I fell in love just a little bit with chef Pete Evans on the weekend. In a stalker-ish kind of way of course, not a forever-after kind of way. The first reason was that he swore on stage in front of a room of nearly a thousand mostly women. Brilliant.
Then there was his ability to cop all the criticism that’s been laid at his feet, or at his activated nuts actually, from the mainstream media about his diet and what he eats. In case you missed it, he was ridiculed after revealing in an interview his clean-eating high-nutrition ways, which included eating activated almonds. There’s been a few jokes about Pete’s activated nuts and it was great to see him throwing some of them around (jokes that is, not nuts!).
He was refreshingly candid, relaxed and beautifully off-the-cuff. It didn’t hurt any that he has a wicked smile and doesn’t look half-bad.
We were at the first ever Institute for Integrative Nutrition conference in Australia – we both studied the holistic nutrition course at the same time – and Pete was the first speaker.
He mentioned the fact that chefs – the people we rely on these days to teach us to cook – receive the same amount of nutrition education as doctors (the people we rely on for health and wellness advice) – zilch. Be mindful of who you choose to follow and emulate.
I nodded my head in agreement all along his presentation, but it was his points about sugar and looking after children that really made me feel he was the best thing since high speed blenders.
He talked of how he feels about his daughters – aged the same as my kids, nine and seven – eating junk food and sugar. He spoke of how he tries to teach them what real food is and how to differentiate between fake food and the good stuff. He could have been reading from my script.
Feeding kids sugar at parties and as ‘treats’ he likened to feeding them cocaine and creating addicts. The damage is being done early he said. And he’s right. Sugar is addictive. Handing out sweets to little kids isn’t spoiling them, it’s poisoning them (they’re my words) and setting them up to have a sweet-tooth, ill-health and weight issues.
He told the most awesome story about how he explained to his girls why he feels the way he does about it. I retold the story to my kids and even though they know how I feel, this story really helped them ‘get’ where mummy is coming from. I shared the story with some of the mums at school and they were going to share it with their kids too. It’s that good a story.
So I’m going to repeat it here. I don’t think Pete will mind. He seems a pretty cool bloke.
He said to his girls: “If I was to give you bunnies, as pets, and you knew that to look after them they needed fresh lettuce and vegetables and fruits – that they needed all that sort of food to stay healthy and live a long time, would you give it to them?”
The girls of course said: “Yes!”
Then he said: “And if you had some lollies or candy in your pocket, and you knew that if you fed it to your bunnies they might get sick, or it might hurt them, or stop them from living a long, long time, would you feed it to them?”
The girls said: “No! Of course not.”
“Well,” said dad. “You two are my bunnies.”
How beautiful is that! My kids understood immediately better than they ever have, why I feel the way I do about junk food and why I choose what I do for them. I have heard them talking amongst themselves about being my bunnies.
It is complete madness that we wouldn’t feed our pets products that would hurt them, but think nothing of giving it to our kids or eating it ourselves.
There’s another reason I quite like Pete: he listens to 80s music when he cooks. Man, could he get any better?
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