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Current Affairs | Nick Coffer | My Daddy Cooks

When did we start to demonise food?

So exactly when did we start to demonise food? When did food become the common enemy? When did food become such an easy stick to beat parents – and their children – with? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for trying to help children eat good diets, consisting of freshly made food. For years now, I have been a vocal advocate of doing all we can to try to ensure children have a healthy relationship around food – and I believe this begins right from the days of weaning them as babies. But surely the pendulum is starting to swing too far the other way? If we are not careful, the messages we are sending out to our children of some food being *bad* and some food being *good* risks condemning a generation of children to an unhealthy relationship around food – exactly the opposite to what we are trying to achieve today. This week, a school in Essex has started to remove things from children’s packed lunch boxes. Scotch Eggs? Too high in fat. Pepperami? Too processed. How must the children feel? Suddenly there is a sense of shame around their lunch boxes, and it’s a public shame at that. And shame is not a good feeling around food. In the wrong, vulnerable minds, surely such outright control around food cannot be healthy? When control itself is at the heart of many eating disorders (at both ends of the spectrum, for both anorexia and bulimia), do we really want to be introducing such control around food for young minds? What is wrong with taking a balanced, middle ground?...

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