Have we lost our way as mothers?
Being a mum for the first time is a daunting process, and it doesn’t get any easier as the next lot of siblings arrive. As mothers, we have the ability to change the trajectory of not only our own children but the world. We for the most part have more say in the household food and commodity expenses than our partners. Well, at least that’s what it was like in my household when my children were babies, toddlers and school-aged. I was the decision-maker as my husband was working bringing in the money for me to spend. My priority was always good quality food. Nothing else mattered as much to me. It was all about how I nourished my family. Even our travels around Australia for 2 years were based on healthy food production, I was always seeking out local food markets.
Recently I was sent a video by a nutritionist and psychologist mum that was showing how to use Weetbix in order to feed her fussy child eater. She started with one Weetbix and then added goodies on top like linseed, berries and chia.
I suggested on a comment on the video that I didn’t want to feed my kids, synthetic nutrients (the fortified cereal), extruded grain (how all cereals are made – kill the grain completely) and any agricultural chemicals (glyphosate and other killer pesticides) that still exist on the wheat.
She then came back to tell me that it was wonderful that we have the choice to feed our families in a way we feel is supportive of their needs alongside a family budget, food preferences, allergies, (to name a few). Meeting families, especially those with picky eaters, and supporting them to help their kids eat (no matter how small or seemingly insignificant) will always be her goal on her Instagram page.
I went back to say that as parents we have to step it up. It’s up to us to lead the way to show the human race that ultra-processed foods should never be part of any eating program, picky eaters included. We are just encouraging big AG, big food and big pharma to make low nutrient, chemical laden junk food that makes us even sicker. A child will never starve themselves. Offer them the right foods and only the right foods and they will eat. No need to pander to fussy eaters you are the one in control of the food, not the toddler. Is it easy? No, but having sick kids and a sick planet is even worse. We as mothers have a responsibility and I’m sick of the excuses that I hear, it’s time to woman up and do what we need to do.
You might think I’m being a little harsh, but I really believe we have to go past the excuses and ‘it’s too hard’ and do what it takes to nourish our family to heal this nation.
Recently I read The Food Solution – Eating for Today to Save Tomorrow by Dr. Gundula Rhoades. We were speaking at the same event and swapped books. Dr. Gundy is a veterinarian who has a practice in country NSW, she sees the sick animals and she sees the humans that bring them in. They are both sick. Humans and animals. They have been poisoned by farming chemicals, they have been poisoned by the food that the farms produce and then by the food manufacturers that make ultra-processed foods that are not only being consumed by humans but pets as well. She is dumbfounded that not more people are waking up to the fact that as consumers we have the power to change this. Demand and only purchase food that will give health for you and the planet. I guess I like this book because it is reiterating from another angle what I’ve been saying for years. As my father often said “I like the man that thinks like I do”. As for Dr Gundy, I like that girl she thinks like I do.
What’s in our grocery stores?
Most of the foods that sit in the grocery store are making people sick the top three ingredients of most packaged foods are industrial seed oils, refined sugar syrups and highly refined foods with a splattering of flavours, colours, acidity regulators, starches, binders and basically anything that makes you think you are eating food. If we support these companies with our dollar then we are part of the problem and we must understand this as consumers. It’s time to ask the question as to where you stand on the issue of helping humans, animals and planet earth heal?
The top 11 companies that own most of the brands in the supermarket include, Coca Cola, Unilever, Nestle, Kraft/Heinz, Procter and Gamble, Pepsico, Kelloggs, Mars, General Mills, Johnson and Johnson and Mondelez. These 11 companies may have begun as chocolate makers, soft drink makers, grain suppliers, medications and cereal makers but they are now much bigger with 100’s of brands under their control.
They are not there for your health they are there to make money for the company and shareholders. They buy a cheap commodity from the farmer and then convert it into 1000’s of products with pretty packaging and many food additives priced to tempt the buyer but with a far bigger price tag on the destruction of health. It’s just an upsell. Not only are they full of dubious ingredients but the nutrient value of the cheap industrial crop is negligible. These foods do not sustain health.
I just don’t know how many ways I can say this. Eat ultra-processed foods and get sick, go down the medication route get sicker, take time off work, kill creativity, live a life less than what you want and keep going down the spiral, which in turn does not help you, your family or planet health.
How can we turn this world around?
In the last chapter in The Food Solution, Dr. Gundy has a dream, it’s very much my dream. It is to see a world where chemicals are not sprayed on our farms which in turn kills our waterways and all that live in them as well as bees and insects that are required for food production. These chemicals ultimately kill the soil that then in turn cannot deliver healthy foods but rather the exact opposite, foods that will make you sick. This dream includes a world where less plastic is used, and microplastics are not part of our environment. To treat our animals with respect. To nourish our families from local producers that respect the ecology of the soil and to see the human race thrive with health. It’s not a hard dream. It is just that everyone must participate in order to turn this around.
I’m not prepared to wait, so I’ll just do what I can as the matriarch of my family.
My babies are now having babies but when they were growing up, I had the one ingredient pantry and fridge. That means everything in those food places consisted of one ingredient and from each of those ingredients I made 1000’s of recipes. I had my favourites, like blueberry muffins and eggs for breakfast, lunches for my children going to school were usually leftovers and dinner was always a protein (fish, chicken, meat, vegetarian) and vegetables. I made desserts and cakes and cookies for lunches for my children and we lived a very healthy existence.
My children only went to doctors with broken bones or if they needed stitches. They were healthy and had no need for any medication. In fact, they all have been given the gift of health where medications are never a way to health but rather subtle changes in lifestyle and food are what they know to do.
The exciting thing that I now get to watch is how they are bringing up their children. Without medications, without ultra-processed foods, everything is made from scratch not only are they another 3 families doing what I did, but their extended families are following suit. So, from one family I now have around me 6 families that are following suit. My three children, their partners, their in-laws and of course my brother is also on board. The impact of this way of life can be enormous if we all collectively do and teach this way to health.
I remember when my children were at school there were many of their classmates that had what I termed “pick a pack lunch box’’. The lunch boxes were filled with ultra-processed muesli bars, chips, lollies and plastic cheese slices. Not only was this hard on their friend’s health but also, due to the wrappers, the rubbish was hard on landfills and the environment.
As a new mum going to play groups, schools, kindergartens and preschools I know I had influence over the friends I made. They could see the difference in my children and wanted that for their children. We all want what is best for all in our family, it’s sometimes hard to see firstly what has to be done but secondly how do we do it.
It’s a step-by-step change. Becoming educated is the first big step, read books to inform, do courses to become the leader in your community on the topic of nutrition, health and lifestyle. If we continue to do what we are doing right now we will continue to get what we are getting, if you want something else then change is important. Don’t wait to change. Imagine where you will be in 12 months, how better off your family will be and the knock-on effect that it will create.
If you are not well and you don’t have much energy and your kids are sick, this can be the hardest thing you can do. But I know that when we make changes to our diet and lifestyle and we make it a priority in our lives then the whole world seems to change. Not only do you get more health but so do your children and that’s the best feeling of all.
I’m not saying the change will not be challenging and there will be times when you want to throw the towel in but I am saying that it will be worth it in the long run not only for you but your family as well. You will notice that by changing your food purchases to real food and food that has had no chemicals sprayed on it can be the most impactful thing you can do right now.
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate what we do as mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers. Gather your family around you, create a beautiful meal made with real food and let’s do what we do best, nurture our families, loved ones, friends and the planet that we live on.
I take the role of matriarch and mother very seriously; this is the most important role I do in my life and I will pass on the best of my skills to my descendants so that they can become the future leaders of this movement back to health. And if anyone else is watching that wants to take part I’m here to educate and guide you on that path. The best way to start is by trying our Introduction to Nutrition course.