Why is it that when we want to treat ourselves to something a little special, its oftentimes with food? I’m the first one guilty of this. Tonight I was in 7-11, and I was SO in the mood of buying a little nosh. Or a little candy or ANYTHING really – because I felt I’ve been working so hard lately, I felt I deserved a little something “special.” Something I wouldn’t normally buy… to hell with the rules …and indulge a little. Right? Who hasn’t at one time or another felt this way?
But why is it always done with food? Why is it that when we want to “break free” a little – its with a scrumptious snickers bar, or maybe a favorite fattening ice cream… or maybe some twizzlers? Where does this attitude come from? Where have we learned to equate a treat or better put – a PRIZE with food?
So it got me thinking tonight while I walked around 7-11 looking for something I could treat myself to…but something that wouldn’t kill my diet, or my blood sugar. Something healthy (ish) but still something not on my day to day menu. Sadly, I came home with a bag of salted peanuts and some pistachio nuts. (I know, quite depressing) … but in the long run, I’m happy I didn’t go for my other choices… and as I was checking out it occurred to me that we are all plagued with this feeling that we buy some nosh, or a piece of candy as a reward for ____ (insert reason for deserving the treat)
Aight .. time to back track. Where does this come from? Here are the reasons I came up with:
1. Toddlers are taught with bribery:
How many of you got a chocolate chip (or other candy thing) for peeing in the toilet? (during toilet training of course :)) How many of you got jelly beans for sitting nicely during circle time in school? And how many of you were promised a special treat (read: candy/ice cream) if you behaved with a babysitter, or did something big your parents wanted you to do. (such as complete your chores or homework chart.)
If you answered yes to any of these – well its clear from day one, you have been indoctrinated that food is synonymous with rewards for hard work. (oh, and im not going to begin to discuss my disgust for parents who feel the need to bribe their kids to do anything .. but im not at liberty to really take on that topic. I’ll leave that to the Mommy Blogs.)
2. It’s Your Birthday… or your Anniversary…
We all enjoy dessert. Lets be honest – dessert usually consists of either something gooey, molten, tempura, or perhaps covered in whip cream (and for those of us with dirty minds….)
Moving on. Dessert is always something indulgent – not something we allow ourselves to have all the time. Many of us try to reserve having these indulgent decadent desserts for special occasions only, such as birthdays, anniversaries – when we go out to eat etc. So that kind of trains our brain to see special occasions (be it a holiday, a wedding etc.) as a time when we can kick back from our routine of stark healthy eating – and order that second piece of triple fudge cheesecake (yes my mouth is watering)
This teaches us subconsciously that we work hard during the week to keep to our healthy eating – and then when a special occasion comes – we can throw off the rules.. This in itself is the problem – when we feel we have to adhere to the “rules.” It gives the feeling of restriction… and then when we just want to indulge — WATCH OUT!!!! We then go on eating binges… (terrible little cycle)
And my final reason….
3. Noone Likes Cardboard! Dessert is Almost Always something Sinful
Sadly (very sadly) our brains and bodies have learned a very horrible lesson. Let me explain by giving a strange example. A while back I was being extremely strict with my eating, and I had sworn off anything sweet… no candy (of course)… no sweeteners, which meant no sugar free snacks, or diet sodas, and I also stayed away from fruit. After a while, I reintroduced fruit back into my diet, and I was amazed at how delicious my bowl of strawberries and blueberries were! Every piece burst with flavor in my mouth and I don’t think I ever enjoyed fruit so much in my life! These heavenly berries were the best treat I could ever imagine and what a delicious dessert!
Now, why had I never really looked at plain fruit as the delectable dessert we all crave after a yummy meal? (I’ll give you a minute to come up with the answer)
It’s because of processed sugary foods that’s why !!!!! When we are so used to sugar coating everything (literally) – then we “forget” what real flavor tastes like. I remember a while back, I took a very sugary and unhealthy Butternut Squash Quiche recipe – and took out ALL the sugar from it, and tried using splenda instead. Well, I thought it tasted great… but everyone else at the table thought it tasted gross and wanted the REAL Quiche instead – because we are so used to what sugar does to foods, that we cant really appreciate what the food really tastes like.
In the olden days, fruits – melons – berries – those were the delicious desserts – and the yummy treats! But today, its become a blueberry pie, or a strawberry jam square cake … Unfortunately we don’t see the healthy foods as the treats – but we see them as the “healthy” stuff we have to eat in order for our moms to allow us to have a piece of Chocolate cake for dessert.
Am I perfect? Hell no – my trip to 7-11 consisted of me yearning for something yummy and rewarding and OH SO SINFUL… and I came home with a depressing bag of peanuts! (ps – you should have seen what snack my hubby chose!)… but I am very happy to say that my trip to the corner store was very eye opening…and inspiring enough to blog about it 🙂