Just finished “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano, which I had been meaning to read since it came out. I really liked it, it’s all about enjoying food and taking pleasure in what you eat, and it’s certainly not a preachy diet book. It’s not really a diet book at all (not that I was expecting one) but rather an explanation of French culture’s relationship to food. She explains that French women practice moderation, eating smaller portions of rich foods but balancing them out with an overall healthy diet.
And then I read this essay in the NY Times, “Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children’s Diets”, where the author asserts that schools and the government have now taken on the role of ‘food police’ in school lunch reforms, etc, which is probably worse for the kids in the long run. She says:
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself. That is, our twin fears of fat and food, and the consequent distortions in the way we feed ourselves and our children, will damage us far more than a bowl of ice cream every now and again….So serve another slice of pizza. Bring on the chocolate cupcakes. Dish up the broccoli soup and burritos, the strawberries and cheesecake. Give kids more time to run around and play, and also more time to eat. Teach them about the joys of food, not the terrors. And maybe they’ll grow up less ambivalent and healthier than we are.”
Basically, these two authors have realized that Americans are pretty stupid sometimes, when it comes to food that is. We tend to eat on the go, eat packaged foods and pre-made meals because we’re too lazy to cook…and then we freak out when our kids are fat! I mean, if people just thought logically and realized those afternoon snacks of McD’s fries and dinners of Kraft mac n’ cheese will add up eventually, then we wouldn’t have the so-called obesity epidemic. Moderation is the key: eat healthily the majority of the time but don’t feel bad if you want to go to the ice cream stand once in awhile!