How exciting it is to be able to showcase our third guest blogger, Joy from Healthy Eating For Healthy Living Tips. Joy is from the UK and is highly credentialed in nutrition with lots of free health information on her sites. Her research topic for her nutrition work was migraine and nutrition. Joy has graciously offered to share one of her food stories so let’s see what she has to say!
Delighted to be invited to write on “Food Stories”, thanks. Pondering “where to start” I finally decided to share a story about food that happened to our family in the 1950s.
My Mum and Nan were both excellent cooks, so the family enjoyed three home cooked meals a day, every day. Breakfast was often bacon and eggs; most lunches involved three courses, with hearty portions of meat, potatoes and two or three vegetables – often followed by my favourite suet puddings and lashings of custard. And none of these prissy starters you see these days – a good plateful of Yorkshire Pudding with gravy (or treacle) was OUR appetiser. “Tea” was often a yummy sugar sandwich – with butter, of course. Friday was always “fish” day.
Despite the generous portions of what would now be termed unhealthy food, none of the family were obese in the way that so many adults and youngsters are today. I wonder why? Could it be because:
• We walked to and from school
• School included “outside sports” every day, rain or shine (however much I hated it)
• My after school activities included helping Mum with the cleaning
• I felt “grown-up” working weekends and evenings in the family shop (open 15 hours a day), on my feet all day – sitting down was unheard of. It was a sweet shop and often I was given permission to choose some chocolate as “a little treat”
• Duties over, I went out to play “skipping” etc with friends
• TV? No way. That was an adult activity after sis and I went to bed
• Fizzy drinks? Two bottles for the whole family delivered(!) to us once a week – regular drinks were tea or water
• Take-aways? The only take-away we’d heard of was the fish and chip shop
• Snacks / crisps? There was always fresh fruit on the table
• Did you spot those regular eggs and vegetables? Collected daily from the corner store (reachable on foot)
We were usually exhausted by the long hours in the family shop, but these days, particularly working in the family business, were the happiest of my life.
My Mum and Dad are still in pretty good health, coming up to their 90th birthdays. My Nan passed away of old age in her early 90s. My “Gang” made it to his mid-eighties. My funny food story about Gang was when he cooked fish and chips for the whole family on impulse at 3 in the morning once when he couldn’t sleep. Everyone was duly woken up, ate it, and then presumably went back to sleep again.
One cloud on the horizon of our happy and food-focused family was that my sister (who hopefully won’t mind me sharing this) was a frail child with several health problems. This wasn’t helped by the fact that she flatly refused to eat. (Don’t worry it has a happy ending – she’s fit and healthy now, a superb cook and eats the most balanced diet in our family.)
Her lack of interest in food drove the whole (adult) family to distraction. Me? I didn’t mind – I got her leftovers and was a “bonny lass” – Yorkshire euphemism for “plump but not gross”.
The concern for my fragile sister escalated into several visits to the doctor because my Mum was concerned that practically the only things sis would eat were tomatoes and mushrooms.
The doctor shook his head gravely and pronounced that was not a healthy diet, which I can’t take issue with! Then he followed it up with “Mushrooms have NO nutritional food value whatsoever” and his advice was to “Put a sugar pastille in a glass of milk three times a day and she’ll drink it to get the sweet. That’ll soon fatten her up”. (My sister isn’t stupid; she fished the pastille out with a spoon, munched it happily and tipped the milk down the sink.)
Despite all the fuss and “bad diets” we both grew up fit and healthy. I’ve never been what you’d call slender but I only weigh a few pounds more now than I was at my chubbiest in school, and one day I noticed that the rest of the world seems to have got fatter around me.
The doctor who recommended pastilles, milk and “shame about the mushrooms” was only doing his best with the knowledge at the time. He was a kindly soul and never missed buying his 20 cigarettes a day from the family shop.
Funny how life turns out. Fast forward fifty years, and here I am, still a confirmed workaholic and chocoholic, writing a blog about healthy eating and the research behind it. Some of my recent posts have been about whether milk is a good food for building bones (or not!) and an interesting series I might resurrect – having been reminded by these ramblings – about clinical trials into the anti-cancer properties of mushrooms.
Not to mention the fact that my nutrition course enthused about mushrooms as a good source of easily absorbed, high quality vegetable protein. They are also brimming with B vitamins and essential minerals. For those of us not enthusiastic cooks – they’re dead easy to prepare!