Very proud to say our teenager is super wise beyond her years! Recently in her grade 8 health class they were presented with a video whose aim was to basically deligitamize “Supersize Me”. One multiple choice question asks kids (paraphrasing): what was the reason for health issues faced by Supersize Me’s character? a. Eating at McDonald’s b. Food choices c. Portion sizes
Guess what our kids are being taught! Answer is c !!! Needless to say, she knew this did not sound right. That…McDonald’s is okay as long as you watch your portion sizes! And I have a number of serious issues with this “educational” material. Yes, portions sizes are very VERY important for us all to be mindful of for good health. However:
1. A McDonald’s diet is by no means something that requires encouragement!
2. When kids’ growing bodies in their peak of puberty DO NOT get all the necessary nutrients (because they are on a McD diet) their body’s WILL crave!!!
3. To put the onus on their malnourished bodies’ willpower to control cravings (hence portion sizes) is a sure fire way of setting kids up for life long issues around food!
4. If the goal of the educational material is to encourage kids to learn portion control, could that lesson not have been taught by teaching kids about it through wholesome homemade meals?
5. All you are ultimately teaching is, continue eating all that “junk” but if you don’t want to gain weight, if you don’t want your blood markers to get all whacky and out of control, just have a portion controlled salad (because McD’s now has “healthy choices”).
Also, balance is good. And I’m all for occasional indulgence but as in all things good health requires moderation. The teenagers in the movie however were eating a diet made up 100% of McDonald’s while watching their portion sizes and counting calories. And they claimed to have been feeling well, felt healthy and were maintaining their weight. But what about nutrients? Vitamins and Minerals? The essential building blocks of our bodies. What about the fats and proteins that help with brain power, that help stabilize sugars and hence moods, energy levels AND focus?
Calorie counting and portion control do not make for a healthy diet. Also, calorie counting has long been outdated and not at all recommended -especially for teens and their growing bodies!
However, saying all this I realize I’m preaching to the choir. When Canada’s food guide has been outdated for decades, this is a battle that can only be fought by each of us doing our own work in educating ourselves. The Food Industry is too big of giant to pick a fight with
Now, what’s so wrong with Canada’s food guide? That’s a whole other story to be discussed in my next post . . .
And pictured here is her smoothie preparation so that she can down a shot of a disgustingly bitter herbal tincture. Real life challenges of living with a Naturopath! 😀
Yours In Health,
P.S. I should also mention that yes, perhaps Supersize Me’s message was exaggerated, however regardless of all its criticisms, it DID result in many nutrient deplete fast food giants to alter their menu and THAT is an awesome outcome! As well, this is no criticism of Supersize Me’s critics or a criticism of the film that was shown; it is a criticism of our educational system failing to provide sensible nutrition education to vulnerable and impressionable teens.
P.P.S. Now, this isn’t a post picking on McD’s, The kids could have just as well been going to Burger King or Starbucks or any other ‘fast food’ chain. Point is, there’s a huge gap in nutrition education concerning nourishing WHOLE foods.