With a friend at a local eatery for breakfast the other morning I observed a grandma and grandpa seated with their son and a grandson who was about three years old. I should point out here that both grandma and grandpa were definitively obese, filling their chairs with overhang. The son is on the road but has not yet arrived. The grandson was not even overweight. All three adults are enthusiastically helping this boy decide what to eat.
“Do you want biscuits and gravy? That’s really good. Or a waffle is really good.” Grandson settled on biscuits and gravy and the adults apparently thought that was a grand idea because they ordered the same. And somewhere along the line a piece of pie arrived at the table. This is adults leading a child toward “blossom time.”
My friend “John” loves to point out adults who have “blossomed.” His favorites are women he knows who got married when they were slim and then blossomed into fat women. He gives me real examples of slim and trim young adults who have blossomed into overweight, not obese exactly, just carrying 25 lbs more than they did in their youth.
John has always believed that all that extra fat is caused by eating too much. It has taken a bit of time for me to convince him that volume was less important than the food choices made. That thought brings me back to the restaurant.
“Pete”, another friend of John’s, joined us to chat. He was wearing a heart monitor and he explained that he had been having symptoms including fits of dizziness and had once actually passed out in the chair at the restaurant. His doctor (can’t tell you how impressed I am with this doctor) told him to cut out fried food, soft drinks, and flour and Pete is sticking to it very hard. He is limiting himself to one soda, one order of fried food, and one slice of pie per week.
He was a little confused about flour, pretty surprised that boxed waffle mix was still flour. Take note here. Once you cut out flour, table sugar just seems to fade away. Anyway his doctor’s simple directions to a compliant patient have done their job. He has lost 30 pounds.
Flour is very important to my story because that is essentially all that family next to me was eating. Biscuits are made from flour. Gravy is made with flour. In fact waffles (and pancakes) are made from flour. Flour is simply the carbohydrate sugar in wheat, refined down so that any nutritional potential is gone. So you can consider that each of their breakfasts was several nice servings of sugar with a small side of fat. If they had gotten waffles (which are also made from flour) they would no doubt have also had syrup, resulting in more sugar with maybe a bit less fat.
I suspect this meal is reflective of the eating habits of this family. Certainly their girth is so reflective. It isn’t how much they ate at this meal. It’s just that all they ate was SUGAR. Give it time and that nice, slender little three year old will “blossom” into an unhealthy, fat child.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry); chairman of the Tasty Acre project; and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her website is http://allaboutthefood.org/