy is not a treat.
Preservatives that can cause rashes, asthma or eczema are not treats.
Food colourings that can alter brain function and may cause cancer are not treats.
Car coolant in ice creams is not a treat.
Meat glue and pink slime (ammonium hydroxide) in some commercial burgers are not treats.
Trans fats are not a treats.
Carcinogenic Aspartame is not a treat.
So how on earth are the processed weirdness products treats? Isn’t it just weird when you think about it like that? Originally ‘treats’ were at the very least real food, chemical free and I agree, the odd slice of cake, biscuit, burger or lolly wouldn’t hurt at all – because they all used to be made with sugar, flour, eggs, butter, glucose syrup etc. So while not the healthiest every day options in the world, no, the odd treat wouldn’t harm you if what you ate was predominantly meats, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, unprocessed dairy. 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 I believe where we’ve gone wrong, because these didn’t exist when that saying was created…
A lot of people fall off the ‘real food’ wagon because they’re calling it a diet. Deprivation eventually ensues. A feeling of needing to reward oneself with copious amounts of ‘treats’ beckons and on and on we go. What if treats weren’t treats though. 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.
As a proud ambassador for the Food Revolution, part of the mission of the ambassadors around the globe is to help people change their mind set and make healthy, real food a delicious and fun journey. Changing mindset is what changes lives – not just regarding food, but general awesomeness of quality of life and outlook. Jamie Oliver is the king of helping change mindsets and it’s awesome to help in my own tiny way, so here’s what I think.
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…
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?
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. 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