Sweet and Sour
June 9, 2015
Lovely Husband and I were quite shocked when we saw a television report this week. As we are both trying to cut down on sugar we have banned sweets from the house and have been having snack packs of fruit as part of our lunch. We both really liked them and were also feeling virtuous that we were making a conscious effort to “eat healthily”.
So we were both very surprised to discover that some of the bags of fruit contained more sugar than the “sugary snacks” we were trying to avoid.
The more I thought about it the more I realised that I am not taking full responsibility for what I am eating. When I am preparing a home-cooked meal from scratch I am meticulous about weighing and measuring. I have a battered notebook (covered in stains from tomato puree; flour; fruit juice) in which I scribble and scrawl my way through the recipe in order to properly keep track of what my meal is made up of. On the rare occasions that I am feeling lazy and rely on a “ready meal” for speed and convenience I have three or four that I can recite the nutritional values of. I always have a couple in the freezer and they are ideal when time is of the essence.
Generally my “sweet treats” are yoghurt based (Greek with a touch of honey, or frozen in ice-cube trays - but the latter is not practical lunchtime options when you don’t have a freezer at the office). The ready-bagged healthy fruit snacks seemed ideal either to eat on their own or to add to my yoghurt pot for a slightly more substantial “dessert”.
If I had realised that they were not as healthy as they appeared to be I would have given them a wide berth. Had I bothered to read the nutritional label, I would have discovered they were not as healthy as they appeared and so could have avoided them. If I had taken responsibility I would have made sure that I did read the label and although the calorie count seemed moderate when compared to my chocolate-bar-choices of the past, the sugar content would have jumped out at me and my WLR-acquired-wisdom would have made me question whether or not it was the best option.
But the bag said “no added sugar”… it shouted out “one-of-your-five-a-day” and in my head I heard “that’s okay, you don’t need to check… it will be fine”.
I mentioned recently that the “back in time for dinner” television series had really resonated with me. I could see why, in the 1950s, people were generally slender and, despite food shortages, were generally healthier in terms of diet and nutrition. Food portions were small but adequate; convenience foods didn’t exist and “snacking on crisps and fizzy drinks” just wasn’t possible.
The advent of convenience food is something of a double-edged sword. In terms of diet and weight loss we have so many more options available to us. We have “light versions” of everything from “butter” to “crisps”; we have traffic lights on packaging to provide an indication of what to expect nutritionally; we are told how much of our “recommended daily guidelines” we will be using. It is all clear and simple and set out in front of our eyes. Except it isn’t. We are given the “banner headline”, the “bullet point” and all too often that is all that many of us think we need.
In the age of Twitter, one-hundred-and-forty-characters can provide more than enough information and so often many people don’t bother to delve deeper; to question the information. I confess that it has come as something of a surprise to realise that LH and I are part of that “we”.
We are now determined to take “full responsibility” again. We have realised that it is easy to become complacent. The smaller dinner plates; the household “ban” on crisps and chocolate; our decision abstain from alcohol. All of these decisions are helping in our quest to regain our slender frames – but we may be guilty of thinking we know it all; of being smug and definitely of being lazy – why else would we simply not bother to properly read the label on the packets of fruit which were meant to be a sweet treat have now left a very sour taste in our mouths…?
Have a lovely weekend.
With a Hug