Cardboard cutouts of local GPs were recently used to promote the sale of fruit and vegetables in an English supermarket.
Nope. Sales rose by 20%.
It’s one of the ways in which supermarkets are ‘voluntarily’ engaging in the fight against childhood obesity. If it doesn’t work, the British government are threatening to legislate areas thought to be fueling the obesity epidemic – advertising, sugar, trans fat. (Are you thinking what I’m thinking? A similar campaign here might make sense? Featuring, say, the Irish rugby team? In sporty shorts? National policy? Just a suggestion … )
Now for the grim statistics. Here in Ireland 26% of 9 year olds are clinically overweight or obese. We have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. This is a healthcare crisis. And it threatens every single one of us. How? Because even if you or your children are not overweight, your taxes will go towards the cost of treating the diseases of obesity.
I’m so bored of lazy politicians pointing the finger at children and parents.
Yes, obesity is a “multi-factorial” problem that needs a “multi-factorial” solution, as certain right-wing politicians never tire of reminding us. But blaming the victim is a bit too rich for my stomach, given the government’s complicity in permitting the advertising of junk food all over our country.
Don’t you think?
We know that advertising influences kids’ food preferences, their pester power and their eating patterns. We know this! So how can we call ourselves a civilised society when we let industry manipulate our children’s thoughts? And meddle with the fate of our children’s health?
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has introduced some restrictions on advertising to children, but it needs our voices to press for much, much more. In Amsterdam, parents have taken to vandalising billboards aimed at brainwashing their children. Could it come to this?
I hope there will be a time when all of this seems like common sense. We will wonder how we ever allowed unscrupulous marketers access to our children.
In the meantime we should remind ourselves that it pays to be dubious about the claims made on behalf of ” healthy” convenience food. Most of the time they are no more nutritious than those cardboard cut-outs now littering English supermarkets.
Kiss bye-bye to those commercial breakfast bars. These flapjacks are cheaper to make and much tastier to nibble. They’ll even make the tailback traffic on the N11 enjoyable.
I found gluten-free sprouted oat flakes in my local health food store this week. They appear to be new on the market. Pure, unadulterated goodness (see photo below). But please don’t think gluten is bad for you – this one’s just for coeliac chicks.
200g / 1 cup Medjool dates, or pre-soaked regular dates
1 cup ground almonds
2 cups oats
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly broken
Handful of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes (adults only)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
125ml / 1/2 cup honey, brown rice syrup or barley malt extract (or agave for those on a lower glycemic count)
185ml / 3/4 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 170 Celsius / 325 Fahrenheit / 150 fan-assisted. Chop the dates and combine with the remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Using a saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil with your choice of natural sweetener for 2 minutes. Strangely, maple syrup doesn’t work. Sorry! It’s worth noting that brown rice and barley malt (contains gluten) are not nearly as sweet as honey.
Create a hole in the centre of your dry ingredients and add the sweetened coconut oil to the party. Mix until all the ingredients are glistening. Now you can scrape the flapjack mixture into a parchment-lined tin no bigger than a magazine page. Press down firmly with your fingers. Admire your brilliance.
Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden. Oats will turn bitter if you leave them to brown (agave syrup can accelerate this). Remove the tray from the oven. Carefully press down with your fingers once more, using a clean tea towel. Resist cutting until they have chilled and solidified in the fridge for a few hours. They’ll last for 2 weeks if stored in the fridge. 10 seconds if you leave them on the kitchen counter.