Why are companies giving away free ice cream in School?

Junk Food in Schools Loula Natural FB

Should there even be ice-cream in school?

Last week I got very cross with my daughter’s PTA (Parent Teachers Association). On the Monday we were given a flyer through the school diary. It read-

Ice Cream Day

It was on the following Wednesday (in less than two days) it was the first I had heard of it. There was very clear and blatant branding on the flyer. The wonderful “insert brand” have donated ice cream for us to sell to your kids. We are selling ice-cream to the children on Wednesday- please provide your child with $xx for them to buy their ice-cream in school. For the PTA to profit from.

My daughter is 4 years old.

When she was 2 and she started going to Kindergarten we had to walk past 4/5 ice cream places to get to and from school. It was a mine field- so we introduced ice-cream Friday. It meant that we didn’t have to experience a melt down every single day  going to and from school- we could simple say, “it’s not friday”. Don’t get me wrong- we make ice-cream at home, we buy good quality ice-cream with few ingredients and every so often they get terrible ice-cream at various intervals. I don not need her to be able to buy ice cream in school.

We do not call it a treat and I try to explain very clearly to both my kids (I also have a 2 year old) about what is real food and what is a chemical food. Which one does not give us anything for us to grow or develop and which makes us feel strong, balanced and full of energy. I want my kids to be able to make informed choices in their lives and to be able to nourish themselves- rather than pay into the ‘treat yourself’ vibe that marketing companies love so much to make us by utter crap for our bodies.

There are foods that do treat the body

When looking at real treat foods, we need to understand and appreciate the necessity of nutrients in our foods together with the ratios of macronutrients (fats, proteins and carbs) which are fundamental to health. You probably know by now how much I love healthy fats and how much they have changed my body, mind and spirit (they help me feel satisfied, safe and nourished). If not check out my articles and recipes here. Healthy fats are almost always missing from the cheap nutrient free ‘treat’ foods.

SO when I read Ice Cream Day at school I was cross- not necessarily because of the Ice-Cream (my daughter chose to switch days for the week). Although the ingredients in the ice cream in school were poor, cheap and mostly chemical, I was cross for the following reason;

My child was being used.

Used by “insert brand”. They set up the ice cream carts in the school playground in constant view of the kids. The kids were introduced to the brand and they were told ‘how exciting’ it was to have ice-cream in the school. The carts were there all day Monday and Tuesday, just so the recognition was there. My daughter was eager to show me them on tuesday morning and told me which one contained cones and which ones had cups and what flavours they could buy the next day. I drop my daughter off every morning and its all you could hear from the kids- ice-cream, ice-cream.  My daughter was introduced to the concept of

“ask mummy and daddy for money”

to buy this exciting thing. I am trying to teach my kids that just because you want something does not mean that it can or will be bought. That there is nothing wrong with admiring something and NOT buying it. The fever stirred up in the classrooms and the playground about buying ice-cream was necessary to help the kids to recognise the brand and when they see it out and about with mum and dad etc to demand to have it. This kind of advertising (ie breakfast cereals during cartoons) has been banned in several countries as it is absolutely disgusting and cheap tactics.

I personally do not agree with the company who donated the ice-cream’s ethics or business practices. It is not a brand I expect or want my child to be pushed towards by the schools Parent Teacher Association- WITH TWO DAYS NOTICE. No time to complain or say ‘no’ to- the ice cream was already there in the playground for all to see.

It was such a surprise to everyone that I was not grateful for the opportunity for my 4 year old to be able to by a terrible product in school. Not to mention they were buying it from the school hall first thing in the morning- to enjoy later. I would have hated to be a teacher that day.

This school, that is supposed to pride itself on healthy living and parent support, was selling ice-cream to my 4 year old at 9am in the morning. When I voiced my complaints to various classroom teachers, I was met with surprise and off hand remarks. I could bring something else in for my child to have- whilst all her peers were participating. Also that it only happened once a term.

Not good enough.

When I wrote to the PTA from a professional and parent point of view- I was told it would be discussed at the next committee meeting (sure- right). I was also approached by a member of the PTA to assure me that my letter would be answered- I promptly told them how much I strive to provide children with necessary nutrients to support their growth and development- the reply was-

“its only a treat!”

NO IT IS NOT. There is not a single ingredient in those tubs and cones which is in any way a treat to a child as young as 4 and as old as 11 in those ice-creams. For body, mind or mood- every single child will have nutrients leached from them when consuming that ice-cream. Even more importantly when did it become the schools place or right to be giving my child a ‘treat’.

No thank you.

So what do we do. Well I have already sat down with my child and explained to her why she can have the ice-cream if she wants it- but just because she has asked for the money does not mean she will get it every time. She also understands that the ice-cream she had was chemical and so she had to make sure she made up for it by eating all the real food in her lunch box to help her stay alert and balanced for the rest of the school day. 

What can we do as a global community?

We can keep on saying NO. Write letters when you see your schools do the same thing. Ensure that you keep telling people around you (parents, parents in law, friends) that these ‘treat foods’ are not helping your children. That they are not treats.

Most of all change your view of these foods. STOP BUYING THEM. The chocolate, sweets and crap we hide from the kids, consume thinking ‘oh well I deserve a little cheat’, the foods that make you feel like crap later on and feel guilty- the ones making companies a fortune because they cost nothing to make because they contain- nothing. Those foods.

Stop calling them treats.

They arent. Stop allowing companies getting access to your kids, to be brand loyal from as young as 4. It is not okay once a term. It just isn’t. Give your kids food– help them to grow and most importantly help them to have a relationship with food, real food, for life.

see my post on Children’s Nutrition to find real treat foods for your kids and you!

What should we feed kids Loula Natural fb

Also with other mine fields of holidays in school and out read some of these posts;

5 healthy candy swaps for Halloween from Kula Mama

 Junk Food in Schools Loula Natural Pin

Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn

 Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn Loula Natural

 My lovely friend Gemma shared her kid’s favourite snack in my Mama Up-Front Chambers’ Mama. Since then I have been making popcorn for me and the kids. We like ours with a little twist- Cinnamon!

I love Cinnamon because it helps the body to process sugar by helping cells to recognise Insulin when it knocks on the door. This is called insulin sensitivity. You may have heard Insulin resistance surrounding tummy weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is a nutrient that can reverse this. Naturally sweet in itself it can help you to reduce how much sugar you use. It then makes cells more insulin sensitive meaning that the sugar will actually be used rather then allowing it to be re-circulating which increases blood sugar levels. Whenever I use sugar you will almost always see me adding cinnamon.

Cinnamon also boosts the immune system and is a natural bacteria balancer as it also feeds bacteria we need in our body. As an anti-inflammatory it can also help heal some of the potential chronic inflammation which may be present in the body. It is nice and warming and the flavour of cinnamon also helps the palate and taste buds to be satisfied which helps us feel satiated (full up) quicker- thus playing another role in weight balance.

It is also totally delicious! Total winner! It adds a really nice flavour dimension to the popcorn too.

We also love a salty sweet popcorn so I add some pink salt right at the end. This also helps balance the palate and provides some nice nutrients necessary to digest and absorb sugar and the popcorn itself.

It is so important to use organic corn kernels as such a huge portion of corn production is GMO. These foods hugely increase inflammation, especially in the digestive system and have a huge impact on the immune system. Not food in my humble opinion! So definitely not going to nourish my children.

Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn
Salty sweet cinnamon coconut sugar popcorn. Great snack and really delicious.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  2. 1/2 cup organic popcorn
  3. 2 tbs coconut sugar
  4. 1tsp cinnamon
  5. Pinch himylayan pink salt
Instructions
  1. Add the coconut and popcorn in a saucepan with a lid.
  2. When the coconut oil starts to sizzle add the coconut sugar and cinnamon
  3. Keep swirling the kernels until they start popping.
  4. When they stop, pour out into a big bowl and add salt to taste.
  5. Eat!
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight container until you want to consume. Will last a couple of days
  2. Great in Lunch boxes!
Adapted from Chamber's Mama Popcorn
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
If you are searching for ingredients in Hong Kong iDetox has a great selection (they sell Cocobono) at good prices- otherwise iherb is the general consensus. Use code WJZ679 for $10USD off your first order, Cocobono Coconut Sugar and Coconut Oil is my favourite source of coconut products (Only available in Hong Kong)

Popcorn Collage Loula Natural

Kids lunch box approved

Other Popcorn recipes;

 

Cinnamon Salty Sweet Popcorn Loula Natural pin

5 Reasons Refined Sugar is Damaging to Your Body

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When a food contains all its vital substances (all the necessary nutrients (vitamins, minerals and enzymes to enable it to be broken down, absorbed and eliminated) is it considered healthy and complete (whole)? Sugar needs many nutrients to be involved in energy production; refined sugar mainly contains glucose/fructose, therefore leeching the body of nutrients such as zinc, chromium and magnesium in order to digest and process the sugar into energy within the cells.

When I say ‘Refined Sugars‘ I am talking about ones that are so far removed from their natural product, having gone through so many processes, they can no longer be viewed as natural e.g. white cane sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, processed honey, Agave, xylitol and liquid stevia – yes these are not natural and of no use to your body!

These are the ones I refer to as ‘Natural Sugars‘ – Coconut sugar, ,Coconut nectar, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Dates, Goji berries, Raw Honey and Stevia leaves. These contain many of the nutrients necessary for the body to be able to digest, utilise and convert the sugar into energy.

Below are 5 reasons why Refined Sugars are damaging to the body:

1. Sugar is often hidden in our foods and by trying to reduce refined sugar it often means reducing packaged and processed foods. Anything sweetened by fruit juice or concentrated fruit juice is still just a refined sugar and should also be avoided. Not only is this a key factor in restoring health it may also regulate our acid/alkaline balance within the body (refined sugar is very acid producing), bacterial environment, hormonal balance (especially insulin and cortisol balance), hydration levels and nutrient availability. Not surprisingly all of these areas balanced also plays role in energy production.

2. Sugar needs energy to be broken down as well as providing the nutrients to transform energy. Metabolism affects the way every cell in your body performs. It is not just essential to burn fat but to keep your heart beating and you breathing. Too much sugar in the diet can greatly affect the body’s metabolism. When the body’s blood sugar levels are all over the place and hormone levels are affected the body’s metabolism is slowed down and without all the necessary nutrients the body will start to store energy in the form of fat. Consuming refined sugar is more responsible for weight gain than consuming fat, by a long way. To restore metabolism you have to restore the body’s nutrient levels and fat is a main factor in this.

3. Consuming Refined Sugar affects your mood. Your body is not satisfied with your nutrient intake and with blood sugar levels all over the place, the spikes and lows make your moods also go up and down. You think by grabbing something sweet (or as the media likes to call it – ‘a treat’) it will tie you over till the next meal. This causes a vicious circle. Refined sugar is more addictive than some illegal drugs, yet deemed completely safe. This perpetuates the problem and when you exclude refined sugar it is partnered with strong withdrawal symptoms. There are many people who will tell you to ‘lighten up’ or ‘whats wrong with a little chocolate’ (nothing by the way as long as it is actually chocolate), and the classic ‘You only live once’. Especially when it is about giving refined sugar to children. In fact children consuming refined sugar may experience slowed down growth and metabolism effects; it may affect brain development, their mood and behaviour is affected and it may also distort their view on food and what real food actually is. When switching to real, whole fresh and vibrant food (including natural sugars) many of these aspects of your life are reversed.

4. Refined sugar not only feeds cancer cells (acting in an anaerobic environment, cancer cells need a easy and quick supply of glucose to continue to function) but also the deficit of nutrients that comes with consuming it (see point 1) may cause the cells to change in the first place. When it comes to cancer, cell changing and multiplication is at the heart of the disease. If the body has all the nutrients to build cells, create energy from oxygen within the cells, protect the cells from oxidants and create the right pH for the cells to continue to survive, there is no place or need for the cell to mutate for survival. (see Cancer Is Not A Disease)

5. Refined sugar is no fun, it makes you store excess fat, is implicated in most chronic conditions including PCOS, Fibroids, diabetes, heart disease and of course cancer, especially breast cancer (source). People with diets high in refined sugars experience more illnesses in general because of sugar’s effect on the immune system. It is partly because of the leeching of essential nutrients and partly because of a diet high in processed foods that leads to a deficit in incoming nutrients also. If you are consuming a Real Food diet then you will be eating fresh foods full of the vital substances and therefore fueling a healthy immune system together with strong robust cells, adequate ratio and content of bacteria and at a regular pH for enzyme and chemical reactions. Natural carbohydrates including sugars, healthy fats and good quality proteins will provide all of this. Take small steps and you too can bin refined and processed foods- You only live once!

 Further Reading;

How to kick sugar cravings and your sugar addiction; Mix Wellness

LA Healthy Living; Healthy Sugar Substitutes 

 5 Resons Refined sugar is damaging Loula Natural

 

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