Australia, formerly known as the Lucky Country. You may have seen this article in The Age some time ago, a very indepth article outlining just how much food us Aussies consume.
Riddle me this; how many hamburgers could Aussie teenagers eat if Aussie teenagers between 14 and 17 could eat hamburgers? You guessed it, 30.2 million burgers and 44.1 million serves of hot chips to go with it.
Is it little wonder that our chronic disease count continues to skyrocket, especially in young people. There are many causes of disease, but chronic poor food choices is one of the biggest.
The late American great Jack LaLanne said it best. “We need to get busy living, not busy dying. We feed ourselves coffee and donuts for breakfast. Would you get your dog up in the morning and feed it coffee and donuts?” In other words, if the Lucky Country is going to improve its health, we need to feed ourselves AND our children NATURAL foods (as a general rule if it grows, eat it), not man-made processed foods that put us on the highway to early death.
If you are a parent there is no excuse for what you feed your kids. This may seem harsh, but the question is this: “how much value do you put on the quality of food that your kids consume?” That answer is different for everybody. This is not a right/wrong debate, this is a question of values. Parents all around the world place different value on the importance of good nutrition. Many parents unfortunately though “think” they are feeding their children good fuel, but aren’t.
The Real Problem
The real problem is that parents are stressed out that their kids are sick, overweight, failing at school and have poor social skills, and don’t link that to the excess sugar, energy drink, soft drink, fast food diet that their kids are eating. And often parents themselves are eating a poor quality diet. Leading by example is perhaps the best way to encourage a healthy eating regime for your kids.
There is nothing healthy about having family time at a fast-food restaurant. You can call it good quality family time all you like, but chances are if this is a regular occurrence for you this good quality family time will be cut short far too soon.
The Law of Accumulative Destructive
Let me digress for one moment and mention the principle of Accumulative Destructive habits. This principle states that if you forget to brush your teeth once, your teeth won’t suffer any long-term adverse affects. However, if you avoid brushing your teeth for seven straight days you are going down the path of tooth decay, fillings, and eventual root canals.
It’s the same with food. One or two meals at McDonalds every year is not going to kill you. In fact, it won’t impact your life negatively at all. The body is too robust for that. But if you have a Saturday tradition that includes a Big Mac, medium fries and soft drink, that equates to 52 burgers per year, or 520 per decade, and more than 2500 over 50 years. That is accumulative destructive. And that is why people die of heart attacks at age 50, and not age 5.
The Nutrition Solution
Keep nutrition simple. If it grows, chances are you can eat it. You would know by now if it’s not good for you (like some plants and trees!). If it doesn’t grow, stay away from it. Eat man-made food rarely, do it for fun, not nutrition, and don’t shame and guilt yourself over it. Food is supposed to be enjoyed!!