A little off the beaten track today but having spent the morning with a group of bigger tots than mine, tots and how they twinkle is becoming of great concern to me. I began as a volunteer today at an equestrian centre in a program for children at a special school. Students are required to attend after having had difficulties handling the mainstream curriculum in the country. Admission to the school is based on at least two failed attempts at the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). So, these children fail primary school and are then pulled from the system. We were briefed that they are generally difficult, troubled and underachievers with hyperactivity disorders and ADHD. These are heavy labels for an eleven-year-old to have to lug around from such a young age.
My group of twelve were laughing, perfectly natural, normal kids. Some a little shy and reserved on the first day, and some louder with all the answers, trying to steal the show. Ok, so it's the first day and I could have landed myself the best of a bad bunch. Inquisitive, excited around the horses, eager to touch them, giggles and a twinkle in their eye.
Mid morning, a teacher appeared announcing snack time and little ravenous bodies clambered forward in a race to fill tummies. Forty two plastic wrappers were torn open and without even looking at what was going into their mouths, long hot dog buns filled with chocolate cream were swallowed in four bites. Four bites of not one single whole food.
In just a couple of generations, it seems we have a lot of research to do regarding processed and refined foods, and the sheer devestation it is causing to our health. We expect children to grow and live happy, healthy lives when we blindly mandate food on them in the name of busy lives, trust in the system, advertising and social conformity. The little people we love the most are filling growing bodies with school snacks made from dough conditioner, potato flake, bread improver, permitted food flavouring chocolate (billiant blue fcf 42090), dextrose monohydrate, emulsifier e420 (sorbitol) and propylene glycol e1520.
How is it that we choke our little people's bodies with a concoction of non-whole foods and then label them as hyperactive and ADHD?