By Jelena Puskarica
Are you thinking about eating as a source of nourishment, pleasure and joy? Or does it make you feel guilty and ashamed?
Have you been eliminating certain foods from your diet just because you believe they are bad for you? Or maybe you are feeling super proud for following the “clean eating” trend?
Bad food, good food…Guilt-free food, guilty food….Clean eating, dirty eating. Really?
It has became a norm in society to stick such labels to food. How did we develop such a complicated relationship with food and where are the roots of this problem?
When we were children we used to be told to “clean the plate” and asked for “just one more bite” overriding our internal cues of hunger and satiety. We got accustomed to language that classify food into good and bad. Using negative feeding practices while naming and shaming certain foods didn’t give us the greatest start in developing healthy relationship with food.
And then we move into adolescence to be told by social media influencers that we should juice celery to detox our bodies. It looks like our kidneys and liver just got competition!
No wonder we feel completely baffled.
Many of us are overthinking and over-analysing food... WE NO LONGER FIND JOY IN FOOD.
Eating has somehow become a refuelling process where the only thing that matters is the right ratio of carbs, fats and protein. Or even a mixture that excludes some of these macronutrients that are not good for us (at least that’s what we have been told!).
But what happened to our food related memories, connections and culture?
In my youth I spent a few months in Spain, working at the car factory. In those days group of colleagues and I often went to a local “taberna” for lunch. I was embracing the Spanish culture and learning the new language while sharing “tapas” with local people.
I’m sure that my Spanish experience would be regretful one if I thought that “tapas” were not “clean” enough and instead of eating out with my friends I sat in the corner drinking celery juice?
Let’s rebuild our relationship with food.
I hope next time you sit down to have a meal you will give yourself a permission to truly enjoy it…because we all deserve that!
By Jelena Puskarica
We all know about the disease of modern age-obesity. It is crippling us at an alarming rate. We worry about our kids and tackle this issue on every single level. After all, every fourth Australian kid is overweight or obese.
But it seems to me that their “thinner’ “peers have often been forgotten. And that many don’t even consider this as a problem, even though these kids have equal risks of developing nutrition-related health issues. If you have an underweight child, as I do, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Have you been told... it’s just the way your child is?
Or that they should simply eat more food?
Seems easy, right? All I must do is provide healthy nutritious food and motivate my boy to eat it. Even easier for me, I’m trained to do this stuff!
✓ I know how to feed my family
✓ Our diet is abundant in vegetables and wholegrain foods
✓ We have a good mealtime routine and my kids don’t graze on snacks between meals
✓ We don’t keep many energy-dense foods in our pantry and hardly ever do takeaways
Sounds like good advice I would give to any parent of a young kid who is trying to establish healthy eating habits. EAT. MORE. FOOD. It worked for my other three children...
But not for my son...
Instead of thriving, he was just surviving.
Let me be clear - my son does eat his food. He is not even fussy about trying new food and ironically vegetables are on the top of his list of favourite foods. But he simply can’t have much of it. After a bowl of side salad his belly is too full to contemplate the main meal.
Food doesn’t rate highly on his agenda and he often forgets to eat if I’m not around, so I worry whether he is getting all the nutrients he needs. I had to find a way to feed my boy without feeding the rest of the family with extra calories they didn’t need.
This meant providing small portions of energy-dense, yet nutritious food packed with healthy fats and protein, several times a day. This gives him the opportunity to eat whenever he feels hungry and not make a fuss when he doesn’t.
I might add, the ‘extra snack’ before bedtime was the cause of many “it’s not fair” exclamations from his siblings!
BUT, more than food, my boy needs constant encouragement, support and reminders to eat. It is a work in progress and requires time and patience.
So while you may be celebrating an occasion when your child tries a new vegetable previously rejected many times, I consider a victory when my son asks, “Mum, can I have a second piece of chocolate cake?”
… because cakes can sometimes be healthy too!
Fitness, Energy, Education & Diet