A recent radio talk show explored the depths of a problem that faces a growing number of parents here and quite frankly I was glued to it. With more than a passing interest it is a topic of conversation we often have here at The Urban Co-op. Fussy Eating…There are a few newish names to now add to the pile to describe the phenomenon. ARFIDs (avoidant resistant food intake disorder) being I believe, the latest. Five words makes it quite a mouthful but seems to be the trend to describe something not working right these days. Food Neophobia was the case before that. Picky eating etc. I was that child too and apparently caused worry when I was younger. Growing up on a farm though we were surrounded by food in one form or another. Obviously, I survived it!
A common theme we do see now though is that of distressed parents who resort to their child eating one or two “products” because it is all they eat, and fear of the child starving means they will resort to any length to secure these favoured products. Highly processed of course and ultimately minimally nourishing. Eggs and milk are rarely the last resort foods in this situation. The advice apparently is to keep feeding these products for fear they will drop off to nothing and effectively they will grow out of it. When parents use a platform of a national radio show to compare notes on the similarities of their situations it somehow helps them cope, not feel so alone and helps them to carry on with an acceptance of the situation. This theme is a common one in society today. We share a problem so that makes it tolerable. At a critical growing time for children there is a chronic price to pay for such acceptance. We must challenge this mindset of accepting a problem because it is common. Something is wrong with the system when a large number of people share the same symptoms. Getting to the root cause is where we start to find solutions. Time to grab this problem by the scruff and take action folks.
I’m not going to preach here; my own offspring present their challenges with fussy eating and continue to every day. In this toxic sea of ultra-processed “food” products, it is not easy to navigate through the suffocating messages. The fall out is stressful and chronically debilitating for so many in ways we will never fully understand. Guilt shovelled onto parents is crippling enough to prevent progress of any kind when every mealtime becomes a battleground. Our relationship with food and nourishment has been thwarted for decades and there are many complications and difficulties.
There are workable solutions though and our mindset at The Urban Co-op is to find what works in a collaborative supportive way. We can offer some help and techniques to get you started. It’s a topic that deserves to be exposed for the solutions possible to give that light to all struggling every day to face mealtimes. Like many aspects of co-operation, we have realised that together we can find solutions to the problems we have in our communities. Rather than a battleground food can be a joy again. Watch out for the Fussy Eating talk at The Urban Co-op on 29th March 8pm.
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Recipes from Katie Verling & Jacques