“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 cause rashes, asthma or eczema are not treats.
Food colourings that alter brain function and cause cancer are not treats.
Car coolant in ice creams is not a treat.
Meat glue and pink slime in burgers are not treats.
Trans fats are not a treats.
Carcinogenic Aspartame is not a treat.
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. Give yourself a good year for this one, 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! 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.