Valerie Foley

Posts Tagged ‘Food’

What a child should eat…

In Action, Diet, Parent issues on February 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Just a quick follow up to yesterday’s eating post.

The ‘healthy eating’ guidelines issued by the Australian Government included daily eating plans for various sections of the community. The one for children Billy’s age is here.

Just because it riles me so much (knowing what ‘healthy’ eating can do to a vulnerable child’s body) I broke down the suggestions by ingredient.

The things that bother me are high levels of processed food and processed ingredients within that processed food, poor quality ingredients, preservatives, colours, high salt and sugar content, added vitamins and minerals (the bioavailability question), the reliance on gluten and dairy, the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, the encouragement for low fat and processed ‘dairy’ products… I am sure I could go on.

On so many levels, WTF?

Even on the most basic PR level, these guidelines came out with news stories featuring faceless children shoving burgers into their mouths. How are they planning to combat obesity by encouraging children to look for nutrition in a packet or a box or a colourful tube?

Anyway… here’s the list. If the source makes you go ‘wha?’ it’s because manufacturers have websites full of spin and short on detail.

The plan again, for reference.

Weetbix: Wholegrain wheat (97%), raw sugar, salt, barley malt extract, minerals (zinc gluconate, iron), vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflvin, folate) (

Reduced fat milk: milk, vitamins, minerals, vegetable oil, fish oil, permeate. (

Crumpet: Wheat Flour, Water, Raising Agents (500, 450), Iodised Salt, Dextrose, Preservatives (282, 234), Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate). (

Margarine: natural plant and seed oils, vitamins A & D, colour and flavours (eg. diacetyl), additives (emulsifiers and preservatives 475, 476), milk, salt, water (

Ryvita: Wholegrain Wheat Flour (97%), Wheat Flour, Sugar, Skimmed Milk Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Sugar Beet Fibre. (

Tinned fruit salad: fruit, sucrose, invert sugar syrup, dextrose, dried glucose syrup, glucose syrup, fructose and fructose syrup. (

Kids yoghurt: low fat milk, milk solids, sugar, water, fruit (min. 5.5%), cream, rice starch, halal gelatine, natural flavours, preservative (potassium sorbate), colour (carotene), live yoghurt cultures (s. thermophilus, l.bulgaricus & b.lactis) (

Wholemeal bread: Wholegrain Wholemeal Wheat Flour (50%), Water, Wheat Flour, Baker’s Yeast, Vinegar, Wheat Gluten, Iodised Salt, Canola Oil, Emulsifiers (481, 472e, 471), Soy Flour, Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate). (

Reduced fat cheese: Pasteurised Milk, Salt, Cultures, Enzyme (Rennet) (

Peanut butter: Peanuts (85%), sugar, soybean oil (antioxidant 330), maltodextrin (from corn), emulsifier (471), salt, molasses (

Again, I say… WTF?

Call me a zealot, call me whatever you want. Just don’t call me or my family for any of these meals.


Food, eating and insanity

In Diet, Medical, Supplements on February 19, 2013 at 4:47 am

Today, the day after the Australian government released an arcane update to their slightly less arcane dietary guidelines, Billy has eaten quite a few more than twenty individual ingredients.

And the day’s not over yet.

I preface this by saying in his past, Billy has managed to eat only one ingredient in a day, and sometimes that ingredient was potato, maybe deep fried in oil (technically two ingredients, maybe more if you count the added carginigens). I’m not proud, but I am honest.

Insert ridiculous and constant illness, all sorts of associated social and health challenges and an ever growing list of diagnoses, and a rock could have worked out things had to change.

People said, ‘Yeah, autistic kids are picky eaters.’ We all compared our kids hilarious preferences for food of a particular colour or texture. PhDs were done on the autistic love of the chicken nugget.

I knew it was going to be a challenge and I knew (from failing spectacularly a number of times) that while there was an urgent need for change, speed was not going to be my friend on this journey (and I mean the hasty kind, not the illegal kind).

It’s been anywhere between one and two years (depending on which whack in the face with a wet fish I take as the actual beginning of this journey) of GI investigation, diet change, supplementation, lifestyle revision and research obsession and… we have reached a landmark, of sorts.

Today, for breakfast Billy had a smoothie made out of home made almond milk (almonds, pure water, medjool dates, vanilla), bananas, raspberries, spinach and ice. He ate some extra fruit as well. That’s 7 separate ingredients (if I was counting…)

Then we made muffins with the almond pulp (which I won’t count again) with carrot, sultanas, coconut, eggs, coconut oil and coconut flour. That’s 6 more. We’re up to 13 (though words are my thing and I’m very excited, so forgive me if the numbers are wrong). He ate a muffin.

Then, he requested leftover GF pizza. Mushrooms, olives, hard cheese (taken with enzymes), tomato, Superfoods for Kidz Vital Veggie Power on Quirky Cooking’s GF base. I’m stopping counting ingredients because these last two have bazillions of goodies in them. I’m confidently going to say he’s had maybe 30 different foods today.

It’s only the afternoon, so there’s probably a snack and dinner to go.

Now, when you ask him, ‘Would you like to try….(any food that’s not nuggets)?’ He says, ‘Sure.’ And he actually does try them. Last week, he asked for a fruit salad (I know…, seriously?) and he ate it. It had rockmelon, paw paw, blackberries, blueberries, banana, apple and grapes in it.

I know. It’s me talking. It’s my child I am writing about.

This is how bad it used to be.

We travel a lot. It was impossible for us, up until this year, to travel anywhere out of striking distance of a McDonalds. I’m not exaggerating. If we couldn’t cook for ourselves, McDonald’s chips were it. Seriously. Again, I’m not proud.

And here’s how excellent it has become. Yesterday, he asked if we had any chocolate. I looked. All the packaged stuff in the pantry was out of date (woo hoo!!), and he went, ‘OK, can I have an apple?’

If we can do this, anyone can do this.