A psychotherapist and hypnotherapist writing for the Daily Mail recently penned a piece using physical evidence to remind us why consuming processed foods is bad for our health. Marisa Peer asks her readers what exactly it would take for them to give up their favorite treats.
The answer? Tangible proof of what those foods look like well after their expiration date.
The fact that many processed foods don’t look any different even years after their creation is the driving force behind getting people to kick bad food habits to the curb, says Peer, who has stockpiled a variety of tempting treats for nearly two decades in what she calls the “Yuck Box.”
“This is my Yuck Box and it is 19 years old. Every slab of chocolate and jelly baby inside it is nearly as old as my grown-up daughter, yet it all looks as if I bought it yesterday.”
Hypnotherapist shows patients what processed foods look like decades later to help kick junk food cravings
Peer placed the age-old treats on a beautiful platter to display the fact that they never change in appearance. “In more than 30 years as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, I have never come across a better way of demonstrating just how bad it is for us,” she writes.
“These foods — from the croissant which looks fresh from the bakery yet is strong enough to crack teeth, to the terrifyingly unchanged tub of margarine which has not seen the inside of a refrigerator since 1997 — are the bane of our modern lives.”
The fact that neither insects nor bacteria will go near such food is a telltale sign of its unnatural state, says Peer, adding that unlike fruits and veggies, the processed treats never grow moldy.
“If you were to leave a tangerine in the bowl for a month, it would be covered in green fur, oozing decomposition.
“Your eyes would tell you to steer clear — there would be no danger of someone eating one by accident. Yet leave a white French baguette on the worktop for a month and it will look exactly the same,” she writes.
Sweet treats often contain ingredients made from the remnants of pigs and horses
Peer, who began collecting the food in 1997, uses the never changing treats in therapy sessions with her patients to demonstrate that cravings can be altered once you realize exactly what it is you’re eating.
She says children are particularly impacted when they learn the type of ingredients found in many processed foods, including gelatin, which she explains is made from “pony and piglet hooves and bones.”
“Sweet manufacturers buy pig carcasses by the truckload to boil down the gelatine for their sweets. Once told this, it is amazing how quickly a child will go off them.”
Fancy packaging and alluring commercials
By using what she calls the “Yuck Box philosophy,” Peer says she’s able to successfully train her patients to reconsider the way in which they view certain foods. Changing our mental picture of foods is an important step, she says.
“I am seeking to recalibrate years of indoctrination by the food industry to tempt us into buying these worthless products.”
Junk food manufacturers are perfectly aware of the fact that their products contain cheap ingredients that are bad for our health, which is why they spend so much money on marketing and fancy packaging.
There’s a reason candies such as chocolates are often “fun-sized,” and fast food meals are packaged in vibrantly colored boxes that contain attractive-looking children’s toys: They send the message that these products are “to be desired above all others,” says Peer.