Halloween has just passed, and Thanksgiving is around the corner… at this time of year almost everybody is thinking about food! In honor of the early November holiday All Soul’s Day, let’s make sure that the foods we prepare and serve enrich us in both body and soul.
If Adelle Davis was correct in stating “We are what we eat,” can we take comfort in knowing our job is done when we serve homemade meals? Or can we hope for more? Can we, for example, bring creativity or intelligence into our children’s lives through high quality nutrition? Is nutrition just a matter of avoiding or treating ill health, or is it a matter of quality we can add to our children’s well being?
These are some of the questions that many of us as parents, particularly mothers, have been asking ourselves. I don’t want to “esotericize” the issue but to give attainable goals with practical hints. The case against foods of commerce is laid on sound principles.
The primary issue is that it is the responsibility of parents to serve quality food with a soul. It is easier to serve convenience foods, but it is nothing short of simply immoral. In an effort to teach my children how important it is to eat right, I offered to buy two mice and give one candy, manufactured cookies and pastries and the second eggs, whole milk, cheese, fresh vegetables and pastured meat. My children squarely said no; they didn’t want to do harm to an animal. It was an interesting lesson for all of us because it was clear the responsibility was profound. Can a responsibility be more profound than the feeding of our children?
To teach our children to take delight in good food is the counter to instilling fear about commercial products. To know that a “treat” or a “sweet” can be raspberries they pick from the garden or baked apples with cinnamon and raw cream is a wise way to instill the attributes of quality.
A century or so ago, when people consumed sweet foods, the sugar was contained in fresh fruit, vegetables and freshly ground grains. Accompanying the sugar was protein, vitamins, minerals, roughage and other important nutrients. In other words, the “soul” of the food was intact. This gave people the ability to break the sugar down into glucose gradually and without difficulty. It is, of course, different in our world today. We eat sugar in large amounts without being restrained by natural fiber. Additionally, because no nutrients are attached to help us metabolize the sugar, we stress our pancreas and other organs. Our systems were designed to break down sugar into glucose. If we eliminate this process, acute and chronic illnesses result.
Benjamin Sandler, MD, in his book Diet Prevents Polio tells how a polio epidemic in Ashville, North Carolina, was averted when the author warned parents in a radio and newspaper campaign to not feed their children sugar. He included the warning to reduce the consumption of fruit juices as well. A diet high in sugar, he cautioned, made them susceptible to polio. Dr. Sandler illustrated his point not only by his research with rabbits and monkeys but with the dramatic decrease of polio in North Carolina, after his series of media discussions. Remarkably, the incidence of polio in North Carolina dropped from 401 cases in 1948 to 214 cases in 1949. Meanwhile, the country as a whole showed an increase in 1949. This was precisely during the period of his radio discussions! The result of this study makes sense when one remembers that polio settles in the gut and alters the environment, therefore making it a host for disease.
All of this sounds so extreme, doesn’t it? Really, we all eat refined sugar, many of us daily, hidden in processed foods and cereals, and we’re all ok…right? Well, consider the following ailments we’ve chalked up to common childhood problems that have been associated with refined white sugar and its partner, refined white flour:
Susceptibility to flu
Emotional disturbances and outbursts
Refined sugar weakens the immune system. It alters the precious balance in the gut that either prevents or creates disease. Even the smallest amounts can trigger these symptoms in some people.
This, then, can give us clear parameters as parents. Acknowledging this, how can we comfortably give our children products containing sugar? This, of course, isn’t easily accomplished. The social pressures of Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving and grandparental doting are only a few of the incidences for indulgence of sugary treats. But how about vending machines lining the walls at schools and the practice of teachers passing out candy as academic rewards? Perhaps with recipes to get the hang of this theme, the transition to whole sugar can be made easier. Try these simple recipes; they may spark new ideas.
Frozen Monkeys in a Blanket
Bananas left in their skins and frozen make sweet, creamy treats. Run cold water over the frozen banana for 2 seconds or so. Cut the skin off with a sharp knife, keeping the banana intact. Wrap the bottom half of the banana with a cloth napkin as a handle and enjoy. It tastes similar to ice cream.
Packaged Food at Home
Purchase a large lot of sandwich-sized waxed bags from a food wholesaler. The cost for a large box is approximately $11, and they will last 1-1/2 years of school for a family with three children. Line up a week or so of bags and distribute an assortment of dried fruits and nuts in each one. Consider adding popped corn the night before. Health food stores are excellent sources of fun, non-processed foods that mix well. Prepackaged food at its best! Tie with a ribbon or a strand of raffia.
The heart of the matter is in the soul of the food. If the essence of the nutrition is removed, we’re left with nothing but an empty shell of nutritionless fare. Taking responsibility for the next generation is the underpinnings of good parenting. Let’s make our fare real food and breathe life into it for the sake of our children.
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The reader is encouraged to make independent inquires and to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare provider.
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