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 , 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?
TIPS FOR SIMPLE SNACK OPTIONS?
- Veggie sticks
- Whole fruit whole or cut
- Leftover roast veggie chunks (sweet potato is always popular)
- Cheese and crackers (rice crackers brand Sakata PLAIN is a good main stream MSG free option. Other plain ones unfortunately still contain MSG)
- A favourite baked good like a muffin, home made bikkie
- 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)
- 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.