I have had this blog post in the back of my mind for a couple of months now. At the end of the first part of this blog, where we looked at coffee, one of the most commonly consumes ‘health danger’ in our society, I promised to write more on meat, wheat and dairy. Well, after the festive season I think I can kill all three birds with one stone.
I went out to breakfast to a ‘normal’ café the other day. I say ‘normal’ because it wasn’t one of those uber trendy health cafes popping up on the Gold Coast, bragging of paleo bowls, breakfast salads, egg-free scrambles and $16 smoothies. It was just your run-of-the-mill regular café. And I couldn’t find anything to eat. I know, I can hear myself already sounding like a prat. Just keep reading!
Every single breakfast item contained wheat, dairy, eggs or meat. Which I guess in Australia is pretty typical. Now I don’t want to sound like a wholefoods snob, but I actually have to go to those ‘alternative’ cafes, just to find something on the menu I can eat without 10 minutes of negotiation and a whole lot of eye rolling from the waitress. And I don’t doubt that anyone who is avoiding the items above finds themselves in the same boat. Regular Australia just doesn’t have a lot of breakfast alternatives.
We are a culture of Wheatbix and milk, of toast and vegemite, with bacon and eggs on Sundays. And heading out, our choices usually include eggs Benedict, omelettes, pancakes or fry ups. Even your fruit salad will come with yogurt or ice cream unless you say otherwise.
So moving away from breakfast, just how much wheat, dairy and meat are we Australians eating? The answer for me, is far too much. For example, I give you a typical day in my life, 15 years ago.
Breakfast- cereal, milk and banana
Morning tea- tuna, mayo and crackers
Lunch- sandwich with ham, cheese and salad
Afternoon tea- peanut butter on toast
Dinner- spaghetti bolognaise with pasta and salad
My Mum was very health conscious so our bread was brown, as was our pasta (much to our disgust). We didn’t eat chocolate, cakes, chips, or lollies. But if you tally up a typical day, it is easy to see how eating 5 servings of wheat, 5 servings of dairy, and 3 servings of meat becomes all too easy.
Is it any wonder that the new generations are becoming more and more reactive to wheat and dairy? The more you eat of something, the more likely you are to prime your immune system against that particular type of food (especially if it has been sprayed with chemicals and genetically modified to improve yield). We have absolutely, without a doubt, over-saturated our bodies with wheat and dairy, and now we are paying the price. Allergies, asthma, eczema, behavioural disorders, learning difficulties, food intolerances, all continue going up and up.
Meat too. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Australians. Last night I finally got around to watching Forks Over Knives, and time and time again throughout history, numerous types of cancers, cardiovascular disease (plus high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and strokes) are significantly related to high meat consumption.
These are dangers in our modern day lives simply due to their abundance. We were not designed to eat the same thing over and over again. Historically we were hunters, gatherers, and farmers. We ate seasonally, we ate with the abundance of nature, we ate what we could find or catch or gather. We ate naturally. The meal below is an organic vegan big breakfast. Avocado, kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, tofu scramble, potatoes, beans and rye bread.
I am not suggesting we all just give up wheat, dairy and meat today or only throwing your money at the health cafes when you head out for breakkie. What I am suggesting is to have a look at your daily diet. Just how much wheat are you consuming? How many times a day? How much dairy? How much Meat? If you are someone who can happily eat 5 serves of wheat and dairy and 3 serves of meat per day without having any ill effects, just try cutting down those numbers. For generations to come, and for yourself later on in life.
Try alternative grains instead of wheat. Experiment with alternatives to dairy. Reduce your meat intake to once a day, or cut down the amount of meat you consume three times a day. Instead of having a STEAK with veggies, try having VEGGIES with steak. Build your meat free meal repertoire so you don’t rely on meat being the star of your plate. Experiment. In fact, I’m just about to eat lunch- my version of spaghetti bolognaise. Organic turkey mince, cooked with heaps of grated carrot, zucchini, onions and garlic on a bed of baby spinach leaves. It is wheat free, dairy free and the meat content is about 25-30% of the meal. Yum!
For more information about reducing meat, dairy and wheat from your diet, see your naturopath or nutritionist or watch the documentaries Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and Hungry For Change. For your health