Hello July! The 8th month of our project flew by and summer is officially here.
July’s my favourite month of the year. Victoria, Jefferson and I all share July birthdays – add Canada Day, Independence Day and Adam & my wedding anniversary, and our household should really take the full month off. 😉
June brought birthday celebrations, end of school events and as always, a fair share of unexpected learning!
Here’s what stood out to us last month.
June brought 6 birthday parties, including one for Jefferson. No sugar or processed foods has become our routine and his birthday party was no different. And surprise, surprise, it was still a hit. We had plenty of whole foods and fun activities for kids; you’re average kids party, sans sugar/processed foods. This year I ordered cupcakes from Real Food Made Easy and the wonderful Janice Mansfield. She makes a variety of gluten free whole foods, including no refined sugar options. If you live or visit Vancouver Island and ever need gluten free & whole food meals or desserts catered, Janice’s creations are truly outstanding.
Jefferson’s birthday (along with several other kids’ functions we attended where whole foods were on offer) reminded us that no one, kids or adults alike, miss processed foods when they aren’t present. If kids aren’t surrounded by processed foods, they don’t notice. Surround kids with processed foods and they’ll consume them. It’s not rocket science. If we clean up our modern food environment, our kids’ health will thrive and no one will miss out… except perhaps corporate interests.
This month I’ve taken interest in helping my mom and dad cook and bake. My favorite activity of recent? Helping my dad make Chia Seed Jam… aka my new favorite food.
It’s official. I’ve swapped sugar for fish. Yup. This month’s favorite ‘treat’ is a step up from donuts and processed energy bars, yet still ‘fast food’. My new go-to pick-me-up snack is a can of sockeye salmon mixed with blueberries, diced green onion & coloured peppers, and macadamia nut oil. I don’t know what it is about this mix but I look forward to it and keep the ingredients on hand at my office. Give it a try!
Another learning for me this month has been figuring out a better method of owning our project and lifestyle, while not alienating friends or acquaintances at social functions. Sharing food is a powerful connector and sometimes opting out of shared food or beverages creates a rift, if ever so small, but present. In these scenarios, I’ve found a little extra effort goes a long way; extending a warm smile or making a point to quickly find common ground through conversation vs. food, helps create connection and dissipate any feelings of distance. It’s been a helpful realization that I see as a win-win. I can eat well and maintain connection in social settings.
It’s been a busy past few weeks for our business, and we’re also house hunting in a crazy housing market, which has consumed much of my time. Just as I was feeling overwhelmed and behind on sharing our project learnings, three things happened in the span of a week that refuelled my focus on our project.
First, the Candy Palmeter show from CBC Radio was in touch to ask if they could feature our project on their show. My interview with Candy reminded me that there are so many people interested in reducing their sugar intake and who recognize the need for a shift in our modern food environment. It was a pleasure connecting with Candy and her audience.
Shortly after, Jill Eisen’s radio documentary, Fat & Sugar, aired on CBC’s Ideas. The 2 part documentary provides an excellent summary of the status of knowledge on dietary fat and sugar and how each affects our wellbeing. I’m hopeful that increasing media coverage like this on the topic of sugar and processed foods will prompt government to take action to clean up our food environment. A Canadian Senate Committee Report was released in February, Obesity In Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach to a Healthier Canada, outlined 21 Policy Recommendations to better the food landscape in Canada. While no action has yet been taken, it seems that interest on the topic is steadily mounting. I think the time has come to finally acknowledge the need to mitigate the impact of processed foods on the health of Canadians.
Finally, and most exciting, I’m working with a group of health professionals on Vancouver Island who are putting together a workshop for schools to explore sustainable ways to better school food environments. I see schools as a perfect opportunity to teach and model the wonders of whole foods; how real food sustains their health and support their best learning and daily wellbeing.
Imagine the impact on student learning and child development if whole food offerings became the norm in schools environments? And imagine the leaps and bounds we’d see in student’s performance, not to mention behaviour. I see it much like teaching recycling to kids in the 80s or that smoking was harmful to health; normalizing whole foods in school environments could have huge ripple effects throughout our communities.
That’s in from our end. I hope you’re all enjoying summer!