The irony of the “treat”

The irony of the “treat”

Why is it, that when we think of treats, we often think of the over-processed, over-packaged, sugary, additive-filled, preservative-pumped, nutritionally-devoid excuses for food that we can buy at the supermarkets? I used to think that way, and I’d head to the supermarket to pick up a sugar-laden, calorie-filled, preservative-packed “treat” whenever I felt like I deserved a reward, wanted to celebrate, or was feeling sorry for myself.

Thing is, after that initial euphoria that came with eating said “treat”, I’d end up feeling less than special. All that refined sugar and refined carbohydrates would make me feel tired and lethargic. I’d often end up bloated and with stomach ache. I’d feel guilty – for having filled my body with junk, for having wasted my money, for not having the willpower to eschew junk food altogether and treat myself to a relaxing bath instead. The kind of guilt that could possibly be placated by the soothing comfort of a chocolate bar – and so it would continue.

I used to think like that, but I’ve changed. I haven’t stopped enjoying treats though – I still love chocolate and cake and all of those things. What’s happened is I’ve discovered that it’s possible to enjoy treats that still taste amazing and are made ingredients that are actually good for us. More on that later.

profiteroles and ingredients
Custard-filled profiteroles. But seriously, have you seen the ingredients?! How is filling your body with rubbish like that any way to treat yourself?

This change wasn’t a quick process. A combination of a few things – increasing interest in my health, a desire to stop buying things in plastic packaging and a passion for sustainable food – led me down this path, but it took time to learn and adjust. Once I was on the path though, I knew there was no going back.

I can’t tell you how much better I feel. When I eat something packed with nutrients, there’s no way I feel guilty! Food made with real ingredients fills me up, tastes far better, and the flavours linger… which helps stop me eating 100 cookies all at once.

If I served you a banana, an avocado and some walnuts for breakfast you’d probably think that was pretty healthy. And possibly also a little boring. But chuck it in a blender and add some cacao powder and a few other bits and pieces and you have chocolate mousse. For breakfast. How awesome is that?!

chocmouseebreakfast
Yep, this was breakfast! Chocolate mousse topped with walnuts and cacao nibs, with oatbran and cashew nut milk. What a way to start the day!

The point of a treat is just that. It is a treat. A treat should be something that makes us feel good. But this feeling shouldn’t just come simply from the knowledge that we are indulging ourselves. It should also come from the fact that we are indulging in something that will nourish us, that will provide our bodies with what it needs to feel good, to repair itself, to restore us. With food, this means something that will continue to benefit our bodies long after the taste has left our lips. What is the point in “treating ourselves” to something that tastes sugary and satisfying but as soon as it is gone we are plagued with regret, because we know it is actually bad for us – full of preservatives and fillers but devoid of any nutritional benefit?

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m super passionate about food! So this year, one major focus on the blog is going to be to try to inspire you in the ways of clean eating, by making and sharing simple recipes (with probably far too much focus on desserts and sweet treats!) that are packed with things that are good for us and make us feel great. You don’t need to be a great cook. For some of them you won’t even need an oven! Simplicity is best.

Here’s to a year of deliciousness : )

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11 Responses to The irony of the “treat”

  1. Bravo to that sentiment! We choose every day how we are going to fuel our bodies, and so often those quick & easy food choices create packaging waste and queasy digestion. Someone very close to me, who is not a complete nutrition or health obsessive, is rather devout about his treats: if the food item is not delicious after one bite, then he will not consume it. He instead bequeaths it to the chicken scraps bucket. In his own words, the item is not “temple worthy”. Tellingly, this almost always occurs with pre-fab/purchased items, not homemade. This zealous attitude also nurtures self-reliance skills in creating our own delicious treats, every day. Viva la bonne cuisine!

    • “Temple-worthy”, I love that! I may have to steal it! Yes you’re right, those kinds of foods are wrong on so many levels, not just the nutrition/digestion one. I can’t imagine those massive food processing factories can be very nice places to work, as well as the transport, and packing issues like you say.

      I wish everyone would cook more! Homemade is so much better on every level : )

    • Yes it is and yes you must! I’ve been experimenting a bit with different chocolate mousse recipes recently and hope to share some of them on the blog soon. But I think there’s just one basic rule to follow: tasty in = tasty out! Or maybe two – cacao makes everything better!

  2. Bring on the recipes! (I’ve never had cashew nut milk, sounds delicious. In Chicago last year we ate at a vegan restaurant that had a cashew-based cheese substitute. — Yum! I did NOT lose any weight on that trip)

    • I think the idea that people lose weight whilst travelling is a myth. We may not have access to our fridge and pantry, but there is sooo much tasty food out there in the world to try! I’ve made cashew sour cream, which I guess might be similar to that – was it thick or spreadable?

  3. haha We try to keep it simple and healthy, but if we have a spare bag at the bulk food bins someone sneaks off and gets party mix :P Also recently discovered if we don’t meal plan our food, we eat more ‘treats’ ergh!
    Yay for health food journeys! :)

    • My boyfriend is the same regarding the bulk bin stores! If I ask him to go and pick something up he will always buy a bag of chocolate-covered licorice or wasabi peas – and I’m sure they can’t be good for you!

      I don’t make meals plans as such but I do always think a couple of days ahead, and I always make sure my fridge is full of fresh vegetables. Last week, because I was so busy with the festival I didn’t, and we ended up eating out more than I’d like. My body wasn’t thanking me by the end of the week. This week I’m looking forward to getting back to the old routines : )

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