It seems that fast food has all but won when it comes to our kids. Who is to blame? The media, bus stop advertising and other insidious campaigns can only be blamed so much. Hearing a child, barely able to speak, declaring “I love McDonalds” or “I hate vegetables” blame can only lay squarely at the feet of the parents or carers.
I make no apologies if that hits harshly. It’s the truth. Having my kids singled out as freaks by other small children, and even parents, shows just who is responsible. I’ve had young visitors to my house, who, upon being dished up healthy food that is more than tasty and attractive, push the plate away and say “I’m not eating this S**T” – where does that come from?
I’ve witnessed kids throw almighty tantrums for some KFC or a burger – what is that? I’ve had teens tell me their favourite food is a whopper. How? Have they not tasted good food yet? I’ve seen rather large parents doing the weekly shop – and while they sneer at my trolley of fresh food and wholefood ingredients (with their equally sneering kids saying stuff like “Eww, they eat like poor people”), I notice that theirs is full of meat, followed by frozen meals, fast food options, fizzy drink, lollies, processed everything – with the only raw food (if at all) being a bag of potatoes. Most don’t even bother with that any more, now that you can buy chips, mashed potatoes and all manner of potato-based treats in the freezer section.
Another frightening aspect of today’s diet that we cling tenaciously to, well, those of us with culture or tradition that figures strongly – is ‘traditional’ diets – what a load of rubbish. Literally. Think about it – traditional diets of our forefathers was what can now be termed as wild or bush food, un-hybridised crops and tons of fresh food. During lean times and then when conquering became the past-time of a select few nations while slavery and survival became the sad lot of the rest, poor man’s diet slowly infiltrated (or quickly, depending on where you were) and took over – to the point that we now proudly and lovingly term foods containing ingredients our forefathers NEVER ate – sugar, flour, coffee, tea and more meat than fresh foods – as our traditional foods.
That is because by the time we were born, that is all we were eating. A few generations of that eugenic-based poisoning and is it any wonder we are born fighting for our lives? We need to get away from that fluffy vision of what we think our traditional foods are, and strip it all back. We can still eat foods we like, just a healthier and actually tastier version – it’s not only possible but just may turn your life around.
I’ve met way too many people who proudly declare they have never had so much as a sip of water and have never eaten vegetables. What on earth do they eat at home? What was once a rare treat (aka once a year or at birthday times or on holidays) is now an everyday thing – the basis of what even doctors now term a ‘balanced’ diet.
The trusty keep-me-at-the-top-of-my-game sidekick Mike reminded me recently of something I used to bombard my patients with – the fact that we are alive IN SPITE of our constant efforts to kill ourselves every single day. When I was a kid, obesity and diabetes was so rare that our parents discussed the demise of such-and-such in hushed tones. Today it is around 1 in 6. Cancer was so rare we all likened it to Armstrong & Aldrin or Hillary, Norgay and Tenzing’s accomplishments; rare and something we only spoke of, not experienced too closely. Today it is as high as 1 in 2.
The most astounding thing is, no matter how shiny, brown and all-rounder fit we were, I look at my peers today and see the ravages of time hitting hard. Lifestyle and diet are mostly to blame – it is doing what no amount of insane activity we got up to was able to do. And we considered ourselves so lucky if we got a chocolate bar or bag of lollies back then!
What of today’s generations? Sickly parents, shoddy diets, chemical-laden personal care, self mutilation to the degree never seen before (“I am allowed to express myself” – so am I and sorry but you look awful and are actually triggering long term toxic ill health…) – what hope is there?
It’s simply not okay to leave tomorrow to itself. Diet is imperative – it’s not something to be either taken lightly or made fun of. Those ‘freaks’ eating organically have a far better chance of living to old age, rather than scraping through courtesy of a bag of drugs that ensure your days are a struggle. Regardless of what images that humorous emails and facebook messages often show, about sliding into your coffin sideways and laughing about the ride may conjure up, the true image is grotesque; horrific even. The holocaust of self imposed chronic illness wont allow you to slide in anywhere. Your walking frame wont allow for that!
I no longer look at an elderly person shuffling along with adoration and respect. I look with sympathy and dread – those who are old now fought hard, lived far better than we did and still succumbed to the ravages of time. I know that way too many expecting to become octogenarians one day, simply wont. Most will leave this earth long before that time – and those who survive that long will only barely survive – or as a self-abusive friend once put it, merely exist. In pain, and unable to appreciate anything that we usually take for granted.
I plead with patients to eat well – at least I used to plead. Now I just inform them that if they are going to refuse any suggestion, to please not waste my time or their money. The crux of it all is that we can’t completely cure a thing, not permanently anyway, if we continue to load our digestive system (the control centre of health) with rubbish. This order begins before birth and should apply throughout life.
And considering school food is often the only meal a child will eat all day, it should be the most nutritious. I know what you are thinking but you need to take that stigma of fuddy-duddy, almost nerdy imagery away from the word nutritious. If all that you put into your mouth is anything but, you are poisoning yourself – and your family. Truth hurts.
I came up with a fast food snack on the weekend, just before we lost our electrical power for a few days – that tasted equally as good hot or cold. Based on a combination of focaccia and pizza – and can be eaten in any meal. And it will travel/store well for a school lunch. And yes, like my kids’ peers, your children will most likely have a ton of hangers-on asking for a bite, without a clue that it’s good for them.
If considering a healthy diet, we need to care less about what is popular and go back to what kept humans healthy long before the advent of either modern medicine or junk food – ie what your forefathers really ate. That means bread needs to be less fluffy and white, and far more coarse in texture. But arguably far more tasty. The bread can be used as it used to, to mop up the dregs of a meal, or split and filled with anything you like. It can be covered in a savoury spread and eaten like a normal piece of bread, or it can be covered with a healthy pizza type filling and cooked into the top. It takes almost zero effort and no one could guess it is healthy.
It’s full of protein and fibre, omegas, minerals and a range of vitamins. And no one needs to know. It can be frozen for later use and made in bulk. Those specialty breads you pay boutique bakeries to do for you, are easy enough to make at home – you just need to try it.
1/4 cup organic spelt flour
1/4 cup chickpea (besan) flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup quinoa or millet flour
1 tablespoon savoury yeast flakes (aka nooch – not the type linked to candida!)
1 heaped teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt
1 heaped teaspoon cracked pepper
1 heaped tablespoon mixed herbs
3 or 4 garlic cloves crushed (or equivalent in dried)
2 finely diced onions
1 cup of sliced black olives
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon flax (linseeds) whole
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon of non-aluminium baking powder
1 teaspoon of stevia or agave syrup
Enough water to make into a soft dough consistency but more like fruit cake batter
Press into flat baking tray which has been lined with baking paper and bake on high heat.
- To eat as is, sprinkle your choice of seeds, cracked pepper and Himalayan salt on top before baking.
- Otherwise bake until soft but firm – but not yet browned, score the top and sprinkle with your choice of pizza toppings minus sauce mix. My choice was capsicum (red bell peppers), sliced tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, pineapple slices and mushrooms. Bake again until top is sufficiently softened/caramelised.
Note not to bake it too long as it will be too tough to eat. You can also sprinkle on a non-dairy cheese to keep it more pizza-like. The bread alone is even good enough to eat as-is.
More recipes via my e-book which is packed full of everything from fast food to snacks to health advice – even a who’s who of famous veg*ns – more here
Please consider making the change now – starting at home. There are many more tasty but healthy fast food recipes in my book. Don’t make a fuss about it, just slowly replace what has become normal in your household, with a healthy option. The book will show you how easy that can be – buy the ebook on healthy and fun vegetarian cookery – written with children and parents in mind directly via this link – see here.