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Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Today we look at food – from cattle having emission problem to the Chinese just not running long enough. And we end off with a piece on the (not-so) best looking vegetarians contest. Hope you have fun.

1. You got Beef with Climate Change?

It seems as if everyone has some beef with climate change claims. The UN is being slaughtered from every angle by critics. Another UN study is being hammered for having cooked books. Okay, I’ll stop with the meat stories and refrain from using words like fried, raw, well-done, blood or anything else in that line of thinking. But the short of it is that the UN study claiming that the meat trade has worse emission levels than all the cars in the world is being picked apart. The so-called Paul McCartney Lentil-Noshing Plan to help fight climate change – drop the meat in favor of more veggies – isn’t all it claims to be. The study is flawed. Big surprise…

Actually, this new angle of attack does not question the impact of the meat industry. It focuses on the comparison of meat vs cars. The meat angle of the study had a complete life cycle analysis while the car study only looked at emission while driving all these cars. No life cycle analysis from when mining of the metals started to the day the cars ends up as scrap.

I’m no fan of cars claiming to be eco-friendly. Even that hybrid the treehuggers drive have a huge impact beyond just driving it around. (Full disclosure – I don’t drive a hybrid. I can’t fit two kids into a lunchbox… But I do only own one car – very un-American of me. Thank god I am African.) Anyway… I do love meat. A nice piece of steak or lamb chops on the braai (barbeque) is in my blood. More on me and meat and responsibility at another stage though…

What I do have a problem with is the critics now jumping at any chance to claim anything wrong. Look, it’s not as if either Hawkings or Einstein got it everything right. But are you going to argue with the about the bigger picture stuff? Meat has an impact. A substantial impact. Period. They erm… emit gasses from the front and the back that has a huge impact on climate change. You can argue it’s not as bad as cars but that would be like arguing whether being electrocuted is worse than being shot. I prefer to stay away from both options as the end result is pretty much the same.

And I have some more standard beef with the critics as well. How can I believe you if you base your study on something paid for by the beef industry? That’s bad PR research used for bad PR purposes. Live with your responsibility and do something about your impact – don’t argue something as pathetic as: well-at-least-I’m-not-as-bad-as-them. You are bad. Live with it. Accept it. And do something about it.

What should you do? Maybe feed the cattle something they should be eating instead of pumping them full of food they are not meant to digest or “medicine” they are not meant to have. I am also very weary of the meat I eat in the US as there tend to be a complete disconnect between the meat and the eater. Responsibility also lies with the consumer to know how they get their food and what is in there. And it is the responsibility of the meat industry to be transparent about what the feed and inject into cattle and other livestock and how the rear them and slaughter them.

You’ve lost most of your right to bitch about transparency until you practice it yourself. That is the responsible thing to do. And the route to a sustainable solution.

2. How long can the Chinese run?

No, this is not about China being the biggest economic bubble in history. It’s about their kids becoming the biggest bubbles in the world. Apparently more people in China has diabetes than anywhere else in the world. You can make the link between obesity and diabetes from day 1. More importantly, you can make the link between the change in diet from local natural food to fast food addiction and the sharp rise in obesity and diabetes. As the Chinese economy expands so does the waistlines. So what you have is another race that China is winning – more bubbles walking the streets than anywhere else in the world.

Actually, maybe walking isn’t the right word to use because they just aren’t doing enough to shed those pounds. Unfortunately for them, recent studies shows that you need at least an hour of exercise to drop those pounds. Gone are the days of walking 30 minutes and thinking that is just fine. Yes, to stay healthier but not to drop pounds if you are already obese. (Let’s just call it fat shall we?)

I can talk from a personal perspective here. I’ve dropped over 20 pounds in two month by eating properly and running my backside off. The problem for China is that people move to the cities, go live the middle class life of telly, internet and do nothing instead of going out and do something that resembles an activity where you actually break a bit of a sweat. The social and economic revolution that is taking place in China has many upsides for everyone in China. But not everything that grows are good.

I find it odd that the Chinese government is doing so little in controlling the fast food that you can get in China – this from a country ruled by regulations. But maybe fast food companies can learn from their past experiences in places such as the US. Serve people crap to eat but sell it hard as something fun and something beautiful people do and you will succeed in business. However, at some stage it will come back to bite you. Maybe the companies serving bad burger and super sodas can do the responsible thing and tell people what they are consuming. The US is forcing companies to say how much calories are in each of those burgers – hello health care reform! Maybe these companies can take this best practice and tell the Chinese just how much crap they are eating. It might not be the best thing in the short run as people get over the shock but at least it will put your company in a good spot for a sustainable future in China. Imagine that – a sustainable fast food company.

3. Eat like a vegetable and look like one?

We’ll stick to the food topic for our daily fun one - thanks again to ecorazzi. They ran a story about PETA announcing the finalist in the Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door Contest. My first thought? Cool! Let’s see who there leave crunchers are. I was pretty sure they were going to be the cool-and-slightly-mysterious-but-handsome type. Erm… No they are not. I am so glad I am eating meat. And my wife likes Matthew McConaughey selling us beef in the US. Must say he looks healthier than the vegetarians in the contest. I want to be sensitive here but more than a few of the finalists look like the replaced their meat intake with artificial “body enhancers”. I guess botox and implants are vegan approved.

See you tomorrow.

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“Oh come on! You can’t call the kids that! They are only kids. Shame, poor them.”

Tough. Fat became a swear word because of the pictures we see in the magazines telling us all that we would be so much better if we all look like Brad or Angelina. Or any of those thin chicks selling us the latest perfume or underwear. Okay, I don’t personally wear the underwear but… Anyway…

So tough. These kids are fat. Toughen up or shed some weight. Or just be happy with how you look. It could be worse. You could be too thin. Oh sorry, that doesn’t exist – according to the magazines that cover our delicate consciousness. But being fat is a problem.

Now we call it a “disease”. The obesity “disease”. Crap people. It isn’t a disease. HIV/Aids is a disease. Eating too much crap isn’t a disease. It’s just eating too much crap.

I know, I know. There are a few people that gain weight because of a hormone imbalance or some serious medical issue. But really… Most cases of “big boned” people are due to an imbalance between the ears. Don’t try to pull that crap on me. I am not thin. Maybe “slightly” over my ideal Barack Obama weight. But I’m still closer to Obama than Rush Limbaugh. In so many ways. I don’t eat too much crap and I don’t talk too much crap. (Stop laughing.) I know my excuse – I’m not fat, I’m just lazy. What’s your excuse?

Crap stays crap. Just don’t believe your own lies or that doctor that feeds you crap stories. Your own crappola of excuses. “Obesity is a disease.” Puh-leeze…

Who told you to stuff your face with that Big Mac or KFC Extra Crispy or donut from Dunkin’s? You ate it. Now live with it. Stop bitching. Stop telling me to not make it sound so awful. It is awful – live with it or stop it. Sorry, you won’t find any sympathy here.

You want to take McDonald’s to court? Sue Burger King for their jewels? Did they force it down your throat? Oh… They didn’t warn you about how bad it is… WTF? Are you stupid?

Stuffing your face with too much food is bad. Stuffing your face with too much crap food is even worse. It is NOT rocket science…

I know, it isn’t really the kids fault. But it sure as hell isn’t the fault of the crap-making fast food joints. Ronald doesn’t sit next to you and force the last morsel of a Big Mac down you throat. And neither did the government. So who should be “blamed”?

Hellooooo… Parents!

Or maybe I shouldn’t call you that. You aren’t parents. You are household engineers. Parenting isn’t good enough anymore. Actually, you are right. You can’t be called parents – because you are not parents. And you haven’t been parents since you had that kid in the first place.

Parenting means you have a kid (or kids) and that you are responsible for them and for how they grow up. Not someone else. Not your mom. Or uncle George the President. Or Ms Burns at the school. It’s YOU.

How can you feed your kids crap and call yourself parents? Here is a hot dog for dinner darling. And a nice oily pizza tomorrow night. How about a nice Mac ‘n Cheese from the box on Saturday? Sunday is so special when we all go to T.G.I Friday’s and eat a plate of more crap. Just after we’ve been to The Cheesecake Factory for breakfast. Don’t forget to go all “healthy” when you gulp down the Diet Pepsi to go with you thick slice of cheesecake – extra cream please. Crap parents feed kids crap food 24/7.

Crap, crap, crap.

That’s what we feed our kids and how we act as parents.

Let me brag for a minute…

Many moons ago we took our youngest daughter to Wendy’s. We were driving up in New Hampshire and decided to stop for a quick bite on our way back. It was going to be our first time at Wendy’s. The youngest one was so excited. Wendy’s! Yeah! She loved the ad with the guy and the weird hair. It must be good! She ordered her burger and fries. Big eyes and all excited – jumping up and down. “I’m gonna have a Wendy’s!” And then the food came…

“Where’s my broccolili?” What she calls broccoli. That was her first question. She didn’t touch the burger because she thought it was crap. Hum… Not her exact words but you get my drift. We haven’t been back since. She doesn’t like crap. And she doesn’t take crap. She’s an African all right.

Six days a week she gets a proper meal at dinner that includes at least two vegetables. And she LOVES broccoli. And peas. And carrots. And she eats a good breakfast. And most of the time she gets food made and packed by my lovely wife for her school lunch and snack. Yes. Home made stuff. I know… It is way out there in crunchy-hippie world for most people…

Once a week we eat crap. A pizza on a Saturday or some burgers. Guess what? Most of the time we make those hamburgers or pizzas ourselves. Hand-made patties and dough. And they help me make the food when I cook crap. It’s part of the fun. And it tastes better than the crap from the joint down the road. Oh, did I mention we spend time together doing this?

Sometimes we order out or we eat out. It is seen as a “treat” when things are crazy otherwise. Maybe Olive Garden or Uno’s where the girls can still make their own pizza. Whatever. It’s a break and not the norm.

And our kids eat what we eat.

We cook dinner for all of us and eat together – all of us. It is the highlight of my day. I get home and we sit together as a family and talk crap instead of eat crap, drive my lovely suffering wife crazy and eat our food. Together. A family. You give our kids the option of eating in front of the telly or at the table together and they choose…. The table! Even when we parents want to sit back and veg in front of the idiot-box and eat our food from a tray… They don’t want that. They insist we sit together as a family around the table. Ha! I am more popular than Spongebob Squarepants! And they are only 5 and 11… Teaching us about parenting.

And we all eat the same food.

How can parents make different food for the kids? You should eat a proper meal if you are old enough to talk. Not some crappy hot dog or a mac ‘n cheese. You are feeding them crap and then you wonder why they get fat or get sick easily. Or do you eat crap to start off with? Why all this crap?

Because it is crap! The food and you!

I am no model parent but this I know. My kids eat healthy food and enjoy eating healthy food because that is what we all eat together as a family. They make a link between broccolili and dad and mom sitting with them around the table and eating – and having fun as a family together. They see good food and think of good times. They compliment their mother (and sometimes me) on the food they have every night without anyone asking. Why? Because they actually like the food!

We already joke when the little one asks, “What are we having for dinner mom?” And you can say anything – chicken with carrots and honey, tomato bredie (stew), goggas (spaghetti bolognese) or whatever. She’ll always have the same reply… “I looove tomato bredie” Or whatever we are having.

They eat crap as well. They are kids. But we know what they need daily to keep them healthy and keep us being healthy parents.

Feed your kids crap and be surprised that they get called “fatty” at school? Who is the stupid one now?

Don’t even get me started on education. Everyone wants education to improve. A better school. A better chance for their kids. “Just get my kid a good school and education. You know a chance to make it in this world.”

Okay, but how about parenting. How about you starting to become a parent? Too many parents see the school taking over the role of the parents. Your responsibility towards your kids does not stop when the kid goes off to school. Being a parent isn’t something you hand over. You take responsibility of that. Sort your parenting out before you start bitching about education. Guess what… Education today is better than what it was 100 years ago – Parenting not.

Do you read to your kid at night? Do you help with the homework instead of ignoring them or (even worse) doing their homework with them? Do you take time to be interested in showing them the wonders of snow? Or point at the stars and the full moon? Maybe hunt for treasure in the forest or park? Turn over stones to see what is hiding? Or ask them what they’ve done at school? Or little things like coloring in with them? Or do you spend your time with them creating more crap?

Crap food. Crap education. It starts where? You guessed it…

All this crap starts with… Parenting.

Parents eat crap. Parents watch crap. Parents learn nothing. Parents do nothing. And the kids follow them down to the gallows.

Fat kids and stupid parents. They go hand in hand.

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Or should I say – chubby. No, still not politically correct. Hum, help me out here people. Maybe something like challenged by gravity. Nah. Let’s go for some French style – food seduce youngster. I really don’t mind what you call it. The fact is that kids are getting fatter by the day. And we wonder why?

The UK just reported that “despite millions of pounds of government money and a stream of media messages, children are more unfit than ever“. I lived in the UK for 4 years and can tell you why they have an obesity problem in the UK (and I bet the same goes for the US). An obesity problem that will kill their children at a faster rate each year. And the problem is pretty obvious. And the solution not that difficult either. Just get out of your nanny-state mindset and look at the problem – and how you are part of it.

For starters – you spend millions of pounds on a stream of media messages. Jeez, really guys. The kids are doing what when you send these messages out? They are sitting on their backsides watching Spongebob Squarepants or Back at the Barnyard (clue – I have kids). And they use the ad break (when you send THAT message of don’t eat to much crap) to quickly run and get a bite to eat. Thanks for giving them a break in between programs to go and fill up. And they don’t sit and read The Guardian or watch BBC News. No. Not rocket science guys. But it happens when a bunch of politicians tries to come up with good ideas – it never ends in good ideas. Same thing happens when Spongebob’s best friend Patrick tries to think. But at least it is funny when he does it. No. You have to get the message into those programs they watch and not in the break in between. Spongebob – guess what he does for a living? He makes hamburgers… What do the kids want for dinner? Krabby-patties the way Spongebob makes it. Just run down to the local McDonald’s to get some then… You have to get Spongebob to make good food fun. Don’t you try it. You will come up with another boring program telling kids what to do. And that doesn’t work. You are not the role model and neither will the character that you invent. Get the cool people who created Spongebob come up with the idea. That’s what they do best. Make eating fruit fun. Not the dreary faces telling people how bad that burger is. That ain’t gonna work. Get with it baby. Be cool and be hip (that is so 80s saying that). Sorry, be hot and be bad. But just don’t put your messages in the wrong place or in the wrong mouth.

But don’t jump on the “blame junk-food” bandwagon. That’s the easy way out. Yes, ban them where you want – I don’t care. Think that will stop kids? It will be like banning porn – the challenge for kids to get it will be just more pronounced. “I dare you to go and buy a hamburger”. Sell bad food like cigarettes or beer and see if that works. Those kids who drink and smoke will now have another thing to try and get – a nice fatty hamburger. And they can try to sell as many salads and apple slices as they want. That is not what the kids want. It is just a way to get the kids there at a young age. They’ll switch to the Big Mac sooner or later. No. Banning them or forcing them to be more responsible won’t work. The best way is to get kids not to want to go there in the first place. Make them the Evil Empire Zurg. Give people a Spiderman toy when they don’t go there. Not when they go there. Get kids to go and play in the park instead.

Of course it doesn’t help that you sold off the school sport grounds for development. More and more acres of sporting facilities are lost each year. Why? Because school funding has gone down the drain. And schools must come up with their own money. And since you gave them power over the assets – what did you expect them to do? Plant a money tree? Easy choice – fire more teachers and give even worse education to the kids or sell some assets? Sell the assets. Who’ll notice? Oh, the fat kid in the corner? He’s just to lazy to do anything. Comes home from school and lives in the high-rise block of flats with no playground. Can’t play in the streets anymore. This isn’t the 50s you know. There are cars in the streets now. Let’s get out the house for a bit and meet up with our friends at the mall for a shake and a burger. Rocket science? I think not. Just stupid government policies and lack of vision.

Instead of playing outside we have to give the kids new distractions to keep them off the streets. Sky, iPod and Wii (at least some action). Nothing else to do but sit in front of the idiot-box and watch a bit of Charlie and Lola I guess. And Lola likes what? Pink shakes. Ever wondered why the young yobs outside are all so thin? No, it’s not because of the cigarettes they smoke. And for sure not the beers they drink. It’s because they are outside. Yes, they might be trowing bricks at windows and spraying graffiti on walls. But they are outside and active – nice and fit from the running away from the coppers. We can learn more from the yobs than from the government messages. Get outside and run, baby, run.

But it is not just the stupid government ideas that should be blamed. No. Parents are just as guilty – if not more. I saw them while in the UK. Sitting and watching Neighbours instead of cooking or doing something with the kids. You sit there and eat your fatty fish and chips from the chippy. And drink your five beers in the pub at night. And what do you think your kids are doing? Huh, I don’t know. I gave them a fiver to go and buy some food. Or, at best, I cooked them some pizza and/or mechanically recovered chicken pieces – all deep-fried. Get off your lazy butts and go and do something with your kids. They are your kids. Not government kids. Take responsibility and act like you care. Eat together and talk together. You live under the same roof and should wake up and smell the burning fat. Go outside and kick a ball or take a walk in the many parks you have. Hell, you can even drive them there if you really have to. But don’t expect government to do everything for you. Be proud man. Are you the same nation who fought two wars? I doubt it. Just grow up and do what is right for you kids. Or else they will turn out just like you. And before you ask – yes, that is a bad option for them. And for your country.

You want to know how to deal with obesity in kids? Just let them play. Just let them play outside. Just let them play outside and have fun. Just let them play outside and have fun and live a full life. Not a full body.

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