I have been mulling over which of my food hates to target this year. It’s not an easy decision. I have a few of them.
It’s not that I am a purist – hey I’m a great believer in fairy floss at a fete and I’ve even been known to stop at McDonalds for coffee at 6 am. But industrialised fake food deceptively marketed as real food sets me off on a rant. Real food is part of the cycle of life – biomass created by plants out of light and endlessly recycled, a miracle that as far as we know exists only on this one little planet.
Last year it was muesli bars, and though I shall keep on with the Muesli Bar Challenge this year (I’ve still got a pile of recipes), I’m looking for a new target.
My thought is breakfast cereals. The Parents Jury shames Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain with the top award for ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ advertising. I know what it is like to try to feed young Iron Men. From age 12 to 16, my son grew over half a metre, drank 2 litres of milk at a sitting, demolished a loaf of bread in a day. Which is why it is particularly galling to have boxes of mostly air, mixed with several names for sugar, a bit of starch and a concoction of chemicals, shifted around the country at great cost in greenhouse gases and marketed as food for young men whose bones and muscles are lengthening by the day.
I used to be a non-breakfast eater. I think it is common for women to develop the habit of getting up and just going so fast they don’t stop for breakfast till mid-morning, by which time blood sugars are so low you’re just ravenous for fast carbohydrates. I got away with it when I was spending all day being physically active. But these days I do too much computer work, and if I don’t eat breakfast my weight creeps up.
So that’s the Breakfast Challenge. The rules are petty similar to the Muesli Bar Challenge – the Challenger must be quick and easy enough that it is actually a feasible alternative to overpackaged, overpriced junk food marketed as “cereal”. It has to be within the limits of the Witches Kitchen version of healthy and ethical, which means lots of fresh fruit and vegetables locally in season,whole grains and not too much sugar or saturated fat. And since you have to actually eat food for it to be good for you, it has to taste test as better, not just better for you.