I’m all for having a childhood, I’m all for kids enjoying themselves but my question is, has society gone mad and in the process accepted a new ‘norm’ that is harming our future generations. Would people like myself be outed and told we’re meddling and trying to take away kids fun, or trying to make the life of a parent difficult?
A picture that sticks in my mind is during Jamie Olivers ‘School Dinners’ when he tried to alter the way in which our kids are fed in schools. The image that I remember being most poignant for me was the scene in which parents where handing bags of chips and sweet through the railings to their kids. Someone went out there against the odds to make a difference and got it thrown in his face.
One of the largest factors is the simple education of our future generations. Sadly when we live in a world that is all about convenience and looking a little too much at the ‘now’ rather than the future. Most of us seem comfortable that future generations will look at us in contempt at what we failed to do to look after their future and their health.
Last year I spoke in front of about 600 kids about topics relevant to nutrition, disturbingly only 3 children could clearly tell me what carbohydrates, proteins and fats where. This is the most rudimentary knowledge when it comes to what we consume. Slightly alarming. I asked them to name a few brands of chocolate bars and energy drinks and there wasn’t a problem answering this.
I’m going to tell you what I went through with them. I had an hour with various groups to cover something I knew could make a change to their lives the most in the time that I had. I’ve written about some of this before but it still gripes me somewhat as to why some of these things remain legal to commercially sell.
I put two cans of drink on the table infront of me, I explained the background of these particular ‘soft drinks’ that both where designed originally as a medical way of combatting the symptoms of lethargy and tiredness. Both became very popular due to their commercial availability and the high that accompanied consumption of them. Greed took over and an opportunity to make a fast $. Both where packaged accordingly and sold commercially. With the evolution of the human diet and the fact nutrients are now stripped from foods, processing is common place and the commercial usage of chemicals in food is permissible we now have diets that guess what…..people get lethargic and tired on (also overweight and ill). Allow commercially available ‘drugs’ in the form largely of sugar and caffeine and a tasty beverage you have a solution to the symptomatic issues that arise. The sales tactics of these companies reflect those of the street dealers of class A drugs giving free samples to its consumers. Once this high is felt an addiction is formed. A consumer claimed.
If this tactic doesn’t work they have many others that mean a healthy profit. In 2010 a profit of $5.1 Billion was posted.
As a side note red is the color that makes people hungry. Red instantly attracts attention and it also makes people excited, energetic, and increases the heart rate. Yellow has a similar impact therefore almost all fast food chains incorporate these colours in their logos….think about it. Utilising darker shades of blue indicate dependability and integrity, combining both is a smart move.
So, back to the kids. I pointed out the energy drink and at the same time asked how they would all feel after consuming it. At that point I stated that it made your body work at 100mph right? The kids conclusively said yes. In one group I got them to stand up and all run as fast as they could on the spot…..and I kept them going…eventually they all started to tire. Symptomatically they confirmed what I thought, they wanted to keep going but they couldn’t. Upon asking what could keep them going they pointed at the can. Although you generally won’t run after consumption of such a beverage the same end product exists, the high and the resultant crash. Take a neural stimulant such as caffeine the same thing happens to the brain. Adrenaline rises, pupils dilate etc. Your brain starts to work overtime with an accompanying shutdown. Add them together and, well you get the picture. ALL of the kids answered the simple problem and solution to it, drink another can.
Take a look at the symptoms below and tell me if you think they could be caused by excessive sugar and caffeine consumption and/or the combination of a poor diet (school dinners)?
- a short attention span
- being easily distracted
- making careless mistakes, for example in schoolwork
- appearing forgetful or losing things
- being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time consuming
- being unable to listen to or carry out instructions
- being unable to concentrate
- constantly changing activity or task
- having difficulty organising tasks
- being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
- constantly fidgeting
- being unable to settle to tasks
- excessive physical movement
- excessive talking
- being unable to wait for a turn
- acting without thinking
- interrupting conversations
- little or no sense of danger
I will explain later what relevance these are.
Also take a look at the following chemicals and if I put them all together would you consume them?
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
- Disodium Phosphate
- Propylene Glycol
- Calcium Disodium EDTA
- Ammonium Glycyrrhizin
- Benzoyl Peroxide
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) continues to allow usage of things that when tested are deemed safe at certain levels, they fail to consider the cumulative or stockpiling effects of these chemicals on human physiology, psychology and general wellbeing. Almost all of the data used to ‘ok’ these ingredients is only studied when used alone.
The UK National Curriculum pays no attention to the teachings of nutrition. They don’t permit our children to make educated choices with what they eat but push the importance of education in day to day life. I understand entirely why they wouldn’t as it would contradict the vending machines they’re expected to have in the corridors and school dinners they’re expected to serve. Now before you jump on the teachers here this has nothing to do with them. These decisions are made by the government and school boards to ensure better profitability and allow ‘costs to be cut’.
It’s just a massive amount of excuses being given as to why we aren’t doing anything about these things as it’s essentially someone sat creating larger profit margins and making money from the whole scenario. Food processing increases profitability, lack of education improves condusiveness and will to change. Food and beverages create illness, illness creates profit through the sale of drugs and healthcare fees. Turning a blind eye so fat cats can have several homes and sports cars is NOT the way forward. People need to make a stand if we are prepared to change a single thing.
A few things as parents you can do:
- Parents, please opt out of school dinners and take the onus upon yourself to feed your kids unprocessed and real food. This includes infants and babies.
- If you have anything in your cupboard that has cartoon characters on it, get rid of it. It’s a marketing ploy for your kids. Anything you spot advertised during commercials of kids shows please do the same. THEY are telling you what NOT to eat, it’s just a matter of realising how they’re duping you.
- If you read the ingredients and there is ANYTHING you don’t know what it is get rid of it.
- Get rid of cordials, even sugar free cordials from cupboards, society embraces these beverages but it’s sugar and water, peaks and crashes in energy, behaviour and hormonal disruption. Also fruit juice concentrates. It’s a way of masking concentrated sugar (fruit juice). Stick to fresh juice ONLY.
- Stop treating kids like dogs. Good behaviour does not mean biscuits or chocolates, STOP using fast food as bargaining tools for better behaviour. Go to a toyshop….NOT a burger joint for toys. They should be defined ‘Momentarily Happy Meals’ as I assure you the crash is far worst.
- Teach your kids what they’re consuming, if you don’t understand it yourself, educate yourself.
Making changes will improve the health of your kids, your bills, your kids success in life, of this I assure you. The patterns between fast food and beverage consumption, diabetes, anti social behaviour, psychological conditions and I could go on, they stare us in the face JUST just the same as what we SHOULDN’T do.