As yet another recipe for a ‘Paleo Brownie’ rolls up my facebook feed it has me thinking about all these ‘treats’ that are endlessly advertised, at what point does a treat stop being a treat?
I’m sure you will have seen them as well. Not just on facebook, they seem to be everywhere I look, on blogs, cookbooks, in café cabinets…..and be it paleo, vegan, dairy-free, ‘sugar-free’, low-carb or primal..... brownies, cakes, slices, cupcakes, or pancakes…… it doesn’t really matter, are we losing sight of the role these foods should play in our diets?
On one hand it’s great. I whole heartedly endorse and applaud anyone for being motivated and getting back in to the kitchen and cooking and/or baking from scratch, over purchasing ready-made, highly processed foods.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you made it, it’s inherently good for you, or that if it comes prefaced with a paleo, vegan, D-F, etc etc label that it is automatically healthy and therefore gives you free reign to eat more of them, than you might of any other treat. These should remain exactly that, a treat, an occasional food to be enjoyed and savoured. The regular consumption of very sweet foods also affects our body’s ability to taste and accept the natural sweetness from fruits and vegetables, and these treat foods should absolutely not replace your daily meat/fruit/vege intake.
Besides if you are having something like this all the time or daily even, is it still a treat?
I look at this in the same way I do, ‘Fish n Chip Friday’. If you are having FnC’s (or takeaways in general) every Friday night, is it really a treat? No, I don’t believe so. It’s routine and habit and it becomes a treat to then have take-out on another night (or 2 or 3) during the week, until that too becomes habit.
All things in moderation I hear you say……how many of us are actually that good at moderation, and what does moderation even really mean? Haven’t we all opened a pack of Tim Tams (or insert your personal evil choccie biscuit foe here) thinking I’ll just have one, to suddenly realise half the pack is gone?
If you are genuinely one of those super human lucky people, who can honestly have treats in your house and not have them talk to you and make you reach for them at every given moment, then full credit to you. But realistically 99% of us simply can’t. And the same goes for treats that are made with alternative ingredients. They still taste great and yes they are a better alternative to always chomping on processed goods, but dates, honey, applesauce or rice syrup = still sugar! And nut/seed flours? These are a high energy base plus if you are buying it ready-made, what level of processing has it been through, is it even still fresh or is it rancid?
I’m not trying to be a kill joy, and I am certainly not saying thou shalt never eat a sweet treat again. Personally, I make 'healthified' treats occasionally too (cue the above fudge made a while back when I had people coming to stay), and I also enjoy some traditional 'Mum-baking' sometimes too. But if you are having something regularly, doesn’t it lose its treat-factor?
What is deemed a treat to you, will be personal to you, and only you will really know when you have crossed your own line of indulgence but there is no doubt that breaking the habit of ‘needing’ a sweet treat after each meal, or gym session and learning to change habits and eat more mindfully, is the key to sustainable health changes.
Think why you want to make these treats. If you are making these ‘healthy’ alternatives to swap out or duplicate your usual sweet treats, so that you can still have them daily, then maybe you need to also consider why you feel you need that.
So, cheesecakes made of cashews, cakes or slices using almond flour, and replacing sugar with honey or dates – Delicious? Yes. Handy tricks to know, for special occasions? Absolutely. A necessary component of everyday living? Sadly not.
A treat in any other disguise, is and should remain, a treat.
Nutritionist. Kiwi. freestyle cook. positive. simple. clean. food. wellness. health. nature. soul. holistic.