How wonderful to have finally asked the right person to help me identify the right word! 17-year-old Sierra gave me the answer to, “What do we call a tasty ‘eat’ that does not serve our health?” (So that we can reserve the word “treat” for delicious foods that are either neutral or, in fact, GOOD for our health.) My new friend, Sierra, was the first to have an answer I immediately knew was employable. Sierra suggested, “What is tasty but not healthy is an ‘indulgence’.” Our friend Mia, also 17, agreed and so I am ready to write and teach about the distinction better.
Thank your lucky stars that today’s tastebuds can be “treated” to delicious foods that BOOST our immune system (like a rainbow-arrangement of organic fruits with fresh, young coconut creme). Even better, there are countless more “delicious-cycle”* foods that are health neutral, at worst. Whereas “indulgences,” we can understand, challenge our immune system and/or our organs and bodily systems, and need to be monitored more carefully.
What a disservice we have done to our children by using the word, “treat” for so many health-challenging comfort foods! How often have we heard, “…it’s only a cookie!” or, “who doesn’t love ice cream?” or, “cookies and milk can’t be bad for us!”
It remains useless to label anything good or bad. Sugar and pasteurized cow dairy are clearly destructive to us in consistent quantities. And certainly ice cream, sugary foods, and so much more are destructive to us in large quantities. Most are FINE in moderation ~ but what is moderation?? Thinking of them as “indulgences” knowing that “too much” is already understood: we can all guess that 3 scoops of ice cream is always too much, and any serving over about 25 grams of processed sugar is too much. Either cow dairy or a 20+ gram of sugar hit is an immune system depressant, but together they create a real health challenge. So, why do we go on ignoring this? Because they were introduced to us as comfort food “treats” and we want them to be as harmless as that sounds ~ especially if we have convinced ourselves we don’t have them often.
The best place to start, as usual, is with language and shedding light on the subject, especially FOR our children, who need not downplay indulgences as treats.
I’d love your feedback, and any other words you have used to keep such a distinction…
* A “Delicious Cycle” is the opposite of a ‘vicious cycle’ where everything can make everything else worse. In a Delicious Cycle, a new lifestyle addition helps us feel enough better to take on yet another new lifestyle that can truly support our health.
**”True Health Care” is the system we are all seeking, since what is currently called ‘health care’ is actually disease care and/or medical care.