Why can't my kids eat normal food?

Guest article from psychologist Tracy Gaze


My thought for today: we so often think "why can't my kids eat normal food?", but perhaps we should reframe our perception from a change in our children to that of a change in our food ...

"why should our kids be able to eat all of this abnormal food?"

To be fair, some have very severe restrictions. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the many who need to stay moderate-high Failsafe and so can't eat 'normally' with 'everyone else'.

Most of us have probably got the "additive-laden food is not normal food" thing sorted by now. When I was a child in the 1970s, many of these additives had not even been invented or were at least not widely used. Having a low tolerance for things not previously in our food, or at least not in high amounts since some have been around in one form or another for centuries (eg saltpetre), doesn't seem odd at all.

But what about the rest of it?

Ethnicity and traditional foods is a factor, but again, if I think back to my childhood:

  •     breakfast was eggs or oats, not fruit loops
  •     all our meat, from chicken to beef, was butchered at home and either eaten or frozen fresh; others got theirs fresh from the butcher
  •     fish was only if Dad went fishing; seafood was unavailable
  •     bread was from the bakery unless made by Nanna
  •     sauces were rare, perhaps the odd splash of Worcestershire on Dad's steak but soy sauce and miso and fish paste were unheard of, and tomato sauce was recent and used only occasionally
  •     mince meals were common, but tomato-based bolognese was not; nor was pizza
  •     tomatoes were limited to a slice on a sandwich, not a concentrate of many whole tomatoes in a puree
  •     fruits that didn't travel well weren't available; we had apples and oranges from time to time, the odd banana, small serves of relatively expensive tinned peaches, but that's about it (hey, we survived without multiple serves of the rainbow a day)
  •     vegetables were potatoes (low), pumpkin (moderate), carrot (moderate), green peas (moderate) and not much else; my Dad loved choko, and would get very excited when he got his hands on an avocado (I remember twice in a decade)
  •     cakes, biscuits, and slices were mostly the same ones I made for elimination, although sometimes with some cocoa
  •     lollies and chocolates and soft drink and treats were very rare, mostly small amounts at Easter and Christmas; there was not a birthday party every other week, nor was every birthday celebrated 3 times
  •     and none of us had access to any of the non-Failsafe superfoods that we have been told we need in order to be healthy and that it's so easy to be concerned about missing out on (e.g. coconut, agave, chia, stevia, kale, acai, fish oil, etc.).

Normal for everybody I grew up with was very nearly Failsafe.

Why should we be surprised that we haven't managed to develop a tolerance for a 10-100 fold increase in food chemicals in the space of one or two generations? - Tracy www.tgazepsychology.com