TODAY IS FOOD REVOLUTION DAY 2015!
“We’re talkin’ bout a revolution”: Tracy Chapman’s timeless ballad always sends shivers down my spine. Somehow when she laments on the word ‘revolution’ in her unmistakeable voice it has a greater impact. And while she is focusing on a revolution of a different nature to the one I’m writing about today, this one right here is no less important and it effects every, single person on the planet (not to mention the planet itself!)
This revolution involves our collective health, our food, the food industry, food education for children & adults alike and the decisions that we make about the health & wellness of our own bodies based upon the knowledge that we have access to.
In my work as a health and wellness specialist, coaching everyone from stressed executives in Hong Kong, to music bods in London, and busy mothers the world over, one of my most prolific phrases must be, “we really should be taught this stuff at school”! And we should – no question. We should leave school with a basic knowledge of what nutrition is, how we assimilate nutrients from food in our bodies, what real food is, where it comes from, how to grow, prepare and cook these foods, and what happens to our bodies when we fail to make good choices about what we eat and how we live.
One person is known globally, not only as a celebrity chef with an astounding following, but also for the fact that he is using his unmistakeable voice to shout from the rooftops that this situation has to change – Jamie Oliver! He started the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution (JOFR) and is raising awareness of this amazing cause along with his JOFR Ambassadors around the world, including myself here in Hong Kong, as we march united in one belief,
“that it is every child’s human right to have access to food education from a young age. It’s only with this knowledge and understanding of food, where it comes from, how it affects their bodies, and how to grow, cook and enjoy it, that we will be able to fix the terrible state of global health as it stands today”. Jamie Oliver.
But why should we care? What’s wrong with the status quo?
- 42 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese around the world in 2013.
- Kids as young as 8 years old are being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, which used to be a disease for people over the age of 40.
- In most countries around the world diet-related disease kills more people than it ever has done before.
[Statistics taken from JOFR research]
It is a child’s human right to have access to knowledge that will empower them to care for their own bodies though making the right choices. And we, as the adults in the situation, have the responsibility to make this happen.
So what can you do, TODAY, on Food Revolution Day 2015?
1) Sign the JOFR petition: “to fight for compulsory, practical food education for all children in schools across the world” https://www.change.org/p/jamie-oliver-needs-your-help-fighting-for-food-education-foodrevolutionday
2) Share the petition on social media
3) Join our JOFR Hong Kong Facebook Group to get behind the cause locally: https://www.facebook.com/foodrevolutionhongkong?ref=hl
4) Contact your local school to ask what they are doing to make a change.
5) Act to take care of your own health and wellness and be a good example to the children in your life. They learn from us, emulate us and eventually take on our habits, good or bad, making those habits their own. Be a good example – start the revolution in your household!
“I simply want every child to plant seeds, to witness food growing, to tend to it, nurture it, harvest it, have fun cooking it, and most importantly, to enjoy eating it and sharing it with the people they love. This is absolutely the heart of the solution – food education is a complete necessity in reversing the poor health of future generations” Jamie Oliver.
For more information you can access the JOFR directly: http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/
And to arrange a ReBalance Consultation to start your own personal revolution and ‘be the change you want to see in the world’, contact ‘Rowena Hunt – Health & Wellness’: https://www.rowenahunt.com/
Today I received this question on a Facebook Post:
What is gluten and why would you want to NOT eat it?
I think my answer could be useful to others, so here it is:
Gluten is a protein composite (made up of two different proteins) that is present in the endosperm of cereal grains including wheat (such as common wheat, spelt, durum, etc.) and in a slightly differing form in some other grains such as rye and barley. It can be found in the whole grain, the processed grain and in many surprising places like beer, soy sauce, imitation meats, ice cream; the list is endless. Gluten is like the ‘glue’ that makes bread doughs elastic and chewy.
Reasons that some people choose to not eat gluten, in order of severity and in my opinion:
1) You have coeliac disease, an auto immune disease where the presence of gluten literally causes attacks on your small intestine. Coeliac sufferers can become very ill, lose weight, their digestive system can’t absorb nutrition effectively and they need to avoid all gluten even in tiny amounts.
2) You have a genuine diagnosed wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity/intolerance. These are often lumped together but are scientifically different. Symptoms can include many things such as bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, diarrhoea, constipation, muscular disturbances, headaches, migraines, severe acne, eczema, fatigue, and bone or joint pain, and for the wheat allergy symptoms can come up as all kinds of other allergic responses. Testing is still a little controversial and conducting a structured ‘food elimination plan’ to eliminate other food types as additional potential protagonists can be useful indeed.
3) You have noticed that you get bloated after eating bread, you are grumpy after pizza, or you get headaches after your morning shredded wheat – you may be a little gluten ‘intolerant’. Again a ‘food elimination plan’ can help to find the root cause. This is not necessarily ‘diagnosed’ but some people who have suffered for years with bloating & tiredness after meals, or even IBS (irritable bowl syndrome) can show significant improvement by avoiding gluten products most of the time.
4) Like me, you are not intolerant of gluten but you have an issue with the genetically modified (GMO) farming process in which wheat becomes a Franken-grain with the amount of chemicals and pesticides that are now part of the seed itself. You consider that research is in its infancy and would rather not take the risk so often avoid wheat products, among other things, to avoid the chemicals used in industrial farming. (If this interests you, watch the movie GMO OMG). However, this is not specific to gluten or grains and applies across the board to many non-organic products, especially with processed foods and even if they are not processed.
5) You are a sucker for fad diets and think that ‘gluten-free’ means ‘healthy’. Gluten Free labelling has become the new ‘Low Fat’ that food marketing companies are using to suggest a particular processed food (i.e. anything with an ingredients list) is healthy when often it is full of tons of other processed rubbish, even in the loudly declared absence of gluten.
In summary and in answer to the initial question, there are a variety of reasons to consider avoiding gluten, but eating gluten-free does not mean healthy and this is the mistake that is often made thanks to clever marketing. I hope this rundown helps, allowing for brevity and my comparatively limited scientific knowledge.
For those with coeliac disease gluten can be truly life-threatening and for some non-coeliac people (my hubby included) gluten can cause genuine issues and it is sometimes best avoided.
For the rest of us, whether you choose to consume gluten or not, choose real food, choose whole food and choose organic food whenever possible. Consider where the food came from and what it is or what it was – do you even know? And most important of all, if you are buying processed food, READ THE INGREDIENTS! Do you know what they all are? Ask yourself, are they even food…?
Food for thought! 🙂
We went to Disney Hong Kong this week…
Have you ever noticed when you go to a big theme park that you get that ‘smacked round the head with a hammer’ tiredness and brain fog towards the end of the day? We always find the walk back to the car is exhausting and we’re all totally wiped out.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to read that we have always been careful what we eat at Disney, choosing the veggie options to avoid chemical-laden meats and buying the corn on the cob at snack stalls, but STILL we had a suspicion it was the food causing us to hit an energy wall and spoil our afternoon. But can low quality food on one single day really have such an effect? I also thought our observations could be down to sheer overstimulation from the lights, noise and general ‘Disneyness’ of the place
And so my hubby (Ross) and I have done a Disney experiment:
Ross took Bea to Disney a few weeks ago and I took her yesterday (half term!) and we both took a picnic loaded with all the foods we usually eat at home, including plenty of our favourite snacks. We ate ZERO Disney food.
The results? On both occasions we had no brain fog, no physical tiredness, no hammer-to-the-head exhaustion on the walk back to the car. And Bea didn’t need a nap yesterday which she always has previously at Disney, she didn’t get cranky at all and ran around all afternoon!
Our personal conclusion? It just shows that over-processed, packaged, mass produced, non-organic GM foods, sent miles to be served to the theme park masses have a hugely negative impact on your body.
But does it really matter? Surely one day of ‘treats’ is ok…..! Well yes, I’m sure it could be, but I can tell you for certain that Bea and I had a MUCH better time and for MUCH longer than usual. That’s all…
…Food for thought xx
(This ‘Disney Experiment’ post was received with such interest and generated so many comments on my FB page that I decided I should add it to my blog for the wider audience. Happy reading and feel free to look me up on FB: https://www.facebook.com/rowena.hunt.health)