This is a message is for anyone who may find it useful. It is also on our Blog here
Father’s Day is coming up and every year I relish in the glory of being a Dad. I'm humbled by the role I play in my kids' lives and the role I play in our family.
My life has been shaped by my interactions with you, my customers. I’ve met a wide range of people, from all backgrounds, and I’ve come to realize that our relationship with food has a major impact on our role as a father.
Being the best father, and human for that matter, that I can has much to do with how well prepared I am to lead our kids. I understand that we all have different ideas and goals for our kids however something that I hope we can all agree on is that kids deserve to thrive.
Modern-day North American type ‘kid food’ does not help kids thrive - actually far from it. Most western food that a child would ‘choose’ (fatty, salty, sugar, processed) to eat is damaging to them, physically and mentally. Strangely, as adults, we don't always eat the food that allows us to thrive, and our kids will do as we do.
Here is my point - with Father’s Day this coming weekend, this is a great time to take stock. To reflect on how simple food choices can make huge impacts on the ones we love the most.
The data is clear: Kids eating a typical western diet perform worse academically, suffer from more emotional instability and can even develop early signs of heart disease - as kids!
As parents, we’re absolutely concerned about our kids' health, and to many, we’re concerned about where they get their protein. 99% of North American kids (and adults) get 150% or more of their protein requirements where 97% of kids get 15% or less of recommended fibre. This is a huge problem. This means that 99% of North American kids are eating more than enough meat, dairy, and processed foods - which all are lacking fibre - and not eating anywhere near enough whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils.
What is the importance of fibre and why does this matter so much?
I've added a list of resources at the end of the message with links to some of the most thorough health and diet information you can find. It's becoming abundantly clear, and proven, the role that fibre plays in overall physical and mental health. It seems incredibly simplified but simply increasing your fibre intake and reducing your non-fibre intake could have incredible health benefits to you and your family. It sure has for me and mine.
It’s on you, Dad.
I’ve heard over and over throughout my 25+ years of selling cookware and talking cooking; ‘oh, I’d love to eat more whole foods but my husband loves the way we eat’. Dad - a major improvement in your life and the life of your children could rest solely in your hands. You just might have a willing partner if you spend the time required to make your family's health a priority.
I don't want to wade into domestic issues or tell anyone that they are not doing a good job as a parent, however, we have come to a time in history that there is now so much overwhelming evidence that the way that we have developed eating in North America has made us all fatter, weaker, and sicker than we should be, including our kids.
For the first time in the last 100 years, the average age span is predicted to go down. Why? Modern desires that are caused by lifestyle choices, or more simply, what we eat.
In past newsletters I’ve shared some of my favourite books on health, and healthy cookbooks. I believe that eating more plants helps all humans live a fuller life but I do not believe that everyone must be a ‘Vegan’ to be their best self. That’s unrealistic and unreasonable, and science does not fully support that narrow concept. The reality is, however, that symbiosis is essential to our health. If you are eating a fairly typical North American diet then I suggest you dig deep into a plant-predominant approach to fully understand how to find a better balance. Incorporating more vegetables into your diet, and especially your children's diet, will make you all healthier. Do it for them, as they will definitely not do it on their own if they’ve grown up eating a standard North American diet.
I’m an endurance athlete, who can bang off running 50km of trails on any given day. This was not always the case - In my 20’s I was a fat unmotivated loser (that's how I felt anyway). I had zero cardo fitness and even less muscle mass and lived to go out with the guys and have fun all the time.
The day I realized that I was going to live a life of misery as a fat out-of-shape loser was my game-changing moment. The fun had worn out. For the last 25+ years, I've taken hundreds of baby steps to build enduring health. Not an easy path but definitely worth it.
Over the years I’ve found motivation in many forms but nothing is stronger than my desire to be the best Dad. This means being physically and mentally capable of meeting whatever challenge parenting offers me.
I’ve been drawn to others who have taken similar paths as there are endless stories of people, like me, who lived dangerous lives and came around to health out of necessity.
I’ve mentioned Rich Roll before and I will again today. In a very timely episode he hosts the authors of a brand new book, ‘The Plant Based Athlete’. This could be a very helpful resource for you if you’re inspired to get fit or reach new heights.
Here too is an interesting and influential Podcast from Australia, called ‘Plant Proof’. A man named Simon Hill interviews all types of people from all over the world and this week he interviewed a Nutritional Doctor from Vancouver, Dr. Matthew Nagra. They spoke about that important subject, protein, which as we know is the main concern of a westerner when contemplating transitioning to a plant-centric diet.
Get the Podcast here:
I hope these scant resources help in any small way. There is so much overwhelming messaging from every part of our lives, however, what I can confirm is how important a father’s mental and physical health is to their family unit. Taking the first steps to set the direction of a family could have astounding life long results.
I hope you have a wonderful Fathers Day.
Author's note: I’ve written this post as a message to anyone who takes a dominant role in a family unit. Change ‘Dad’ to whatever you want. This is not a ‘man to man’ message.
I’ve witnessed all types of family arrangements but one theme is fairly constant. There’s usually one person who takes control of the family direction in regards to food. I’m not referring to the primary cook of the house but to the most dominant personality. This message is intended for anyone who has this responsibility and may not be making the best food choices for that unit to thrive
Further resources (some of which I used as a reference for this email)
Dr. Michael Gregor:
Dr T Colin Campbel Nutrition Course
(I have taken these and highly recommend them):
Plantstrong - an excellent starting resource:
Dr. Fuhrman’s Books:
But most specifically this one for kids:
True North Health Centre:
Dr Will Bulsiewicz:
This is the most complete resource on the importance of fibre
This is just a small fraction of super high-quality resources. If you are serious about improving your diet then I HIGHLY suggest you find a local Naturopathic Doctor.
A few are:
Vancouver: Dr. Matthew Nagra
Victoria: Dr. Jordan Morton
Surrey/Whiterock: Dr. Brendan Byrne
Use this link to find one in BC
Or other parts of Canada here