Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello you readers!

Welcome to my world of discoveries of the absurdities in the food chain. I am not actively writing here anymore because I kind of understood the greater picture and moved on. Now I am working full time on making food based on real ingredients, give classes on how to bake without sugar, milk products and gluten, raise three (!) children (instead of only two as when I started this blog), make real baby food and keep my own production going... and then of course, what gives me my intellectual kicks: write a thesis on sustainability and conflicts.

I am also involved in the Slow Food movement, and in that local group we are working on a plan of how to revolutionize school and daycare food in the nearby municipalities! :-)

So there, not much time for this blog anymore. But the archives might be very useful, please be my guest and stroll around as you please!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Parents and (ab)normality when it comes to food

Every fall the discussion on daycare food flares up in media. Since I started to care, it has become more intense every year and each year more parents join the battle. Right now the Finnish daycare parents are starting to wake up about the crap that is being served to their children, it is not only about the sugar but also the additives, the margarine, the food-like products that are nothing more than a cheap cover-up for the real thing; served to our children every day in kindergartens across the country. What surprises me the most is the reaction of other parents. It shouldn't really, I once was the target of the angry outcry of fellow parents myself. But still it does. You would think that when parents try to improve the food situation and daycare other parents who will equally benefit from these efforts would be supportive, or at least not try to destroy the efforts. But they do. Time and time again.

I ask myself why? Is it the feeling of not wanting to admit that the place that is taking care of their child does not necessary have the same nutritional standards as yourself? The feeling of not wanting to cause problem, everything seems so fine; the daycare personnel is reporting that your child is eating well, your child is growing and you see no reason to worry, so why start a conflict? When other parents start digging in the daycare food you become upset, not with what they find but with the fact that everything is maybe not alright and you just do not want to deal with the arising conflicts. Or is it because of what you yourself  are feeding your children: way to much artificial juices, sugary yogurts, sugary berry creams, ice creams and you have convinced yourself that the amount of sugar that your child is getting  through your own hands is completely harmless? So when somebody starts questioning those juices and those yogurts  it is not the fact that they are trying to improve the food that your child is getting while you are working that bothers you, but the feeling of guilt in yourself. You know sugar is bad for your child but without it your child will not eat at home. Or at least you think so. You have tricked yourself into believing that "a little bit" won't hurt. Now that these hysterical and crazy anti-sugar freaky parents start making a lot of noise you become just a tiny bit uncomfortable about your own choices in the food isles in the supermarkets. And so you react. You react not by doing what would be in the best interest of your child, supporting the efforts of getting them better food in daycare, but by attacking the other parents accusing them of being fanatic, crazy and out of control.

As long as these sugar-parents are the loudest nothing will change. Luckily everyday there are more parents that find sugar coated daycare institutions unacceptable. Soon, they are louder. By that time the parents who say "a little won't hurt" will have to revise their stand on what they mean by "a little". Soon normal is something else than the normal of the past. I have hope. I see change coming. Keep on fighting parents!  Dare to speak up! Dare making noise at those parents' meeting coming up soon at your daycare. It is in everyone's interest!Together we can make a difference in our children's current well-being and future health! Let's make real and organic food the norm in every place where children are served food in this country!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sugar is hot stuff!

Now we are talking! Sugar is no longer only hot stuff out in the food isles... people have started to react to the absurdity of us consuming so much sugar, often without even knowing about it.

Here are some updates.

Today there was a long program on Finnish state owned channel YLE5 about the hidden sugar. Ann Fernholm, the Swedish expert that I blogged about here (hell hour) and here (when tides turn), and who we invited to Vaasa not so long ago to a full house seminar in the old cinema, was one of the experts being interviewed about harms of sugar.

You can see the program here (in Swedish with Finnish subtitles):Det dolda sockret

Then there is this incredible couple that has set out to row from California to Hawaii to raise awareness about how sugar is killing us. You can support their cause here: Fat chance row. The good thing is that the guy is Finnish - so he will be getting a lot of media attention here. And we do need all the help we can get in debunking old myths about the fat free but high in sugar diet that the authorities are recommending to the people!

And here is a video clip on them:

And on their website, I found these youtube videos that I hadn't seen before:

First "Sugar is killing us":

 And then, how it affects the brain:

The other ones (CBS and Robert Lustig) have been referred to several times before on this blog.

In Finland we also have a new book that was released just the other day. It is called "the Food Pyramide Scam" (Ruokapyramidihuijaus). I haven't read the book yet, but looking forward to getting my hands on it. Maybe this is the book that makes the tides turn also in our country? At least you could hope so!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The paleo guidelines

I am no strict follower of any diet, my personality does not allow such thing. However, I find that our daily meal mostly resembles the paleo diet and I found this picture quite amusing. Here you have it all spelled out. Dairy products are not included in the chart, it might be because it is not clear where the paleo community stands on that one (some accept raw goat or cow milk, others do not) - or its just because there was not enough space for it on the chart.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas recipes

Christmas cake

5 eggs
180 g dates
1,5 dl water
0,5 dl raisins
1 dl fine chopped dates
0,5-1 dl handcrushed walnuts
1,5 dl coconut oil
1,5 dl almond flour
1 dl coconut flour
1,5 tsp baking powder
(some dried apricots/dried apples cut into small pieces)
1 tsk clove
1,5 tsk cardamom
2 tsk cinnamon

Whip the eggs with electric whisk until fluffy (not stiff as in merengue). Boil dates with water until the dates dissolve and mix with handmix until smooth. Add coconutoil to the dates and mix with the eggs. Mix all the dry ingredients together with the spices in a separate bowl before addid to the batch. Finally add the nuts and dried fruits. Bake in a baking dish greased with coconut oil (I use silicone) in 180-220 degrees celcius for aprox. 60 minutes (until the middle of the cake is stiff). Let cool before taking out of baking dish.

This cake just as the Chilean version that I mimicked (pan de pascua) has a tendency to fall apart. Do not dispair - it is supposed to be this way! :-)

The brown flowers next to the cake is this next recipe:

Christmas ice chocolate

200 g >70% chocolate
0,5 dl coconut oil
2 tsk cardamom
2 tsk cinnamon
1 dl quinoa puffs
10 hand crushed pecan nuts
4 apricots (cut into small pieces)

Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil (we have a chocolate fondue, otherwise in a bowl in water in a pot on the stove) Add the other ingredients. Let cool a bit before you add to silicone ice cube tin and place in fridge/freezer until stiff. Keep the chocolate in the fridge before you eat them, otherwise they might melt. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sweet dreams on holiday

We have been visiting family in Chile for a couple of weeks. I decided not to get to hung up on organic food while we are here. I know it is impossible to live as we do in Finland and instead I decided to enjoy every bite of good food without thinking of the source, the pesticides or the GMO ingredients in some of the food. In the middle of the winter I have indulged in fresh locally produced vegetables and fruits; hey it is summer here so you can imagine what that means as far as diversity goes! I have eaten my fair share of (cooked) seafood and fish, and a lot of fatty beef! As the days have gone by I have also let the kids try foods that they usually have to avoid in Finland. And strangely enough we have not noticed too bad side effects (makes me wonder once again - am I imagining, or is there something more to wheat and milk and the place where these are produced?).

I have tried to only drink bottled water but some days I have been too lazy (particularly in the night) and just had tap water. This does produce some concern, I knew they add chloride here and now I found out that also flouride is added. Not good for the baby I am carrying...

Another thing I have maybe been a little bit too loose on is herbal tea... Because of my holiday from strict diet, I have also had some digestive issues (too little good fiber and fat I think). So I drank some Boldo tea and boldo water a couple of days right when I got up. This is supposed to help digestion. Today I stopped by my herbal dealer in twon, thought I'd take some boldo and other herbs with me. Talking to the lady in the store I found out that as pregnant I should really not be drinking any herbal teas whatsoever. Uups... First maca, and now this. When we got home I googled boldo+embarazo and found out that very little is know of the effects, there are some scientists that mean that there is a connection to Parkison, and in huge amounts it is used as an abortive method (hey we are in Chile, where legal abortion is practically impossible....). Well, this one is still kicking, and I am not going to freak out about Parkisons when it grows old just because I drank a glass of tea three mornings while here... But I'll stay away from herbs from now on... One thing I will have to check is the effect of ginger on the baby. I have used this as a natural remedy before, together with garlic, and since I found this combination I have not needed any antibiotics again... but the lady at the store said something about ginger as well... so I will do some research!

Anyway, I think it does good to the body when the soul finds some rest from not stressing too much about the food around it. I have avoided gluten all the time, and most of the sugar, but for the rest, it has been a really nice holiday food-wise!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I am not alone anymore

I have for long been waiting for the big bang in Finland. Having followed the fat/carb debate in the country right next to us, I have been astonished by the silenced, or sometimes demonized, resistance to the state dietary recommendations at home. I have been frustrated to my ears (read this: What's eating my children?) over the bad daycare food, and the effect this is having on my own children, but often feeling completely alone in my observations. I have pondered my options (of opting out of the whole daycare/school lunching offering) and looked for allies to start a food revolution. But although there is a handful of allies, I have still felt terrible alone against the big giants: state dietary recommendations & the drive for industrial sized school kitchens - There is no way out of this has been my conclusion - just try to 'keep calm and carry on'. And so we did, we got the worst health villains out of our childrens' diet (gluten for one, dairy for the other) by a medical license and the kids started being healthy. I shut my eyes for all the potentially harmful additives that my kids now are getting instead of clean real food (when substituting gluten and dairy they fill the gap with industrially processed crap) and went on with my business. Have to say, it's been very nice to have four months straight of not one sick leave day this fall. Unheard of in my motherly working life until now.

Anyways, the struggle for better food for the children is still a priority for me although not as urgent as before. It helps that we now live in a municipality where sugar intake has been restricted (but instead they now order the schools and daycares to feed the kids with only margarine, no butter...). I am still very mad that while I am literally working my ass of to keep processed crap out of my children's body, the state education system is doing all it can to sabotage my efforts. Sometimes I think to myself what the point is of running around like a mad woman to get organic this and organic that for our dinner table, when the school and daycare lunching decisions are based on the cheapest alternative option (read: lost of fake food, additives, non-organic, non-local cheap ingredients). But I still continue, because I am convinced that good food at home still does make the difference for us. So when suddenly there are several Facebook-pages appearing on this very same topic (Laatua lasten lautasilleRavintotieteiset vanhemmat) and even plans to create a registered association that will drive the interest of 'nutrient aware parents', I feel overwhelmed by happiness. Finally! Not alone anymore! Reading through the posts and comments on these pages, I then realize that many other parents are going through the same agony as experienced in our family, some have found solutions, others are still struggling in the dark. The support you can feel from just one comment, one parent commenting that they have been experiencing something similar, it is just overwhelming! And so as this school semester is about to end, I start to have faith again: tides are turning also in Finland. And knowing the Finnish Sisu- spirit, I am more than convinced that these tides will be able to move mountains. Hooray for food conscious-parenting! We can maybe still change the world, and maybe one day our children don't have to eat, as Michael Pollan put it:  "...anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food".