Just how far spread has our appetites taken us, and what happens in the event of an unforeseen major disaster? Is sugar in the details? ”How do we eat in a disaster”? Are “we” the disaster?
So how do we incorporate eating sugar in moderation? We are told it can be “good for the soul”, by all the ads and marketing jiggles being filtered into our daily lives. Moderation is the key, but what if you are an eating disaster? Some days I’m an eating disaster! I have really good days; heck, I even have really good weeks. But then there comes that time where temptation takes over and I feel like I’m at an all you eat smorgasbord. I’ve gotten better, but only because my stomach has shrunk due to watching those carbs.
We were born to eat, and there is a lot of research out there regarding how and why we like to eat, beginning in our infancy. I want to explore four areas of research into why we are all public health eating disasters. This research centers around children. Those four research areas are:
1. Early predisposition to learn about some things but not others (privileged domains) We are born with a certain amount of bias (or preferences). Babies learn things very rapidly and they tend to focus on verbal communication, numbers, and causality .
2. Strategies and metacognition. Babies are born schemers! They have their own will, they enjoy creativity, and they are always looking to develop their learning. Babies think about thinking. They come with a set of natural knowledge cues.
3. Theories of mind. Children as they grow have multiple intelligences. Meaning, that children will play around with theories they create in their own minds; exploring and packing away chucks of information for a rainy day. They are seeking to understand the world around them, and learning how to best adapt to that world. Many researchers believe that children all learn differently, at different times, and at different levels – basically with multiple intelligences. If we work with a child’s weaknesses and we build on their strengths we can help a child create and use play to understand the world around them. We can also apply these same principles to adults and their love of food.
4. Children and community. We all have guides throughout our life time. Children learn and are guided both by their peers and adults. Other guides are our computers, TVs, and magazines, dance teachers, moms and dads, etc.
Children tend to get into the “zone” that they are brought up with. Their parents eat one particular way, so naturally they will probably eat that way too. Their parents might be like the ones in the photo shown here. These could be very honest people, good hard workers. But the image they are giving kids is problematic. The problem that young minds have with these types of images is the sensationalism and notoriety that our society seems to place on all things “odd”. It’s the new culture, “Odd is in”.
I sometimes wonder why Congress and/or the President haven’t announced a public eating health disaster in our nation? We are basically killing ourselves, our children, and our hopes for the future; and we are doing it with a fork! While we can’t call out the swat team or the national guard, we could reign in some of the marketing rhetoric and dogma that seems to prevail over the airwaves. The food industry needs some serious overhauling – that is also a given.
With all the talk about healthcare & Obamacare (https://www.healthcare.gov/) you would think people would at least look at their own personal health issues? Doesn’t matter which side of the political fence you ride. At least take stock of the little things like diet and exercise. We have been programmed and desensitized to not pay attention to our health. Eat, drink, and be merry – it’s the American way.
Early predisposition: As young infants we are placed in front of the TV screen with a host of commercials programming us on what to like and buy. Our little minds are in the zone of proximity. As we age, the food industry just targets us in different ways; but the effect is still the same. We are mindless disaster eating zombies.
Strategies and metacognition: Babies are born scheming! They have their own will! So maybe there is hope for us yet. Actually there is a lot of hope. Babies if left alone to choose the foods they want, provided the right foods are prepared will naturally eat what their bodies need. Not only will they eat what they need, they will chew their food – while eating slowly. The idea that one has to eat quickly is an adult misconception. Babies are “naturally thins”, meaning they use the cues that nature gives them when it comes to eating. Nature has provided babies with an intrinsic and strategic plan, that naturally balances their needs. It’s the adults (guides) that screw them up. Have you ever watched a baby eat? Using metacognition, babies think about eating. Babies enjoy eating. They will pick up their food and look at it, nibble it, look at it some more, smell it, nibble again, and then finish it off. They are doing it THE RIGHT WAY! If people could just slow down, and appreciate the dining experience, there would be a lot less obese people in this country. We need to take a lesson from the babies. Yes, you may still use your fork – just slow down.
Theories of mind. We can apply the mind theory to the principles surrounding food. Since children as they grown have multiple intelligences, there is no reason that we can’t make learning about food a game. Children love to create, and having children help prepare food is one way to build on their strengths and work with their weaknesses. Foods that can be prepared by a child, can help them better grasp the concepts they are about to learn. Simple foods should be used like the fruit in the video below:
Hands on experience helps to solidify the knowledge that can be gained by young cooks. Adults need this same type of hands on experience. The fast food industry is not a friend of public health. The Fast food industry likes things in disaster mode (especially you), it’s good for their economic indicators, but not so much for your heart.
Just how far spread has our appetites taken us, and what happens in the event of an unforeseen major disaster? Is sugar in the details? ”How do we eat in a disaster”?
Our appetite are insatiable. We have had all the knowledge that we were born with, basically hijacked by the food industry. Our appetites demand those things that are not good for us, like sugar and salt, greasy food, and starches. In the unforeseen occurrence of a major disaster, I think Americans might learn how to eat normal again. Most survivalist know that you can go to the woods and find food, but a city has no forests. I think a lot of city dwellers would starve if a disaster ever hit; and while hunting is still a popular sport, most people wouldn’t know how to clean a fish, let a lone skin a rabbit. People still grow gardens, but the cities aren’t set up to deal with disasters that are ongoing beyond a certain point.
More people need to learn to grow their own food. We spend millions of dollars in foreign aid to teach third world countries to grow their own food – I’m assuming that plan should work in the US also.
Sugar is buried in the details – sugar is everywhere. Nearly all your canned food, boxed and frozen containers have some type of sugar in it. Even our survival meals are packed with sugar and salt. Unless you are buying organically grown foods, you really don’t know what has touched your food.
The way to keep us all fat has marketing roots. Those 30 second ad clips keep telling us to buy baby buy. The mileage from too many donuts is easily seen on the back sides of most Americans. Just think, 50 years ago our nation was mostly thin. Now we are the fattest nation on earth.
People are voting with their fork. We need to educate them to put their forks down and use their fingers to feel their food again. Teach them to smell their food, and taste their food. Stop inhaling your food! Stop being part of the national disaster within our public health system.
Put down your fork! Pick up a shovel and a little pack of seeds instead. At least buy healthy foods if you can’t garden. You can’t afford not too.
Next Blog I want to “Make Peace with Food”
Honestly, the struggle I’ve had with food probably mimics those of others who struggles to keep off the pounds. In their book, Tribole and Resch, (2003) Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program That Works, 2nd edition they hit the nail on the head when they talk about hitting the diet bottom! Lack of will power, intense eating after dieting, fighting against biology – “when the body is starving, it needs to be nourished”. So eat already!