Let’s chat about packaging 

Everything comes with a label these days. 

By law, tobacco companies are not allowed to brand their products to appeal to children. I believe alcohol companies have similar guidelines. These are regulated to discourage children from trying and becoming addicted to things that are not healthy choices. Seems like a pretty solid idea. The consumer should know the risks associated with a product or service. 

Now let’s chat about food. Food-like products go be a little more specific. 


I can spend hours in a grocery store. I’ll read labels and compare ingredients. The other day while looking at coconut milk, I found these. This atrocity is sold as a “no cooking required” snack, for, you guessed it, kids. With a look at the blue monster-thingy, I’d say younger children. It almost resembles a cross between Sully from Disney’s “Monster’s Inc” and Sesmae Street’s Cookie Monster.  

Food-products are branded and packaged to catch our eye and the attention of children. These types of goods are located at a child’s eye-level. The bright coloured boxes with cartoon characters appeal to our little ones. It’s amazing how they can spot these things with so many other brightly coloured packages vying for our attention. 


The flip side of the package tells you of some “healthy facts” about corn oil. Some of the claims really make it sound like a good choice. 

The expiry date on this bag of monster nonsense is 2019. Yes, two years from now. Isn’t that a scary thought? The likely accompaniment for this in a lunch kit would be a drink. Probably a juice-box. Again, read the label. Liquid sugar with the promise of 10% real fruit juice. Some kids may get a can of pop instead, but probably a “diet” pop as it has only one calorie. Gotta watch those calories right? 

Food has been engineered to be hyper-palatable. What does that mean? It means sugar, a lot of sugar, sugar in many forms, is in our food in amounts that flip switches in our brains. Things are saltier, greasier and sweeter than anything Mother Nature produces. This triggers a chemical response in the pleasure centre of our brain. We physically crave more. Crunch and mouth-feel are worked and worked until it is just right. We now are teetering on the brink of addiction. 

This is legal. 

It should be criminal. Our children become innocent addicts through no fault of their own.  The role of parent/caregiver becomes increasingly more difficult as we almost require a degree to interpret food labels to understand what we are consuming. 

These marketing tactics are no different than the creepy person trying to lure a child into a vehicle with the promise of a candy bar or puppy. 

Why food quality matters

It’s kind of funny how food has become such a hot topic.

It’s food. We eat it. Shouldn’t really be more complicated than that. Food should be recognizable in its original form when we eat it or at least some semblance of the packaging Mother Nature provided. Obviously we aren’t about to gnaw on the side of a cow or pluck a salmon from the water and bite into it the way a bear would. We are a bit more civilized than that. Zombie apocalypse notwithstanding.

It used to be only the “tree-hugging hippies” who wanted their produce to be free from pesticides and genetic modifications and they were often mocked and ridiculed. Sad thought really. Shaming someone for wanting something better for their body, their children’s bodies and the planet we share. Turns out, they were way ahead of the game. We should have been right beside them, standing up and fighting for our rights as consumers to have explicit ingredient lists on the things we eat. Instead, we ran for the sexy two year shelf-stable meal and opted for super size fries and a large one-calorie soft drink to go with it.

It’s never too late to effect change.

Invest time searching for farmers in your area. Click here to go to Eat Wild. This amazing resource will help you find local farmers who are raising livestock ethically and practicing sustainable farming techniques. You will be amazed to learn who is growing what in your backyard.

Sustainable farming practices and the rotation of crops helps prevent mineral depletion of the soil. Different crops take different nutrients from the soil. Another reason to eat seasonal produce. Eat what is growing for the time of year. Some things grow better together by acting as a natural pest repellant for another crop. Livestock feeds on grasses and then, yes, poops, or fertilizes, the soil to replenish nutrients back into the dirt. Better soil = more nutrients in the vegetables and fruits. The ozone-layer depleting, methane gas horror stories are thanks to the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) methods of raising livestock. Those creatures are standing shoulder to shoulder and knee-deep (figuratively speaking) in their own waste. Remember the video on how canola oil is made? One of the by-products from the production of this oil, is cattle feed. No thanks. I want to be able to eat the food my food eats.

I truly believe we are what we eat. If you are eating garbage, food-like products, I’d wager you are living in a body that is under duress. Maybe you suffer from frequent colds or illness. Perhaps early arthritic symptoms. Poor sleep. Low energy. Headaches. Eczema. GI issues such as constipation or diarrhea. Behavioural issues. The list is endless. Food quality won’t necessarily “fix” everything that ails you, but it’ll certainly help a whole lot.

Time to stand up for yourself. Don’t just eat. Nourish your body with real food. Plan and prepare your meals and eat them mindfully. Put your fork down between bites. Chew and actually taste the food you are eating. Stop wolfing your meal down while sitting in front of the tv. Give your body time to adjust to eating real food. Giving up the convenient, packaged foods comes with a detox period, not unlike that of an addict. You will go through withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, cold and flu-like symptoms. Your energy will tank. Your skin may break out. At this point, you may be thinking “this sucks! I’m supposed to be feeling better by eating better.” It’ll happen. You just gotta hang on.

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I know this first-hand. When I changed from eating a gluten-free diet to a Paleo template, my skin broke out in a terrible, itchy rash. I thought this food and nutrition shift was supposed to be good for me, why is my body reacting like this? Gluten-free does not necessarily equal healthy. There is a lot of crappy food that is labelled gluten-free. So many of these packaged foods are high in sugars and unnecessary carbohydrates. As your body rids itself of the garbage in your system, it puts that trash curb side, or in my case, on my skin. Think of your skin as a revolving door.

Let’s go back to basic biology. Our cells are building blocks. They are constantly moving “food” and energy across membranes, walls and borders to help our bodies repair, function and grow. This system is extremely complex and delicate in nature. It’s tricky enough for the cells to do their thing correctly when given the correct tools. Why would you put something that is completely foreign into your cells and force them to process something they don’t recognize as food? The body does the best it can with what you put in it. What to do with the things it doesn’t recognize? The cells become hoarders and stash the unrecognizable stuff to deal with later. You can only hide garbage for so long before it smells and things start to fall apart.

What goes on, goes in and what goes in, eventually comes out.