Fresh Coconuts vs Twisties… Debating the weirdness of snacks.

It’s happened many times that our choice of snack has been deemed weird at the park. A half avocado with sea salt and a spoon for scooping, carrot sticks, cucumber, cold roast sweet potato, a home made muffin or cake such as this … Easy, simple and yummy bits to tide you over if it’s a few hours between meals and the little one gets hungry – although, I never offer food between meals unless the little guy asks for some and we stop and sit and eat – you can read more about that here. It seems once your child is one, their snacks should come from packets and I often get a comment about how amazing it is that my little guy is eating produce.

These days with an uber active nearly 4 year old, I often bring a coconut. It’s so easy and inexpensive and you and have a tasty, rehydrating drink with a negligible sugar content and a high nutrient snack from the flesh after drinking it, in one. It’s enough for us both. The CocoCUT opener might seem a bit of a contraption, granted, which is what I use when we bring a whole coconut from home, but other than that, we’re just normal people eating a normal coconut, right?

A lady with her son and a packet of twisties decided to say last week “Wow, that’s a bizarre snack at the park”. I laughed it off. Then while we were eating the coconut, 2 other people commented on our seemingly odd choice of park snack while eating processed packets of food – Now, I need to be clear here for people that haven’t read my stuff or been a part of the community for a while: I am not judging anyone. I am asking us all TOGETHER to THINK – to look at our culture, society, what we’ve come to consider normal, and simply bring critical thinking back to perhaps realise that what’s crazy is the weirdo lab created stuff, not a coconut or a carrot or some left over roast veg at the park. I once ate the weirdness – ALL OF IT, trust me. I’ve done the work so I’m always about helping anyone curious to take a closer look themselves, and work through the ‘ahas’ and the ‘oh wows’ with you.

I often think and ask audiences I speak with: How did we get here? How did we get past a whole school education, many of us also colleges and universities, years of professional life and yet we have come to find a rice wheel or Baby Mum mum totally acceptable and a great ‘go to’ and a carrot or cucumber weird. Where did our critical thinking go? Did our culture, the slick advertising and our propensity to save all our critical thinking for our JOBS land us here? How did we come to not inspect very closely what went in our bodies? How did we let companies start mixing weird ingredients together that we’d never find in the standard pantry or fridge, and deem it a good idea to tuck into the fake packets of weirdness and proclaim “Yum!”. We are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ but I’m wondering: Has our culture of convenience led us astray? I think yes it has.

It’s genuinely interesting to ponder. Don’t feel bummed if you’re having an epiphany and feeling guilty – You didn’t know. Heck I didn’t know either until I was 28 and only then was it because of extreme recurring strep that I ‘woke up’ and wondered: Hmmm.. is it something I’m doing / eating? Yes it was.

Anyway, that was one heck of a thinking-out-loud tangent – Back to the ingredients with our critical thinking caps on:

Our snack of choice ingredient list from the park that morning

Coconut water & flesh. That’s it.

(note. We don’t do coconuts anymore unless we’re somewhere that they grow, because I don’t like the plastic or styrofoam around them and the lack of visibility of where they came from. But, 3 years ago it was a regular, there are far worse options and at the end of the day, I don’t blame us – they’re delicious! So now it’s a holiday treat rather than a go to after kindy situation)

And now a look at the other snacks that were hanging around the park that morning. Regular main stream snacks. Popular. More ‘normal’ in a way. 

Twisties: Corn, Vegetable Oil, fake salt, whey powder, maltodextrin, flavour enhancers (621, 635) Sugar, Flavours (Natural and Nature Identical) Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Spices, Onion powder.

Rice Wheels: Rice (85%), Barbecue Flavour (7%) Natural & Nature identical flavouring substances, spices, vegetable powder (Onion, garlic, tomato), Sugar, salt, yeast, anti-caking agents (551,554), Starches, vegetable oil (soy, sunflower, cottonseed)), Canola Oil (Antioxidant (307)), salt, garlic Powder, soy lecithin

Le Snack: Cheese Spread[54%][Cheddar cheese (27%)(milk, salt, starter culture), water, margarine (vegetable oils, water, salt, milk solids non fat, emulsifiers [soy lecithin, 471], Flavour, Food acid [330], Antioxidants [304, 306 from soybean oil], colour [beta carotene]), Whey Powder (from milk), Mineral Salts (339,452), Preservative (234)]. Crisp bread [Wholemeal wheat flour, Wheat flour, Malt extract (from barley), Vegetable oil (emulsifier [soy lecithin], Antioxidant [306 from soybean oil, 307]), Sugar, Wheatgerm, Salt, Milk Powder, Poppy seeds, Raising Agents (500, 503)].

WOAH, right? How weird our society is, where a single fresh food is weirder than a packet of weirdness. Those 3 other snacks are lab made creations, full of ingredients our bodies don’t understand. I’ve eaten many snacks like them in the past. Many times. I never thought about them. The Twisted contain 3 different forms of glutamates, excito-toxins including MSG for goodness sake. It’s no mystery why I couldn’t for the life of me put a packet down until it was done when I was younger. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing? All excitement and reward centres in the brain firing coupled with zero nutrients = endless quest for satisfaction and a greater high. No joke. They calculate this stuff in the labs. Read Salt Sugar Fat  if you’re keen to learn more on that topic.

This sure isn’t giving our kids the physical and mental boost they need for a busy day and yet we’ve been marketed them all heavily as on the go / treats / easy options. If anything these snacks are going to cause fatigue, crankiness and tantrums (along with possible asthma, dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis according to chemical maze app when you analyse the ingredients – a great app). It’s not our fault and this is not a post of judgement and damning ignorance. It’s a look at how a whole society has, for the most part, bought into a strange sort of ideal – one we were sold by marketers and one that was so irresistible that logic and critical thinking failed us during the transition to the packet-heavy snacking. We’ve been told we’re too busy. We’ve been told these companies would take care of things for us to make life easier. We haven’t been told the truth. It’s packets and promises.

We need to shift our thinking about what’s weird and what’s real, that’s all. We need to expose the big companies for what they’re really selling us, minus all the shiny gloss of their ads and packaging. The beautiful thing is that no grand gesture or rally in the streets is required – We just swap out to whole food, simple ingredient options and voila – we’ve supported the farmer instead of the laboratory foods. Those big companies don’t make what people don’t buy and word on the street is huge multinationals in the US are buying organic farms because why? Because WE said so. We’re a pretty powerful bunch you and I and together, while putting back our critical thinking caps on, we can steer this food ship where it needs to go – back to the real food shores. There’s a cracking beach there I hear complete with local fresh coconuts 😉

So which one looks right now? Perception changed a little?

coconut vs twisties

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIPS FOR SIMPLE SNACK OPTIONS?

  1. Veggie sticks
  2. Whole fruit whole or cut
  3. Leftover roast veggie chunks (sweet potato is always popular)
  4. Coconut
  5. Cheese and crackers (rice crackers brand Sakata PLAIN is a good main stream MSG free option. Other plain ones unfortunately still contain MSG)
  6. A favourite baked good like a muffin, home made bikkie
  7. A simple ingredient whole food brand (Whole Kids, Mary’s gone crackers, Emma & Toms… and a lot of great other ones. Just read those ingredient lists and pick the simplest ones)
  8. Bliss balls like THESE ONES.

What do you think? Any friends we could help with simple comparisons such as this? Please, feel free to share this post if you want to say something to someone, but don’t know how. Maybe they’ll read it. Maybe it will help. Maybe if we start seeing weirdo packets of fakeness for what they really are we’ll realise that we weren’t at fault and there’s nothing to feel guilty about, but that indeed we might have been finding the wrong foods ‘weird’.

Real Food. Happy Bodies.

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Comments 22

  1. This is awesome Alexx. Although I dont have kids and am not (normally) one to judge, I cant help but wonder why people feel they have the need to comment about other peoples lives or choices without first stopping to think of their own.
    I often get weird looks when I crack open my package of homemade snacks or activated nuts. I think its rad that you brought the coconut and you and your son were obviously enjoying a nutritious snack.
    Enjoy your heath and good times.
    x

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      Thanks for taking the time to comment Cherie. It was quite cathartic to take the time and pitch the snack choices against each other. Your home made snacks sound delicious – wish we’d run into you at the park instead! hehe xx

  2. I hear you! I get questioning looks at work sometimes when I stop for morning tea and I’m eating a cold boiled egg, or a handful of pepitas and sunflower seeds, or a carrot…instead of the standard cakes and biscuits or chocolate bars. I guess I’m just a weirdo too LOL

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  3. My kids are now 14 and 11 and yes, we have pretty much had lots of comments on our weird food. It’s very sad and screwed up. Slowly though, the word is getting out there… going to share this on FB so it gets out even more. Love your work Alexx! xx

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      Sonia – I’m feeling a weirdos unite and take over the world coming on 😉 Thanks so much for sharing. It is sad, but it’s never hopeless! xx

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      Oh my gosh Sonia – just found this reply from 2013! Look how old your little peeps were too. Where does the time go? x

  4. Weirdos unite! If enough people see us eating this way, then it won’t seem do strange and they may even pick up one themselves when they are next out shopping. Thanks Alexx for reinforcing my beliefs that those out there eating the packets are the odd ones; not us who choose real food xxx

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  5. We’re always taking leftover roast sweet potato to places the next day. This week was a tub of chick peas and a sunflower/raisin mix. What I find so curious are the questions I get asked about my son’s lunchbox. What, you made that? From scratch? I’m always really happy to help other people who don’t like cooking, so I offer recipes and a few tips, but it rarely works. Sadly, you don’t often come across children being fed proper homemade, nutritious food. It makes me really sad. And yes you’re right, the homemade/simple stuff is so rare, it’s deemed weird. What a world!

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      What a world indeed Vanessa – a world that we can so turn around. I really believe that. Good on your for trying to help people in your community! They’re lucky to have you there xx

  6. I remember when my daughter was 12 months old I was at a birthday party and I said she wasn’t allowed to have a lolly pop, I was warned I was going to turn my child into a fussy eater, I don’t think it’s weird to eat a coconut in the park, I am very interested to find out more about the device you use to open them up

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      People say all sorts of silly things, don’t they? I am often told I’m depriving my little guy. There are plenty of delicious treats in his life. It’s not their fault. They’ve just never questioned how things are, and I thankfully grew up always questioning things. The cocoCUT is fabulous. I highly recommend and in the post you’ll find that the mention of it is a hyper link to their site. I also interviewed the founders a little while back. A gorgeous brother sister duo 🙂

  7. Climbing trees-definitely! (we don’t have i-pads)
    In the past, for parties I like to provide fresh coconuts with personalised gum nuts to spike into the outer fibre to distinguish which nut belongs to whom, novelty straws are great for the children to take home and reuse. If someone didn’t like the drink someone else soon slurped it up. Once the drink was finished the nuts were split open and used as bowls for serving up the cake. Provided they wash their hands well I encourage eating with hands – messy, hilarious and way too fun!-
    Afterwards, all thrown in the compost. Simple, healthy, fun.
    However, recently I have read a few posts about preservatives being injected into the coconuts, or dunking coconuts in (possibly carcinogenic) solution to increase shelf life. Does anyone else know anything about this?

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      Michelle you’re a genius! All compostable AND no washing up!! Am totally stealing that idea 🙂 I have read about the outer fibre being bleached a couple of times, unsubstantiated. There is nothing injected into coconuts to preserve. They are naturally preserved unopened for a number of months.

  8. Alex, I love your blog,and this article hit home for me.
    The day care that my children go to has decided that we wre not to bring cakes from home for birthdays (due to the risk of apotential allergens) and in fact we should all bring store bought cakes. (Can’t be from a cake shop, must be mass produced and have labelled ingredients). This horrifies me more. I would love you to do a similar exposé on those really cheap woollies chocolate cakes or the like so I can take it to the director. This is a university day care, supposedly run by people who know about educating our little people. I am amazed that they’d prefer store bought toxins to the ‘safe’ alternative, which is baking a ‘safe’ cake with the children on the premises.
    Thanks
    Mal.

    1. I have just found your website, through a facebook friend and am very appreicative of all of the information you have posted here! Mal, one way our local kindy tackled the birthday cake problem, was to provide the birthday child with a play dough cake. The play dough is put in a small recycled youghurt container and candles are added to blow out. The child still gets their celebration, birthday song, candles to blow, but also gets some play dought to take home “from their kindy friends”. A great way to fix the food sharing dilema.

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        What a cute idea with the play dough cake! Thanks for stopping by Steph & for taking the time to give Mal an idea – love it when people help each other on here. That’s the stuff that community’s made of. Have a fab weekend 🙂

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      Thanks so much for your lovely words Mal. Breaks my heart to hear of supermarket fake cakes being recommended in place of home baked. I do understand that with extreme allergies, cross contamination is an issue, however I believe that the message and solution here is all wrong wrong wrong. Absolutely a great idea to bring ingredients and bake with kids on the premises. I love that solution.

      I will definitely do a post on this at some point. It’s an issue close to my heart!

      Alexx

  9. I am living in Thailand and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Due to the humidity here, it is easy to dehydrate after exercising. I do consume electrolytes whilst exercising (stops mega headaches), but afterwards, I always drink a fresh coconut.

    So refreshing and I believe it has 9 our of the 11 minerals in our bodies. May well have that wrong as I ain’t no Einstein with biology 😉

  10. Confession: I am one of those people who probably would have thought that was a weird snack. We eat quite a lot of processed snacks around here and while I do try to buy the no artificial colour and preservatives kind for my 3 yr old I realise they still contain lots of yucky things. I have been thinking lately though that it is time for a change and have started slowly introducing more clean or wholefood recipes. The more I read the more I know this is the right thing to do for me and my family. Thanks for the article it has certainly helped me get a little more perspective.

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      Lainie, I love this note. Thank you so much for sharing. You’re right, no artificial colours / preservatives is sadly a marketer’s way of stopping us from checking out the fine print. I am so excited this has triggered something in you. I’ll never forget my wake up moment. Looking forward to doing what I can to help you along 🙂

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