Trick or Treat?

When we indulge in a "treat," are we actually tricking ourselves?

Stressful times can lead us to consume more "treats" than usual. I know this has been the case in my own household recently. Our lives have been pretty chaotic leading up to our move, and our cupboards have been filled with junk foods in order to help us cope.

Our bodies seem to crave the worst possible foods when we're under stress. Who wants a big plate of steamed kale after a tough day at work? No, most of us want a pepperoni pizza, a 6-pack of beer or a jug of wine, and a jumbo-size Snickers. What do you crave when your boyfriend dumps you? A quart of rocky road ice cream, not a bunch of raw carrots and broccoli.

There's a myth out there that consuming junk food will make us feel better. Drowning our sorrows in a vat of alcohol will make the pain go away, right?


Sugary treats and alcoholic beverages might give us a temporary lift, but there is a very large downside.

First, there is the inevitable crash. Sugary treats give the body a quick rush of energy, but then the insulin response kicks in, dropping blood sugar levels quickly. This leaves a person feeling grumpy, irritable, hungry, and tired. Not exactly uplifting!

In addition, when we are under stress our bodies need MORE nutrition, not less. B vitamins are crucial for supporting the nervous system. We need to increase antioxidants to support the immune system. Healthy whole foods--high quality protein and fats along with plenty of plants--will get us through the tough times by replenishing our energy stores and supporting all our body's functions.

So the next time you feel like a treat, ask yourself if this is how you really want to TREAT your body and mind. Instead of tricking yourself into believing you need junk, treat yourself to something truly nourishing. Make yourself a healthy meal. Treat yourself to some yoga or deep breathing. Give your body the things it needs to thrive!