Saturday, May 27, 2006

fat people, food miles, vegetarian week....

Brew of the day: Nettle Tea…great for weight loss.

Happy Birthday Mum

Raising my cuppa this morning to my absolutely gorgeous, one-of-a-kind mum! Happy Birthday Angelika!! Don’t fret, I won’t tell the world how young you are…. even though you made me drink fresh nettle tea as a kid.

Hide your fat kids ~ Nanny Blair wants them!

The UK’s Department of Health will be measuring your kids at ages four and ten to check them for ‘fatness’. You’ll then be told the results of these ‘tests’ and WARNED of the implications of obesity. The government, you see, aren’t actually ‘concerned’ for your children...they’re concerned for their NHS bill when your kids become adults and have all sorts of health issues.

There are a few things that concern me about Nanny Blair’s testing of children for weight. First and foremost is the bullying by the children who aren’t overweight. Secondly, it again assumes the government is the expert on children, rather than parents. I believe that parents are fully responsible for their children’s diets.
Mostly, though, it seems to me there is a misunderstanding of weight.

Our weight at any given time is a reflection of our ‘wholeness’. It isn’t a separate issue to the rest of us and therefore shouldn’t be treated in isolation. We need to look at weight as being symptomatic of imbalances within the body. This might be in the form of liver disease, thyroid problems, emotions, glandular, elimination system, skin, lungs, poor sleep patterns, colon, blood or many other things.

For example, in my own life, I’m four stone heavier than I was in 2000. (glad I’ve got photos of back then to remind me!) At the time I ate an exclusively vegan raw food diet so it was inevitable I’d not be ‘chunky’ around the bones. The only other time when I’ve been that slim was when I’d lived in a really humid place where I drank a lot of water and didn’t have a car so walked ‘everywhere’.

In 2005 I rapidly put on weight through a combination of ‘comfort’ eating well after my evening meal, and sitting for hours on the computer each night to do the magazine.

Once we got that crappy old year over and done with and I decided to consciously ‘lose weight’, I was shocked that it refused to budge (not even an insy tinsy tiny weeny nano-quarter of a pound)...despite brisk walking, daily rebounding, changes in night-time eating, etc. With the diet we eat there really is no excuse to be overweight. I truly couldn’t understand why the ‘rolls’ were clinging so desperately to me...while my 'thin' friends could eat chocolate by the crate.

And then, bit by bit, I realised that my liver was not functioning adequately and this manifested in various ‘symptoms’ ~

* stubborn weight

* horrid PMT (I assumed because my periods were as regular as the moon that my hormones were fine, but alas, for the past year *Monster Woman* emerged about week three of every cycle.) In all my years of 'cycling' I'd never experienced any menstrual 'symptoms' or PMT. Anyone who has experienced PMT (or PMS in the States) will know how debilitating it is to have a second personality ‘come through’ like this. Let me assure you girls, there is hope!! (See below for my new-found friend Maca)

* a rash of pimples around my chin each month ( for a girl who didn’t even get pimples as a teenager and who doesn’t eat ‘sweets’ or live off chocolate bars and sugar, this was all a bit of a shock)

* life-deadening fatigue where I spent about three days in bed recently, unable to get up and put one foot in front of the other.

Once I’d made the *connection* (a light bulb moment) I was able to do something positive about it. All the pointers were to my liver, but given I haven't drunk alcohol to any degree for about two decades, I kept dismissing it.

My liver, bless it, was overtaxed from rather industrial strengths of painkillers I’d taken for all those years of back pain (when the doctor said there was ‘nothing’ wrong with my back). Had a feeling it might catch up with me in some form. After all, you can’t keep taking double strength pain killers indefinitely.

Fortunately the liver is very forgiving and can be nourished back to health. Did you know you can cut away 80% of the liver and it will re-grow? And that the cells of the liver completely replace themselves every six weeks?

Now I’m free of back pain through chiropractic care, I hope to not ever need pain relief again. I am now free of any PMT grumpiness (and pimples!!) thanks to Maca…a natural product which I’m taking daily in my morning smoothy.

It is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron, and contains trace minerals, including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese and silica, as well as B vitamins. It also contains four alkaloids proven in scientific investigation to nourish the endocrine glands, including the reproductive system of men and women. Maca is a member of the radish family (cruciferae).

I order mine from It’s worth its weight in gold, is completely natural and has no side effects. Also considered nature’s Viagra, should you need it. (for men and women!!)

I also take a tincture of milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion to nourish, cleanse and heal my liver…so I’m trusting now that my body will find its natural weight again. My energy levels have upped and I feel great. This week I went back to an all raw (vegan) diet and the weight is starting to drop off. I’m also spontaneously waking up a couple of hours earlier and, unheard of, actually getting out of bed before Paul. Seems rather weird to see him ‘sleeping in’. Lazy git!

Inevitably I’ve been thinking about livers a lot. Mostly in relation to all the shit we pump into kids today in the name of ‘good medicine’ aka vaccinations, antibiotics, Calpol every time a baby cuts a tooth. The body has to put it somewhere doesn’t it? The liver is the obvious place. And what about kids who drink poison, like Coke, each day? Sure as heck the liver is choking on it....

Many people have been raised by parents with no knowledge of nutrition other than the outdated and defunct ‘four food groups’. And most people certainly won’t know what’s below the iceberg of their weight ‘symptoms’. If we’re honest, most doctors have no more knowledge of nutrition than the average person on the street. I’ve heard of people going to the doctor because of weight problems and coming away with a prescription for an anti-depressant. Nothing like a band-aid that’s gonna give a doctor a little earner.

So where does Joe Blow get reliable, honest and accurate information from? God help us if it is from the government!

What I do know is that you can’t find health in processed foods or a sedentary lifestyle. In our rich and affluent first world, we suffer from malnutrition. Yes, you read that right! Our food is EMPTY food. It may be high in energy or calories but rarely is it high in nutrition. How do we expect to prevent disease when we routinely eat ‘empty food’?

A while back the government introduced the Five A Day promotion. It turns out most people aren’t taking a blind bit of notice. One in five people refuse to eat any fruit and vegetables at all. For the 74% who are trying to eat more, the average consumption is 3.7 portions. Of the £34 a week people spend on food (per person), only £1.82 is spent on fruit and vegetables. The mind boggles. What the hell are people eating then?

What we need:

We don’t need Nanny Blair weighing our kids and we certainly don’t need the ‘fat’ ones pulled out of class to be weighed. What on earth will that do for their self-esteem? And we certainly don’t need them being sent home with ‘test results’. One more judgement to batter them over the heads with.

What we need is a total ban on junk food advertising and real education about living foods. The following website encourages ads on TV telling kids to take a fruit break.

The You are what you eat TV programme is highlighting the obese in our country, but the trouble is that it sensationalises the fat people and what their poos look like. It doesn’t actually show people how to prepare healthy, life-giving food. I don’t think it really excites people to make full-on lifestyle changes.

We really need someone bright, wonderful and vibrant and bubbling with enthusiasm (sorry, Gillian M doesn’t look that vibrant to me) on the television showing families how to make scrumptious life-affirming meals using LIVING foods, and then telling them how to use that new found energy into finding enjoyable exercise. People need to know that natural healthy foods not only look great but taste great. They need to be MOVED off their seats and completely inspired.
In a country of meat and three veg (no doubt including memories of boiled-to-death cabbage) it is no wonder people are scared of vegetables. I love cabbage best when finely shredded and marinated for half an hour in a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Simple, but incredibly satisfying. Eliza, at eight, adores this and we fight over who’ll get the most from the salad bowl. My girls LOVE broccoli and Brussel sprouts. They beg me to buy them...right up there alongside iceberg lettuce. Why should this be unusual?

What always strikes me is that kids will eat what they’re routinely given. We, as parents, set up the habits. Raise them on crap and that’s what they’ll expect. I’m often intrigued when at friends’ houses to see the processed stuff their kids are ‘allowed’ to eat as a main meal. To be honest, most kids will eat crisps etc., if they’re given to them. If you want healthy kids, you’ve got to give them healthy options. Healthy food doesn’t have to mean deprivation or starvation. It is about education and re-adjusting taste buds if they’ve been conditioned to excessive fat, salt and sugar. I was at a friend’s house the other day and was shocked to hear her kids NEVER drink water. You simply don’t get hydrated or nourish your cells from cow’s milk, cordial or Nestle’s chocolate drinks.

This week the girls and I made assorted ‘dehydrated’ crackers using various seeds. We use ground up seeds with lemon or orange juice and vegetables/spices, depending on if they were sweet or savoury, and then ‘dried’ them at a low temperature in a dehydrator. They love them. They don’t feel deprived. Bethany and Eliza are as happy eating dried fruit or olives as other kids are eating chocolate.

They KNOW which food choices are good for them and which aren’t. They also know that they don’t have to follow my food choices now they’re older, either, and yet they continue to because they’ve been well educated.


Did we have obese kids before the advent of junk food and television? Rarely. But back then we didn’t usually have ‘working mums’ either, did we? Mums were home to cook the family meal. They were there to socialise with their kids. Today our government (and society) encourages us to go out to work. Of course, when we do that we are too tired to come home and make a proper meal; to sit down and eat as a family and to take exercise together. Mums are exhausted. No wonder they pick up a pizza and everyone blobs in front of telly. Who can blame them? It’s easier!

If you are looking for an inspiring story of holistic weight loss you’ll find loads if you type ‘raw food’ into google. Here’s one to start you off
This beautiful lady was 20 stone and is now 9 stone 9lb. Bless her!

Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine And Thy Medicine Be Thy Food
-- Hippocrates, Father of Medicine 460-377 BC

National Vegetarian Week

Apparently, it is sexy to eat your greens now. Never mind that my husband and I have been eating this way for more than thirty years! All credit to the vegetarian groups though for using celebs to promote the cause. Whatever works, hey?

In a celeb focussed society, people tend to take notice of what they have to say.

Although vegetarianism isn’t seen as so radical and cranky as when I was growing up, it is unfortunate that many vegetarians simply replace their meat, fish and poultry with cheese and eggs. Ethics aside, these are still full of animal fat, and it isn’t the path to good health. It’s tempting when breaking away from the meat habit to look to meat substitutes. Trouble is, health isn’t found there, tasty as they might be.

I’ve met vegans who don’t even touch fruit and vegetables, but instead live off coke (sugar is from a plant isn’t it?) and donuts (Flour = wheat, jam = fruit)…plant based, hey?

One of the many benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, is that of our planet’s ecology.
By giving up animal based foods ONE person can save a million gallons of water a year. That is a phenomenal amount of water saving. Imagine a country of sixty million people cutting out animal products? And did you know that a single hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles and enough water for 17 showers. One bloody hamburger! In the mouth for maybe two minutes maximum …and they say humans are intelligent?!

Eighty-seven percent of agricultural land use in the USA is for raising animals for meat for human consumption. In order to create space for raising animals our rainforests (which supply 60-80% of the world’s oxygen) are destroyed at a rate of 125 000 square miles per year. Your quarter-pound fast food burger requires 55 square feet of rainforest land to be cleared. A typical pig factory farm generates a quantity of raw waste equal to that of a city of 12 000 people!

It isn’t not rocket-science to see that animal-based diets are not sustainable.

Some chap in the UK is starting a crocodile farm as a ‘sustainable’ alternative to other meats. Dead proud of himself, this chap. Have I missed something? Since when are crocodiles native to the UK? How much is it going to cost to keep these little fellas warm? Heating crocodiles is NOT sustainable. It requires electricity. And when a radio announcer asked him what the crocs eat, he said ‘leftovers’ from abattoirs and ‘fillers’ etc. Mad Crocodile Disease...coming to a menu near you!

Food Miles

The trouble with raising your children with conscience is that everything that passes your lips is scrutinised to the last mouthful. The girls won’t let me buy rice now…and our beloved rice milk is about to be replaced by a DIY oat milk…once we find a locally grown source of oats we’ll be soaking, then sieving! Thanks girls. Clearly, in their eyes, I don’t have enough to do in the kitchen ~ or in my life.

Food miles are simply everywhere in the kitchen aren’t they? Even when I get as much organic locally grown veg as I can, there is still the spice shelf to induce guilt; the olive oil and various other tasty treats to have me constantly questioning every meal. Bit by bit we’re making changes and choices but clearly I’m living in the wrong country for my dietary preferences.

Often someone may think that they are buying local potatoes or milk, for example, not realising that it may have been packed and transported many miles away at a central depot and then brought back to be sold as ‘local’ food.
When we buy ‘processed’ foods with a number of ingredients, we forget that each ingredient will have travelled from factory to factory before getting into the final processed product and then being transported again to the shops.
An astonishing 95% of the fruit and 50% of the vegetables in the UK are imported. Enough to make an eco-caring girl lose her appetite.

I received the following letter during the week…if you’re interested, give Amanda a call/email.

Meanwhile, have a fabulous week! I intend to. ~ Veronika ~

Dear Veronika -

Please allow me to introduce myself. I work for Michael Hoff Productions, an award winning television production company based in the San Francisco area here in the US. We are currently producing a program for a national television network, profiling the stories of extraordinary parents and their families. This is an entirely positive, non-sensationalizing series offering loving parents an opportunity to say in their own words why they believe deeply in the lifestyle-health-wellbeing choices they are making, as well as a chance to show their very positive family dynamics in action, right in the home. It is NOT a program intended to expose child abuse, negative parenting or neglect of any kind.

Your dedication to the health and parent-child bonding benefits of breastfeeding and allowing children to wean themselves was brought to my attention. I understand from your wonderful website that both your girls have at this point weaned, but I was wondering if you perhaps knew of any other happy, healthy families who might be interested in participating in our program. We would be interested in profiling parents with children over the age of six or higher whose child has not yet initiated the weaning process. Again, I cannot reiterate enough the network's wish to showcase exceptional families-lifestyle choices in the most respectful way imaginable.

I am grateful for any suggestions you might have, as well as any appropriate contact information you might be able to provide. In addition, please feel free to contact me at the office listed below. For more information on my company, please also visit our website,

Thank you so much for your consideration - I am truly grateful for your help in reaching out to your community.


Amanda Gronich
Michael Hoff Productions
5900 Hollis Street / Ste. O
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 597-9645

1 comment:

jood said...

love your words...great to know you are out there - and not too far away either..i am just a county below you..
love and hugs