A few years ago we discovered how important it is to take the extra time to learn why we need to eat fresh food that grows in front of our eyes. Since then, I’ve aimed to teach parents to teach their children that it’s simple to grow and eat real food and that it’s easy to decipher the difference between REAL FOOD and FOOD-LIKE PRODUCTS (or FAKE FOODS) – and to even turn this deciphering into a fun game with children.
Like many parents of today, in my childhood and early adult years I experienced a very common detachment from the food-growing process. Sure, I played a part in a home vegetable garden, egg collecting and mulberry picking. Like many young adults, I was taught to buy food from the supermarket… the fancy packaging and cheaper prices equaled better buys.
And then, a few short years into our own parenting journey, our smothered-with-love 6yo Rhodesian Ridgeback died suddenly from poisoning in the blood, ‘perhaps cancer’, where her liver and kidneys failed and she collapsed before our eyes. We opened our eyes. I then discovered through my own research and enquiry that what we put into and onto our bodies MAKES A DIFFERENCE. My research moved past the ideal dog’s diet (which I learned is NOT dog biscuits!) and what I would always do to ensure optimal health in my pets, to the food I was putting into my own body and my children’s bodies. Through tears of sadness, I became very grateful for the message our beautiful dog had sent us.
I learned about the problems with pre-prepared foods that had traveled thousands of klm’s and had been packaged with additives, or had been treated with heat and refined so heavily that all the nutritious content was gone – and some of the ingredients had even turned toxic! Common foods that we ate very day – starting with cooking oils, through to table spreads, to sauces, to milks, and meats. I threw out many items in my pantry without a care to the cost. That food no longer had a place in our life.
I also learned about the problem with our society’s over-consumption of, and addiction to, the processed commodity of sugar. I studied and reported on my experience overcoming sugar-addiction, and the results within our family in advancing on to real sweet foods (aka, fruit) that have amazing benefits – for our body’s health as well as our mental health.
I realised that over my life, I had been apart of the complete and devastating unawareness of our body’s true design (with many influential people in society – teachers, doctors, specialists, parents), and as a result I had supported other people in believing that our bodies could tolerate eating ANYTHING.
In so many ways, our society still supports us in eating recklessly. For many, it doesn’t matter what goes in the body so long as the stomach ends up full and our craving for ‘sweet’ or ‘salty’ is satisfied. If it’s on the shelf at the shops, it must be alright, right? (And for shop-keepers: if the customer wants it, it must be supplied).
While enormous progress is being made, our society still generally believes that healthy food is gourmet and expensive. That cheaper, colourful food made with sugar and paint is a ‘special treat’. That hunger-satisfaction comes out of packets. That cakes, chips and biscuits are more fun and tasty than fruit and vegetables and are OK to have as ‘sometimes foods’ for special occasions (and for a bribe). How many people haven’t realised that the word JUNK FOOD or TRASH was created for these fake-foods because they are quite literally not food and would be better put INTO THE BIN? It took me almost 30 years to finally understand the meaning of JUNK FOOD.
What we want now is a society that teaches our children that our bodies are not rubbish bins! Our bodies are the most important houses we will ever live in. Our bodies are the only house that will ever matter.
From a parent’s perspective, I’ve learned, and I continue to study, that our bodies are designed to eat fresh natural foods to function optimally for a positive, happy and enjoyable life – fruit and vegetables, honey, sea vegetables, etc. I’ve learned clever ways to increase our children’s passion for eating healthy real foods and for teaching them to say “NO” to fake food because we care about US.
And now, I’m so thrilled to share that I have published a colourful, quality Australian-produced children’s book to help parents communicate to children that Real food is Wonder-Full.
I have so passionately written this book. I have never felt more passionate about anything in my life. Every word was carefully written, re-written, pondered over, to pass on to our most loved, treasured gifts, our children, that the environment LOVES THEM and PROVIDES THEM the food their body is DESIGNED TO EAT.
This illustrated Children’s Story, which is all about the magic of real treats growing in our very own garden, imparts a message of ‘giving thanks for our food’ to instil positive thoughts and beliefs in our children. It takes our children on an adventure to see the magic and wonder of real food growing. It teaches them that we need to care for our environment and appreciate the process, as it is what will support us in our long and happy lives.
Dusty’s Wonder Bug is a 40-page illustrated large-format book in print, with an audio CD in the back cover that features me reading the story and playing the piano. The audio CD runs for 15 minutes and is a peaceful rest-time melody, which often puts my children to sleep as we drive in the car or cuddle in bed, letting them dream a little with the story-line about discovering food growing in nature.
When it came to the printing of this book, my husband and I decided to bypass printing off-shore in China with a cheaper rate, and instead support local workers and receive an exceptional Australian-first-class product. The biggest concern for me was the process of producing the book and ensuring the paper was sourced using Australian forestry-approved standards. We ensured that we had the Australian Forestry Approved guarantee. Rather than outsource the task of illustrating to cheap and competitive websites off-shore, I proudly recruited an Australian friend and former colleague for the best-quality illustrations I could get. Bryn Rayfield, as you will see in this book, has created sensational pictures that are being adored, right now, by a collection of children who already have their copy. Bryn Rayfield has made this wonder-full dream a reality and I will be grateful to him forever.
Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)
Joanna Haley, Author