From time to time, a story pops up about how a childcare centre or kindergarten has taken it upon itself to assess the contents of a child’s lunchbox and found it lacking. A note, commonly pre-printed and often featuring frowny faces, animated fruits and/or other helpful illustrations, is sent home with the child advising that an item or items in the lunchbox is ‘unhealthy’ in some way and that in future a ‘healthier’ option should be chosen. Outrage ensues.
I seldom lend my voice to the chorus, but not because I don’t have an opinion on the subject. In fact, I feel quite strongly about it, although not necessarily for the same reasons that others do. The usual arguments cluster around (a) parental rights; (b) nanny state interference with those rights; and (c) what constitutes ‘healthy’. You may also find discussion of fat-shaming, socio-economic privilege, judgmental attitudes, power-tripping teachers and hyper-competitive parents, depending on the forum. At some point, inevitably, ‘political correctness run mad’ will make an appearance.
My take? Lunchbox monitoring is an exercise of limited utility, because it can only ever be part of a bigger picture which the carer or teacher does not see. Lunchboxes are only part of a whole day’s food, and that day’s food is part of a wider week’s food. Add in variables such as developmental stages, behavioural management strategies, family customs and gatherings, parental working hours and out-of-school activities, and the picture is much more complex than a carer or teacher can hope, or be expected, to be fully across. Continue reading →
No doubt you’ve heard of David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe. I first came across him when my thoughtful in-laws, knowing I like smoothies, bought a Nutribullet for my use at their place. I nearly laughed myself into a coughing fit at the claims on the box, and that was even before I read the accompanying recipe book. I like the blender. David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe, not so much.
I’ve been trying to ignore David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe (let’s just call him DAW for short, shall we?) ever since. It hasn’t been easy, as people have this quaint habit of sharing his memes on social media. Having done a bit of Internet sleuthing after my initial encounter with the Nutribullet’s hyperbolic packaging, I’ve suggested once or twice that sharing DAW memes isn’t a good idea, and had the usual responses: snorts, eye rolls and dismissive hand flips. The memes are harmless, I’m told. DAW’s obviously a bit of a whacky nature-loving hippy, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It takes all sorts to make a world.
But here’s the thing: DAW is dangerous. He infiltrates our social media feeds with warm-fuzzy-inducing fluffy kitties and golden sunrises and inspiring quotes, and then sneaks in dangerous pseudoscientific nonsense, which we absorb without noticing because it looks just like the fluffy kitty memes.
So I thought I’d list just a few reasons why you shouldn’t share any of the memes created by this self-proclaimed rock star and Indiana Jones of the superfoods and longevity universe*. Continue reading →
Since I started playing with make-up, the most common comment I’ve had from friends and family is ‘You’re wearing make-up!’, uttered in an astonished tone and usually accompanied by a bemused frown.
This is entirely understandable. For years, I’ve eschewed make-up, other than a bit of lipstick on work days. Mascara if I’m feeling up to it.
So, when I say, as nonchalantly as I can, ‘Yes, I am’, the question that usually follows is not unexpected: ‘Is it a special occasion?’. However, I have been surprised by the frequency of quite a different comment: ‘You should wear make-up more often’.
I’m going to be completely upfront here: I have no clear idea what ‘clean eating’ means. I think that’s at least partly because it means different things to different people. But mostly, I think it’s because, objectively, it doesn’t actually mean anything at all. Continue reading →
I have been extremely short-sighted most of my life. Not a little short-sighted, but really, really, short-sighted. Without my glasses, my focal point is so close to my nose my eyes cross and I can’t actually focus. Unless I have my glasses on or contacts in, I am functionally blind. I can see colours and vague blurry blobs which my brain translates into objects for me, but only if I happen to know, or can make an educated guess about, what they are. Continue reading →