Ask a Question (It Might Just Change Things)

Forgive me. This is going to be one of the posts that involves a little toot of horn-blowing. I mean I don’t want to boast or anything, but this morning I had small triumph.

This was a simple win arising out of very little effort on my part, just thought and action. It began with an afternoon pick up at pre-school. “Do you mind if Miss 4 takes home one of these cookies? We baked them today with the kids.” I felt too mean saying no, so I said yes. As we left, I nibbled a small corner off the cookie to give it a try and it tasted like it was about 70% sugar.

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As we walked home and the cookie was voraciously devoured I watched her become more and more excitable and then emotional knowing full-well that the cookie was the major cause of the behaviour. Sugar-high, then sugar-low, just like clockwork.

If you’ve watched That Sugar Film made by my infinitely talented friend Damon Gameau (you can see the trailer here) you’d know that sugar is one of those insidious aspect of our modern diet that is sabotaging us and our wellbeing, often without our knowledge. Especially here in the UK there seems precious little understanding and education on this subject (though it is enough of a concern for the public medical service to have a fact sheet on its ills). The main premise of the film is in fact that we inadvertently consume much of our sugar within perceived health foods.

Without going to go into vast detail, you can read an article in the Guardian here that will get you started on the concerns around sugar as put forward in Damon’s film.

So on arriving home I wrote a slightly tersely-worded email outlining my concerns at both the timing of the sugar-hit as parents collected their kids right before dinner, as well as the high sugar content of the treat. I suggested that the carers take a look at the film and educate themselves on the way sugar works in the body and alternative ways to look at sugar in the diet.

And well, what do you know, it worked. One of the co-directors not only watched the movie but soon after adopted a completely sugar-free diet in the wake of some severe migraines that had been taking her out the week prior. She is now spear-heading some major changes in the way the kids at the nursery (aged 6 months to 4.5 years) are being fed and educated. I’m pleased as pie: that’s sugar-free pie of course.

So basically one email with a few questions and a couple of suggestions has made a potentially massive difference for about 40 little kids. I’m hoping that there might be an additional filter-through wave of ideas to parents and carers now that the nursery staff have joined the conversation.

Next challenge – find a way to talk to the teenager’s Rugby Club about the volunteers and their massive lolly-table that is rolled out after games. When I made casual comments around the amount of sugar laid out on the table last weekend I was told with big smiles, “…well you have to give the boys a treat, otherwise they wouldn’t come out and play every Sunday.”

Really, though? Hmmm…

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