11 In daily life/ nutrition

On birthdays and eating sugar and the definition of ‘treats’

Last night the husband popped as many candles as he could find onto a strawberry and marzipan cake, the little one helped me blow them out and then the 5 of us demolished the entire cake in one sitting. Sugar-free evangelist Yours Truly included.

The cake wasn’t really calling my name but the kids were so excited and in the spirit of things I had two pieces (and of course it tasted good). As strict as I am with the no sugar thing, I think that one can have some cake on their birthday without overthinking it or making a big deal of it.

I could have skipped it like I skip all other desserts that the rest of the family eats, but I don’t want to become Samantha Brick*. I don’t want to become a woman who growls at people when they hand her a box of chocolates as a present. I don’t want to become a woman who doesn’t eat her own birthday cake.

My plan was to make a sugar free/gluten free cake but we just had so much fun in the morning that I ran out of time. Cest la vie, Café Paul does beautiful cakes (it baffled me a bit though when I asked for a whole cake and they asked “To eat here or to take away?”)

I think that birthday cakes are the meaning of having ‘treats’ once in a while – they will not break my general clean eating streak.

My kids, of course, have no concept of a ‘treat’. Theoretically they know what foods should not be eaten on a regular basis but for them regular basis means breakfast, lunch and dinner, and surely as long as breakfast and lunch are sugar free, dinner can be followed by dessert? That seems to be their thinking since they ask for dessert every single day no matter how often we try to get it through to them that maybe desserts should be left for a Friday or a Saturday night only. So far we haven’t succeeded in making them NOT ask for it all the time. Oh well. They are kids. When I was a kid I ate condensed milk out of a can with a spoon. And I lived.

But back to the point – I think the point is that I no longer panic when I have sugar a few times a year. I’m so far into my clean eating journey that I know that it will not make me ‘fall off the wagon’. Mentally it’s a good place to be. And whereas I’d prefer smoked salmon and organic eggs instead of a box of chocolates for a present when people come to visit, I will accept any chocolates with a smile and save them for a birthday, mine or another family member’s.

How about you? How often do you think ‘treats’ should be eaten? Is once a day still a ‘treat’? Do treats make it harder for you to switch back to healthy eating afterwards? And – why do you think we call things that are not actually that good for us ‘treats’? I think a true ‘treat’ would be a massage or a detox yoga holiday 🙂

*Google Samantha Brick + Daily Mail, I don’t want to link to her latest article.

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  • Reply
    Need Paleo
    May 7, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I know what you mean, I try avoiding sugar because I know it makes you fat but the last 3 days I’ve ate a sugary desert before bed. Birthday cake one day, smores over a firepit with my friend the next, and smores again with my kids who go jealous last night.

    Today I’m working into a full-on cold. I heard that eating sugar lowers the immune system. Is this why I got sick?
    I look forward to your next post

  • Reply
    April 26, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Firstly, I like how you did not wish to direct too much traffic to the utterly charming Ms Brick (that article made me mad!).
    Secondly, I like your take on this because your a clean eater but sensible with just one day treat during a birthday rather than sitting it out 365 days a year.
    During the last week I’ve had a real food overhaul and whilst I’m not following a formal diet I’m trying to reduce sugar and ‘treats’. It’s been a really tough week (other than diet) and rather than going out for indulgent meal I treated myself to some Cowshed bits that are beauty over food and therefore sugar free 😉
    I like a ‘treat’ once a day BUT I’m revising on what I consider a ‘Treat’ so something healthy and sensible can still be that treaty fix over say a huge slab of chocolate cake.
    When I went on holiday and had ‘treats’ pizza etc after a few days I felt so ill I had to be the ‘odd one out’ and order salad etc because the ‘treat food’ made me feel worse not better 🙂

    • Reply
      April 28, 2013 at 7:57 am

      That’s what I mean about ‘treats’ not really treating our bodies – I always also feel worse after I eat loads of bread, etc. on holidays. I spend 4 weeks every summer in Estonia and the baked goods there are so freaking tasty 😐 My compromise usually is to buy the savoury ones instead of the sweet ones (pastries filled with cabbage, anyone else fancy some? 🙂

  • Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Mul on enamasti magusa isu, mida pean teadlikult alla suruma. Ükski päev ei möödu suhkruta, kas siis mee, puuviljade või moosi kujul. Ksülitoli pulbrit kasutan kohvis ja kohupiima magustamiseks. Šokolaadi söön paar korda nädalas.

    • Reply
      April 25, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Puuviljad, mesi, moos ja kvaliteetne sokolaad on minu arust igati tervislikud ‘magustoidud’. Asi laheb organismile keeruliseks siis kui suuakse igasuguseid sajast asjast kokku kupsetatud kupsiseid, kooke, jne 😐

  • Reply
    lisa gusto
    April 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! Wishing you a fantastic year! XXX

  • Reply
    April 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    That Strawberry and marzipan cake from Paul’s is literally my favourite cake in the world! but I do only eat it on birthdays. I really want to clean up my diet, doing my best atm pre marathon. You are definitely a clean eating inspiration!

    • Reply
      April 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      It really was a good cake and it didn’t taste too sweet. I think a full-on chocolate cake or something would taste nauseatingly sweet to me now 😐 I definitely ate extremely well in the weeks leading up to the marathon, I just didn’t want to risk having my temperamental digestion give up on me mid run! Have fun in your last weeks of marathon training, I’ll keep an eye on your blog for updates (as usual :).

  • Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    What is a treat, indeed? As I have smaller children who have been at home with me, it has been easier – what they eat is entirely up to me 🙂 So we just don’t usually buy anything consisting sugar – problem solved 🙂 Ok, we do buy stuff sometimes, but then we hide it and eat it when they are sleeping 🙂

    I am always telling them what foods are best for body, how we should eat much fresh stuff etc. They really like when I call sth a vitamin bomb 🙂 But they do ask for dessert… Often enough. So I usually give them a fruit 😀 Sometimes we make “kissell” (I have absolutely no idea how to call it in english!), but we do it just with raisins, water and starch, no sugar needed. Sometimes I bake oat bars, no sugar needed. Sometimes I bake cake – unrefine sugar needed here 😀 But I don’t do it often…

    Sometimes we get packages from family, usually with some sweets in it. They get kama chocolate (only a little at one time), we get the rest 😀 Kama chocolate is actually crap as well since the first thing listed in ingredients is sugar 🙁 My mom sent us some organic berry chips (20% of them was sugar, well, at least organic – one can hope it’s unrefined, but can never be sure) and organic cookies. Better than regular chocolate…

    In Estonia they love curd snacks – I mean, who doesn’t? 🙂 We buy Karums, it’s better than rest. Actually we try not to buy them, but my mum does and I don’t mind, as long as it does not happen every day.

    Ideally I would just not buy anything “unappropriate” and give them a good example how one should eat. Or have some chocolate when they are sleeping and assure myself it’s ok since their stomach is five times smaller than adult’s but they need more “right” energy – so I can eat a little bit of crap sometimes, I have space for that, they don’t 😀

    But yeah, soon they will go to kindergarten, then school – and eat everything given there. Sometimes we visit people who offer stuff we would not buy ourselves – and I find it wrong to say they can’t have it. Ok, I don’t give them any soda or really chemical looking candy, but they’ve had crisps and so on.

    So I just try to give them good example at home, talk about good and not so good stuff every day… They know it is better not to eat sugary things every day, only sometimes… That is a start, I guess.

    PS. You had a really lovely cake!

    • Reply
      April 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Wow, you really are very good. I think my kids put way too much honey on their porridge every morning… and kids’ yoghurts are really sweet… and they like all kinds of dried fruit and fruit roll-ups which are so so sweet. But like you – at least I’ve been able to keep them away from ‘chemical looking candy’ 😀

      • Reply
        April 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        Oh, there is honey in their porridge – I put it in myself, about one teaspoon… But it’s way too sweet for me. At least it’s honey, not regular sugar loaded jam you can buy from supermarkets 😉 Yoghurt – don’t buy any. Greek yoghurt is ok, we have added fruits or homemade jam. Dried fruit – as long as organic- nothing wrong with that, I guess. Then again – I prefer to buy fresh fruit 🙂 In general I think we do really well compared to the average moms out there. I’m sure all moms wish best for their children, they are just not informed about food… Hell, I feel like I don’t know anything 🙂 Learning new stuff every day. After todays findings I really don’t worry about fruits any more 😛

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