Working in the field of health and nutrition, I read and hear A LOT of interesting ideas from people when it comes to health, their health and justifications of why they eat this or that. But I do not blame anyone, I mean let's face it, our society does a really good job at seducing us with foods that are toxic to our health, and yet are marketed as "treats".
One of the most common things we talk about in our society, when it comes to food, is the subject of treats. In fact, from the time we are little, one of the most common things that we learn about “food” from the grow-ups around us, revolves around the concept of treats.
If we are good, or do something good, or warrant some kind of reward, we are usually told we get a “treat“. As we grow up, we do the same to our children as well, exemplifying conditional love with the use of unhealthy food as tokens of approval. And not only that, but we formulate an amazing excuse to eat all sorts of things, by using phrases like “I am going to treat myself” or “It is just a treat” or “Let’s go out for a treat.” So let's explore deeper as to what are these so called treats, what hides behind the word treat, and how does it all impact our health.
What Is a Treat?
The word treat is an interesting one as it has many meanings from a noun and verb point of view. In our society today however, we have accepted one of those meanings to simply be “putting something in our bodies that makes us feel good.”
Now, before we go any further let us note that the “feel good” that is spoken of above is normally completely emotional, whether all of us realize this or not. What we allow ourselves to believe, or allow our minds to make into a “treat“, is not considered at all a treat by your body. More on this, below.
Let us also add into the mix an interesting addition for the use of the word “treat“. ‘To treat someone‘, is to make them ‘better‘, or ‘whole‘ or ‘healthy‘ – basically it implies that there is something ‘wrong‘ with the current state the person is in. Rarely, do people look at the treats they eat from this point of view.
As I went along my own personal health journey, read, researched and consciously considered all angles, I came up with the following definition of what a treat means to me:
“A treat (food or drink) – is a substance that benefits the body and provides it pleasant physical, as well as psychological and emotional symptoms, without causing harm to any of those areas.”
A treat should ADD TO, not TAKE AWAY from our optimal body function. A treat should REJUVENATE, not ABUSE our body in the process of consuming it.
What Do We Consider Treats?
In our society, what the average person considers a “treat”, are foods and drinks composed of the most sugary, salty, fatty, chemically altered and artificially colored substances.
We think we are ‘doing a child a favor’ when we allow them to have a candy or chocolate bar.
We think we are ‘being good to ourselves’ when we have that cookie, donut or ice-cream.
We think we are ‘honorable hosts‘ when we take someone out for pizza or provide them with ample alcohol.
Although the idea of what we consider a treat, is still a a very sensitive topic for many to face, grasp or open themselves up to, our health continues to pay the price. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand, push it away or pretend the problem does not exist, we are not doing anyone any favors.
What I wonder about, is what are we so afraid of losing, by accepting these substances for what they are? An emotional security blanket? Because when it comes to your taste buds, there are many other natural foods that can excite and delight our taste buds even more. The addictive properties of these substances will fade away, but we have to face the fact that many of us are hooked onto these foods and excusing the eating of them, as if our livelihood was in danger without them.
Somewhere along the way in the past century, we have bought into believing that treating ourselves, means putting substances inside our bodies that cause it harm. And unconsciously, we accepted this.
In general today, most people’s ideas of treats, is nothing more than a filling of an emotional void within. We have become so detached from ourselves, each other and nature, and it shows. We look towards chemical substances to make us feel better and connected, through an experience that is causing us harm behind the scenes.
Top 10 Substances That Are Not Worthy To Be Called a “Treat”
Whether you agree with or disagree with what I m trying to explain in this article depends a lot with how much you love, respect and care for your body and health, how open-minded you are to new ideas, and how much you are able to connect the dots between the substances you put into your body and the outcome they produce.
We live in a Universe where for every cause, there is an effect. We cannot escape that. You can continue to put harmful substances into your body, and call them whatever you like, or you can choose today to be the day, where you expand your definition of what a treat for the body really should be.
Thus, I leave you with the top 10 foods in my opinion, that are not worthy of being called a treat or entering a body that is loved, cared for and respected:
A treat for your toilet perhaps, as it is corrosive enough to clean it well, but with the sugars and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors, in no way for your body. (Associated with kidney stones, bone loss, insulin resistance, diabetes, gout, headaches (migraines), nutrient depletion, liver damage, digestive disturbances, lowered immune function, weight gain and more.)
A treat for the alcohol companies to sell, but with mood, brain function impairing and carcinogenic properties, in no way a treat for your body. (Associated with liver damage, kidney damage, impaired brain function, lowered immune function, emotional instability, sleep disturbances, nutrient depletion, stomach cancer, liver cancer, irritable bowel, digestive disturbances, depression, reduced fertility and more.)
3. Hard & Soft Candy (Twizzlers, Gummy Bears, Smarties, etc.)
A treat for the visual senses perhaps, but with sugars, artificial colors, sweeteners and chemicals, in no way a treat for your body. (Associated with weight gain, liver damage, insulin resistance, diabetes, tooth decay, oral health problems, halitosis, ADD/ADHD, mood disorders, lowered immune function and more.)
4. Cookies, Donuts, Cakes
A treat for Homer Simpson’s body perhaps, but with bad fats, sugars, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, not for real human bodies. (Associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, ADD/ADHD, depression, lowered immune function, weight gain, digestive disturbances, constipation, liver damage, and more.)
5. Chocolate Bars
A treat for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but with bad fats, sugars and artificial additives, not a treat for your body’s factory. (Associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, energy irregularities, depression, ADD/ADHD, lowered immune function, weight gain, digestive disturbances, metabolic syndrome, and more.)
A treat for the coffee shops to sell, but with acidic properties, nutrient and energy depleting properties, not for your body to ingest. (Associated with sleep disturbances, energy depletion, energy irregularities, adrenal disturbances, adrenal fatigue, bone loss, lowered immune function, nutrient depletion, digestive disturbances, headaches (migraines), oral health problems, and more.)
7. Fast & Fried Food (French Fries, Pizza, Burgers, Hot Dogs…)
A treat for the fast food chains to produce, but with bad fats, chemical additives, GM ingredients, carcinogenic properties, loads of salt and sugar, in no way a treat for your body to consume. (Associated with weight gain, heart disease, liver damage, gallbladder damage, impaired colon health, constipation, cancers, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, mood irregularities, sleep disturbances, allergies, and more.)
8. Ice Cream
A treat for the dairy farmers to make, but with pasteurized milk, loads of sugar, salt, and chemical additives, in no way a treat for your body. (Associated with weight gain, insulin resistance, heart disease, diabetes, emotional disturbances, inflammatory diseases, liver damage, impaired immune function and more.)
9. Potato Chips
A treat for the deep fryer, but with artery clogging, blood pressure spiking, carcinogenic properties, in no way a treat for your body. (Associated with weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, liver damage, diabetes, headaches (migraines), cancers, digestive disturbances and more.)
A treat for filling in holes in walls perhaps, but with artificial sweeteners, colors and chemicals, in no way a treat for your body. (Associated with liver damage, headaches (migraines), kidney damage, impaired brain biochemistry, allergies, and more.)
In the end, I am not saying never to eat these substances again. Have them if you like, but do not call them ‘treats‘ or hide behind the excuse that these are somehow ‘treating’ your body, as they do nothing to benefit or treat your body for optimal health functioning.
There are numerous natural substances that can provide an amazing variety of natural colors, flavors and nutritional benefits and be worthy of being called a ‘treat‘. The above substances are not them, as they subject your body to too much stress and damage, some of it obvious immediately, and some not until a disease develops.
Emotional eating is one of the leading causes of weight problems, obesity and lifestyle diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancers) in our world today, so do not let yourself be fooled into taking in substances that increase certain individual’s bank accounts, as they decrease the state of your health and well being. Find other ways of connecting your body, mind and spirit into the healthy complete and wholesome individual that you are.
Open up to conscious awareness when it comes to the food choices you make, and thus truly treat your body with the love, nutrition and goodness that it deserves.