Empowering our Kids
I love to think about food in terms of what the food is going to give me and how it is going to make me feel…
Is a food going to nourish me and give me energy? Or, is my body going to expend energy to break the food down and not get anything back in return? Is it actually ‘food’ or a whole lot of chemicals made to be edible?
As a nutritionist, I LOVE FOOD! I love to cook and I really pay attention to how foods make me feel… Do they make me feel tired? Bloated? Energised? Anxious? Do I feel satisfied?
These are all the things that my kids and I chat about when it comes to food…
I find little people, can be incredibly intuitive when it comes to food and how it makes them feel…
My first experience of this was when my eldest son was a baby – Among all the foods that I offered him, he would never eat broccoli or strawberries. They would always be pushed off his plate and onto the floor. This happened for months. I was perplexed, as this kid had a tireless appetite (still does!) and would eat EVERYTHING!
Finally, the day came when he tried the food he had pushed away for so long… The next day his body had erupted with eczema, all over his little tummy, legs and arms. My son intuitively new that these foods were not going to serve him well and therefore had been avoiding them. This absolutely blew my mind!!
Recently we went to a birthday party, we were sent home with the obligatory ‘party bag’ bursting at the seams with lollies. In the car on the way home the boys were furiously going through the bag pulling out all kind of coloured interesting looking treats!
I told them to have a good look through the bag and choose one lolly that they would really like to eat and put to the rest away.
We talked in the car about how different foods make us feel and how the foods that we put in our mouths has the power to affect our body. It can affect how we learn, how we play, how we feel and how we grow.
My eldest son (8) saw a packet of lollies with a list of ingredients on the back, which he began to read in the back seat of the car…. “Mum, what does this mean? Where’s the food? And what do all those number mean?”.
The ingredients looked like this: Glucose syrup (wheat), sugar, starch (wheat) water, acid regulator (sodium citrate), Food acid (citric acid), humectant (glycerine), gelatine (bovine), flavours, colours (102, 104, 110, 122, 124, 133)
I asked him if he wanted to be a detective and do some ‘scientific research’ on what all those words and numbers meant on the back on the back of the packet. Absolutely!! We got home and pulled out ‘The chemical maze’ book from the bookcase and put our detective hats on...
This is what he discovered:
102 – Tartrazine (yellow) Banned from foods in Norway and Finland.
Effects: Hyperactivity, thyroid tumours, aggression, headache, migraine, nettle rash, hay fever, asthma, insomnia, itching, blurred vision, confusion, swelling of lips and tongue, tingling of the mouth, cancer.
104 – Quinoline Yellow Banned from foods in Japan, USA and Norway.
Effects: Asthma, hyperactivity, contact dermatitis, skin rashes, cancer, allergic reactions in aspirin sensitive people.
110 – Sunset Yellow Banned from foods in UK, Norway and Finland
Effects: Allergic reactions to aspirin sensitive people, nettle rash, gastric upset, swelling of the skin, vomiting, asthma, hyperactivity, hives, cancer, hay fever, abdominal pain.
122 – Azorubine
Effects: Cancer, allergic reactions to aspirin sensitive people, asthma, hyperactivity
124 – Ponceua Banned in USA
Effects: allergic reactions to aspirin sensitive people and asthmatics, hyperactivity, hay fever, cancer
133 – Brilliant Blue Banned in many countries
Effects: Cancer, malignant tumours, allergic reactions in chemical sensitive people, asthma, hyperactivity.
WOWZAS!! What a list! My son said nothing…. He picked up the entire party bag and put it in the bin. He was absolutely gobsmacked.
I truly believe that we have a right to informed choice. That we as adults and our children have a right to informed choices to what we are putting into our bodies.
If our kids only have the knowledge of ‘tastes great’ and not ‘how is this going to make me feel’, how can they truly make an informed choice and learn which foods will truly serve them?
Knowledge is power. Food can either be most powerful of medicine or the slowest form of poison.