Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Why is the whole family going Paleo?

Some people have asked me why I am inflicting the whole Paleo thing on the kids. I think the feeling is that it's OK to put yourself on fad diets, but you should let the kids eat 'normally'.

Well, first of all, of course there is no question of me putting the kids on a 'diet'. They are absolutely welcome to eat as much as they want. Actually they are loving it - the fruit bowl is overflowing in a way that it never has before, and they are welcome to hit it at any time. Also they both love meat and fish and always ask for more. My daughter, who is 6, has never liked carbs much, and even as a baby preferred cucumber to chips (she's a changeling!), although I think she's missing pasta. And I'm lucky in that they both like a wide variety of veg.

But the real motivation for going Paleo was the health of my son, who is nearly 3 and rejoices in the nickname of "The Lobster". He was diagnosed with coeliac disease around his 2nd birthday. That means he will have to have an entirely gluten-free diet for life. Because I have had a severe wheat intolerance for the last decade, that was no problem for me. I merrily switched him on to gluten-free pasta and bread, and bought him chips when we went out.

But then I started thinking a bit harder about what he was actually eating. He loved wheat-free bread and pasta, and I could see him growing up to make them the core of his diet. But when you look at what's in them, it's a bit horrific. This is the list of ingredients for the wheat-free bread sold by one of the leading supermarkets:

Water, Tapioca Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Sunflower Oil, Yeast, Dextrose, Psyllium Husk Powder, Humectant (Glycerine), Dried Egg White, Stabilisers (Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose, Xanthan Gum), Calcium Carbonate, Maize Flour, Salt, Citric Acid, Emulsifiers (Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids).

Pretty horrific, huh? Just nutritionally worthless, and can you imagine the processing that has to go on to turn tapioca into bread? I don't want the Lobster to be eating this stuff for the rest of his life. I want to show him another way. I think that way is Paleo.

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