My vision

I have never regretted our decision to move to Spain.

I still remember our first months in Andalusia; it seemed as if a time machine had catapulted us from the future into the past. Also food-wise it was a drastic change.

In those times it was a challenge to find multigrain or seed bread. The only thing I could find were baguettes, white or brown. The remaining bread was the type which is packaged in plastic bags and is called here “pan Bimbo”. (I couldn’t word it any better: bread for bimbos). At the time we found it frustrating not to have a wide range to choose from. Meanwhile, I know better. In Spanish cuisine bread is (or rather, was) not a priority. Only in the morning, around 11:30, people eat a small toast with tomato and olive oil here. Now, 13 years later, the Spaniards are happy with their wide choice of bread and pastries. They percieve it as progress… but is it? Suddenly their traditional dishes are being replaced by bread. Why? Out of laziness?

Before, mothers (or cohabiting grandmothers) stayed home and took care of the children, the household and the rest of the resident family. They cooked a fresh meal at least twice a day, with seasonal vegetables. Out of necessity however, nowadays both parents go out to work and quite often one of those meals is left out and entirely replaced by bread.

Is this progress? Questionable, I would say.

 

Prosperity and technology are evolving at a tremendous pace with all of us chasing behind. Nowadays, everything is scheduled. We have almost become one with our clocks.

In all our haste, we forget to think about what is really important. Food should again become our main priority. What and how we eat, fuels our bodies: not only our muscles but also the brain and immune system. We trust in the industry that offers us ready-made meals.

Fast food is a sweet temptation.

 

Every day there’s choices to be made.

Finding food used to be a full-time job, like spear-hunting game or fish. Today, for many even a visit to the supermarket is often already too much for their busy agendas. Whereas food used to be quintessential, in today’s society it barely gets attention. We need to go hunting again, hunt with our shopping carts in the supermarket, looking for honest food. We should take the time to read the labels and look for fresh, unprocessed products. Compared to a few years ago, now my shopping cart is only half as full but then it’s all fresh fruit and vegetables. I sometimes hear people say that fresh products cost more. That may be, but then simply leave out all unnecessary stuff from your shopping cart and spend your money on “honest” food.

 

Children & Education:

The other day I took my kids to summer school at the pool. Next to me were two friends who had just ordered breakfast. Both were clearly obese. When their breakfast was served, I couldn’t believe my eyes: a double toast with cheese, ham and bacon, a coke, a bag of crisps and chocolate cakes they had brought with them. Their children were also at the swimming class and sadly they had the same weight problem. After class, they were also treated to a toast with ham and cheese and a bag of crisps with coke…

There were 17 children in total, 6 of whom were obese. More than 1 in 3!!!

As an adult, you are responsible for your own body and lifestyle. But as a parent you have an educational function. Children copy the behaviour of their parents or people from their immediate surroundings. What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb, the proverb says, and I believe that is true, also for eating habits. I’m not claiming that this is always the case but admit that your eating habits have their origin in your childhood.

That is why I try to teach my children to be aware of what they eat. For example, I’m teaching them to read the labels. My five year old daughter sometimes asks how much sugar there is in a certain fruit juice… and my son’s decision at the age of seven not to eat meat anymore, has him take up the battle with the vegetables… Of course they eat crisps and sometimes have a coke. I believe that it is not a good idea to ban those sweet or salty snacks. On the contrary, I want to teach them to deal with them.

 

I can only hope they continue on this path and keep a healthy lifestyle.