We seem to have an oral fixation in this country. The obesity problem is an epidemic, and it is making our health care costs skyrocket. And yet everywhere we turn we are encouraged to consume, consume, consume. I am talking about food here, but the same could be said for our houses. Because everything is so inexpensive, we seem to have a need to fill every nook and cranny in our bodies and our homes with as many things as we can cram into them. When our home starts bulging at the seems, we just buy or build a bigger one. Unfortunately, we can't supersize our bodies like we can an extra value meal. It's a shame that quantity, not quality has taken over.
Here's an example. I took my son to church on Sunday, and he was in children's church for less than an hour. While he was there they gave him a snack. He is in preschool from 9-11:30 in the morning and he gets a snack. The other day I dropped him off at the babysitters after breakfast, and they had been waiting for him to arrive to have a snack. If the snack was a piece of fruit or some veggies I wouldn't have a problem with it, but we all know that's not what he is eating.
I don't mean to sound like I am preaching here, because I am struggling with this food addiction myself. I have a friend coming into town this weekend, and I suggested we meet for lunch or dinner. Not for a walk, or for yoga, or to talk, but to eat. When I take my son to preschool, I fill a to go cup with tea or coffee to take with me. Do I really need to do that? How often do we just shove food into our mouth without really paying attention to what we are eating or drinking?
I have been to Italy a few times, and I really enjoy the attitude towards food in that country. Most things are fresh and/or home cooked, and meals are a time to sit and converse and enjoy food. Gas stations on the highway have hot food, sandwich bars, and several selections of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Even the school lunches are home cooked. I remember watching a Jamie Oliver show where he went into an Italian school kitchen and showed the cooks what a British school lunch looked like. The cooks said they wouldn't feed it to their dogs. Is that an exaggeration? Probably. But how do we teach oue kids that they don't need to eat constantly, and that they need to consume clean healthy food to fuel their bodies, when we aren't getting the message ourselves?
I notice that since I have been back in the states my allergies have returned. I am still eating the same things I ate in Scotland - bread, coffee, and more sugar than I care to admit. Is it just the accumulation of all of these things over time that I am having a reaction to, or is it the extra additives we put in our food, like high fructose corn syrup? I'm beginning to think it's the latter.
Someone told me the other day that studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as heroin. I can't speak for the heroin side of it, but I sure am having a hard time kicking the sugar again. I find that once I stop eating it for a week, I no longer crave it. I'm trying to cut back my son's sugar intake as well, but that is next to impossible now that he has left the little cocoon that is our house and is out in the big, sugar obsessed world. I know I sound over protective, but I am amazed at how many times in one day he is offered sweets. And how do I tell him no when everyone else is eating it? He even has a new mantra when I talk about sweets. When I tell him he can't have something, he looks me in the eye and says, "It's all about the sugar." We both have a long way to go.