The first Foodie Friday

When it comes to food choices, I tend to follow my gut (no pun intended!). I’m naturally drawn to healthy options … give me sushi over McDonalds any day. I do take my role as Guardian of the Pantry for my family quite seriously as I want to raise an active and healthy family. I did think I was doing really well with my ‘everything in moderation’ approach until that was blown out of the water recently with a lot of media attention to the sugar debate. This really prompted some thinking and a bit of research from me.

So this post is about my thoughts on food. As I’m aiming for a Foodie Friday post each fortnight, it’s probably really important that you know my overall philosophy.

I’m not going to quote facts and statistics back to you. I’m not good at remembering that stuff anyway. But I do know when I read/hear something and it feels right for me and my family. I get that everyone has opinions and philosophy of their own. I respect that and am grateful daily that there are really not dietary restrictions in my home.

I generally make good choices for my family in terms of nutrition. I make sure everyone has a good breakfast, lunch boxes are full of variety, and dinner is pretty much made from scratch. We eat a lot of meat (helps that my husband hunts and we have access to home-kill beef from time to time). I do have a zero tolerance to fizzy and fruit juice, except for special occasions (moderation!). So I’m not doing too bad am I?

There’s been a media storm around sugar here lately. I was already aware of the risks and limited negative benefits of a high sugar diet but had no idea how much sugar there really was in our diet. Some things I thought were good foods, actually really are not – like white rice and couscous!

CoffeeAs I write this I’m stirring half a teaspoon of raw sugar into my flat white. I’m human! But that is, I think, an example that perfectly reflects my approach. I’m not going on a complete sugar ban, I do still believe that all things in moderation is a healthy approach. That’s tempered now with a healthy dose of education which allows me to give my family better options. For example, instead of loading breakfast cereal with brown sugar, most of us now opt for fruit and homemade Greek yoghurt as toppings. I also make my own muesli from fresh/raw sources (and it’s yummy!). There’s still sweetness to suit our palettes but it is now coming from less refined sources.

I know that if I ban anything completely, my kids are old enough to get it themselves and will binge – they love sweet snacks and convenience food…they are kids. I want to encourage a healthy relationship with food so make a point of talking to them about nutrition. The two oldest boys pack their own lunch and I love to hear “I’ve got hockey today I better have some extra protein”. On the other hand I also had “oh mum, enough with the sugar already” as I stopped a third helping of tomato sauce at the dinner table (do you have any idea how much sugar in that stuff!).

Balance is key. I won’t deny, but I will offer ‘better’ alternatives and ‘sometimes’ foods.

So what do I teach my kids:

  • Protein – good! There’s plenty of ways to get it and I make sure these are readily available.
  • Sugar – we love the sweet stuff but we need to get it from natural sources as much as possible (fruit and honey are great in my eyes). Sugar in fruit is fructose (a simple sugar) and it’s packaged with water, minerals, vitamins and fibre – the fibre that slows the sugar absorption by our bodies so we don’t get those highs and lows as blood-glucose levels fluctuate (I think that’s right?!).
  • Carbs – yep, love ’em too! There are good carbs and bad carbs – we aim for carbs that are full of fibre to minimise the negative effects. Brown rice is better than white, wholemeal bread better than white, whole-grains, veges, fruit and beans are best choices. We love kumara, chickpeas, lentils and quinoa, How lucky am I not to have fussy kids?

So here it is, the food philosophy of Abbie:

Food philosophy
photo credit: Edson Hong via photopin cc

Wow, that was really great to actually put on paper. I’m a lot clearer now, hope you can all see where I’m coming from?

Next time I’ll write about some of the changes I’ve made to my family’s diet so far … and how they have been received (which is not all good, even for me!).

Is there anything there that you can relate to? Or disagree with? Please correct me if I’m wrong on any of the factual stuff too! Do you have a food philosophy?

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6 thoughts on “The first Foodie Friday

  1. I love your food philosophy. I also prefer the sushi over Mcdonald’s too. I’m totally on board with you and “everything in moderation”. I don’t believe there is NEED to avoid something altogether, just regulate it. 🙂

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  2. Where do you stand on fat? Fat is essential to help with the digestive process. Natural fats e.g. fat on meat including yummy crispy chicken skin, avocado’s, organic cold pressed olive oil (never heat this only use cold) and coconut oil are all healthful fats which we need in our diets. The bad fats to keep away from are the likes of trans fats which are in margarine, cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread (basically anything processed). It will appear on the packaging as Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil or Safflower or Sunflower Oil etc. Once the likes of Canola Oil etc (one of the most unhealthy oils to consume) is heated it turns into a trans fat. That goes for any oil heated over 45 – 60 Deg C or smoke point with the exception of coconut oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point and can be used for everything from frying to baking and will not turn rancid or into a trans fat like all the other oils on the market. It is this trans fats that cause artery damage therefore leading to stroke and heart attacks and health issues etc. Canola Oil comes from the Rapeseed plant. It was originally grown for the automotive industry to be used as car oil, machinery oil (thing ENZED hydraulic hoses-the fluid in them etc). It was cheap and easy to produce. Then the food producers worked out that they could get more profit by putting cheap oil into food stuffs. Hence, Canola Oil is in everything. A nasty, dirty product which is available in most processed foods. Check your bread, crackers, pastries, biscuits etc next time you are in the supermarket and you may be quite surprised at how many products contain oils, which in the end have been heated therefore they have high trans fats content in them. Nice article Abbie 🙂

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    1. Hi Jackie. Thanks for all that info! I agree that fat is an essential part of our diet. As long as it’s the right fats. I prefer butter, the kids use an olive oil based spread. Ooh and we love avocado. I was aware (recently) about the differences in oils. I was using Rice Bran oil but have swapped to coconut oil for most things, olive oil for bread making/baking. I now also use coconut oil for my skin and hair treatments, and lip balm! Generally, I’m buying less than a quarter of the processed food that I used to. I will keep an eye on ingredients though. Thanks again, awesome comment 🙂

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  3. Well, I’m not one to talk nutrition. I am overweight, most would say obese. I quit smoking about 20 years ago and gained all my weight while trying to quit the habit. Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I had ever done. Loosing weight is proving to be more of a challenge. But I agree moderation is the key. Active lifestyle is great. I know more of what doesn’t work than what works. That’s the challenge. Look forward to your food posts!

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