I need to clear something up here. Something that is really, really not sitting well with me.
You see, I know I’ve been going on about the whole carbohydrate thing, and the school lunches and related support and resources, whilst being very much stress free and creative-arty-farty type free, are also very much package free and, as interpreted by some, “junk food free”.
What I worry about, and as has been pointed out to me, is that it is being perceived, by some, as being, well, a little sanctimonious and adding to the plethora of guilt and pressure already out there.
For which I am extremely sorry and upset about. I do try very, very hard to choose my words carefully so as not to add to pressure or any feelings of inadequacy or guilt. I do realise that I cannot please everyone, and that some people will choose to take offence, even if not offence was intended.
I write this stuff for those who want to know a bit more about the pros and cons of various foods. You may have noticed I don’t say things like “You should eat this” or “cut that out”. Again, I apologise if it comes across like that.
What I do share – and that I hope is what is being taken away from these writings – is the facts, figures, and research behind various foods, food groups and the like, as well as their effect on the mind and body. What you choose to do with that info is totally up to you, and I’m cool with that.
I can assure you I am not the Food Police, or some sort of junk/snack/’sometimes’ food Nazi (despite what my kids will tell you).
We have ice cream (non-organic, non-gluten free, non-dairy free, packed full of fat and sugar), we have packets of chips (with all the gluten, dairy and non-organicness possible), we have biscuits, and sugary cereals.
The groceries we buy are those that we can afford, or whatever is on special that week. We pay $1 per litre of milk, because that’s all we can do.
We eat a lot of pasta, because it is easy and the kids can cook it. I’m not anal about every little morsel that goes into our mouths, and I am a HUGE advocate for enjoying food, and any experience involving food.
I LOVE hot chips, dark chocolate, cheese (the higher the fat content the better), and panna cotta (made with full fat cream!) – maybe just not all in the same glass.
I am not nit-picky, over the top, anal-about-everything, follow the bandwagon with whatever the latest food fad is.
What I am is someone who cares about the health and wellbeing of my family, of my friends, and of the community as a whole. I have done enough study and have enough experience to know the effects of foods and lifestyles on the physical and mental health of humans.
Effects that are, really annoyingly so, narrowed down to “overweight”, “obesity” or “too fat”.
This in itself irks me, although I will concede enough to accept that it is a visible and measurable way to determine results of a variety of things. Like fat loss, for example.
It is also a simple, but not perfectly accurate nor reliant, indicator of health. There is considerable evidence to show that body fat over certain levels is associated with a range of diseases, disorders, and illnesses; including mental health issues, Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and disease, strokes, cancers and … oh a heap of other stuff. Minor and catastrophic, acute and chronic, annoying and terminal.
This is not to say that if you are overweight, you will get sick. Just if you take a bunch of people, with the same level of overweight, most of them will, in one form or another; some so mildly as to be barely an issue, and some will drop dead like that. Most will fit in the middle somewhere.
By the same token, just because you eat everything ‘right’ and live a ‘healthy’ lifestyle does not mean you are immune to these diseases either. It just means if you’re in a bunch of people following the same lifestyle, most of you will be cool. Some will succumb, because that is just life.
I know that food plays a significant role in this, as does a number of other things; activity, work life, home life, lifestyle, the list goes on … and on … I hate that ‘food’ is placed into a neat little box, untouched by any other causative or contributing factor to levels of body fat, state of nutrition, and any other things that go on in the body, and labelled as “healthy” or “not healthy”.
It’s such bullshit.
Apologies. I have gone off on a slight, albeit relevant, tangent.
Food is one aspect of overall health, wellbeing and otherwise.
And yes, yes indeed; it is your body and they are your children and you may do with them what you will.
So what is it to me?
Well, it’s not just me, but everyone … and whilst on one hand I really could not give a flying fuck what you eat and what you feed your kids, because you have to deal with them, you have to live your life and do what works for you and your family, on the other hand, it does affect me.
Also, I care so passionately that some nights I cannot sleep, and I really have no logical reason as to why I care so much. I just do. Perhaps it is my calling. Whatevs.
Anyhoo … why do I care?
Where do I start?
With food-related health issues; whether resulting in someone being “too fat” or not, resulting in some form of medical treatment, hospitalisation, operations, rehabilitation or whatever, then there is pressure placed on the public health system. With more people requiring some form of treatment, people without private health who require some form of treatment are added to an increasingly looooooong list.
So, yeah, it does affect me. It affects my friends, it affects my kids. It affects society as a whole.
I care because your kid is acting up in class. Whether their hungry, inadequately nourished, or reacting to something in the foods, they’re not concentrating and are often a disturbance. This means your kid is not learning as well as they could potentially could, but they’re causing significant disturbance in the classroom. They are affecting the way my kid learns, and are stressing the fuck out of the teacher.
So it does affect me, it affects my kids, and affects those who I consider to be part of my Child Raising Village.
I care because when your kid comes around to my house, whilst I am more than accepting of food allergies, intolerances, and genuine dislikes (I will never force a child to eat something they really don’t like), I really don’t like them looking at me with disdain, flipping their hand at me and saying “I’ll have a cheese toasty”. Yeah, I really fucking hate that.
I hate when they flat our refuse to eat what we’ve made, because they don’t feel like it, then demand “snacks” or dessert. Especially when snacks or dessert aren’t even an option at the time, much less NOT an option for kids who refuse to eat decent food.
So, yes, I care, because I have enough stress at meal times, and have worked damned hard on my own kids to get this sort of shit removed from our household, that I really don’t need it invited in.
I don’t like it when my kids come home from your house, starving and complaining about having only packets of chips or chicken nuggets to eat. I feel bad, and, well, a little embarrassed. I’m never sure what to say. Worse, I don’t like that you then make snarky comments about my kids “eating only junk food” when it is all you have offered them, and they are used to things that are much more filling. This is why they are hungry all the time when they visit you.
So, yes, I do care.
This is what what you feed your kids is to me.
It is not just what it is to me, but for others out there, too.
Well all have to deal with each others kids at some point, at some level, and whether we really want to or not.
Mostly, I don’t like to watch your kids, the overweight one, making excuses to get out of things, seeing them sad and unable to participate when you can see they clearly want to. I don’t like to see the pain on your kid’s face when they are teased or bullied about not being able to do the things that most kids of that age – whatever that age – can do.
It hurts me to see them excluded; whether this is exclusion by others, or by self-exclusion; in fact, the latter hurts me more.
Yes, they are your kids. Yes, you can choose to feed them what you want. After all, you have to deal with them.
It’s not just you who has to deal with them, though.
Again, I apologise if this comes across as sanctimonious or if you are offended by this. Well, maybe not overly sorry about the last bit, because if it has got to you, maybe you are someone I’m talking to. I’m sorry if it hurts, however I’m not just going to say what I’ve said and not provide solutions, support or something actually practical, doable, and non-sensationalised or overly-promoted.
I do care about you and your family, but I’m not obnoxious about it.
At least, I hope I’m not? The frustrating thing is, most people rambling about similar stuff that I ramble about are obnoxious about it, so I can understand why it would be assumed that I am, too.
Or maybe I’m not …