If I’ve learnt one thing since my first round of 12wbt, it’s that some food isn’t actually food. My son is well into eating solids now and his father and I have changed a lot of our habits in order to create a really positive food environment for him. We have stacks of fruit and veg in the house, as well as milk, cereals (his favourite is Be Natural Porridge), pasta and loads of meat variety, lean for fast cooking, others for slow cooking and left over meals.
While shopping for an infant, I leant a vital lesson: Don’t just read the label, READ THE INGREDIENTS!
With this week’s 12wbt Preseason Task, we are asked to empty our pantries, fridges and freezers of food that is essentially poisoning us. We need to think about the calories, the sugar, the fat and the salt. But we also need to think, when we are replacing these items with ‘low fat’, ‘no fat’, ‘no sugar’ items; “What is in this, replacing the sugar, fat or salt, that maintains the flavour?”
When you are then confronted with a myriad of numbers and words you can’t pronounce but you can buy at the hardware store, you need to get your hands on a additive translator. There are a few out there and some even in app form for easy use at the supermarket. Better yet, get to know the difference between what food is and what it isn’t.
Does your jam have three types of chemicals in it? It should be fruit and sugar. Nothing else. Did you know Weight Watchers Fruit Packs have ‘no added sugar’ but they use a chemical sweetener to make it taste good?
Low fat drinking chocolate contains a chemical to make it sweet and tasty but causes migraines and digestive issues. Why not just have a cup of Chai tea? Oh! I can have a chai latte? Ah, no. Tea. From a tea bag. What makes the powder in those glorious little tubes frothy and thick? What makes a 99% fat free drink taste like a full fat one? Chemicals. Emulsifiers. Yuk stuff.
Zero Sugar soft drink – but it tastes so good! That’s because the food company has researched the ‘bliss point’. Yes, that is an actual industry term for the exact ratio of SUGAR, SALT and FAT (or synthetic chemical replacements) in an item that creates an addiction-like response in the consumer. This guarantees return custom and revenue.
Are you using margarine? Better to use nothing at all or a little pure butter. The chemicals and additives are too many to mention!! Lite or skim milk should contain… MILK! Not gelatine to make it have the ‘mouth feel’ of full cream. Thickened Light Cream – contains gelatine! Boiled animal bones, actually.
Those bananas, they have been dipped in a chemical to keep them ripening, because a banana stops ripening as soon as it’s picked. Broccoli? Sprayed with a chemical to make water bead off the foliage. No, water should not ‘bead’ off the top of broccoli. WASH YOUR VEGIES in a natural solution. I use Norwex Fresh Wash, but there are plenty of options on the market.
The above applies to bread, deli meats, yoghurts, cheese, crackers, everything in your pantry.
Now you have a kitchen counter covered in hundreds of dollars worth of “food” you have been instructed to ditch.
Such a waste! The starving children in Africa!! Think of the children!!
No, sorry. It isn’t actually food. It is, nine times out of ten, a chemical concoction moulded and shaped, coloured and textured to look like something we think is food.
You don’t need to put that in your body.
Your kids definitely don’t need to put it in their bodies.
The homeless don’t want it either. You aren’t throwing out nutritious or non-perishable foods. You’re throwing out junk. The less fortunate don’t need that crap.
The starving children in Africa really don’t need it. They need rice and oats, fruit and vegetables. JUST. LIKE. YOU!
We will see a lot of denial and baulking in this task. A lot of these statements:
‘My kids eat it, so I have to stock it.’
‘Its my husband’s favourite, so I have to buy it.’
‘There will be a riot if I don’t buy coffee milk’
‘I can’t cook different meals, my kids won’t eat them’
‘I need this in case guests come over’
As Michelle says, you are the adult. You own your past as much as you own your future. Your choices now, and they are choices, will determine your success and failure.
I told my husband he was welcome to continue drinking Coke, but I wasn’t going to buy it from the supermarket on my weekly shopping trips. I also measured out the actual 45g of sugar in the can, using white sugar in a bowl. Then I said, “Would you eat that?”. Needless to say, Coke lost it’s appeal.
And let’s be honest. Changing habits is hard. If you are single, going this alone, you have a task ahead of you akin to redirecting a row boat in a white water rapid. If you have a family, house mates, parents, partners, kids – your task is better described as turning the Titanic around in an ice flow. It will be hard. It will be noisy and possibly annoying. But it will be worth it. What alternative do you have? Sinking isn’t as fun as it sounds, believe me.
“Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss (Published by WH Allen)
“The Men Who Made Us Fat” by Jacques Peretti (BBC2)
“Additive Free Pantry” by Tanya Winfield (http://www.additivefreepantry.com)