In Praise of Treats

6th March 2015

I understand that if you just read this column without having met me, I might come across as some kind of wide-eyed, raving, hair-shirted, madman. Well, I might be…a little. I like food and I think it’s important. I have strong opinions and I believe that we should all be trying to eat a little healthier than we do.

But I also value the importance of having a treat in your life. It’s no massive problem. Your body is designed to cope with a whole range of evils. It’s why I’ve never understood the concept behind detoxing. There is no scientific basis to the concept. Your body is a hugely specialised piece of equipment. We have never come close to building something as complex as the human body. It processes food incredibly efficiently.  It can surely cope with the occasional treat.

Now if you’re eating big, creamy cakes three or four times a day, may I suggest you’ve overstepped the mark a little. You’ve moved from cake being a treat to it being a big part of your diet. A treat needs to be an occasional thing, a reward to enjoy and savour.

If this is confession time for treats, I have to stand up and admit that I love, absolutely adore, Doner Kebabs. I know. I should hang my head in shame. It probably comes from my student days. But I don’t eat them every day or every week. I probably don’t eat them every month. But when I get the chance, I love it. And I shouldn’t really feel guilty about it (and, to be honest, I don’t). It’s a treat. My body can cope with the sudden onrush of minced lamb, pitta, cabbage and chilli sauce. Again, if I had one every day, it wouldn’t be good. But every once in a while – why not?

Enjoy your food. Eat well. Eat healthily but don’t get all panicky because of a single pie or gateaux. Life is surely too short for that sort of angst.


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