by Victoria Herrera

These days, way too many people are finding themselves with fatty liver disease and, in the vast majority of cases, this is because of their diet. It seems strange to me that people don’t really believe that their daily diet of highly processed, convenience food – which is super high in sugar and industrial seed oils – means that they are actually walking a very scary, yet quite deliberate, path to ill health – regardless of their age.

I remember when I was in my teens and early adulthood, it seemed to me that I, and almost everyone else I knew, could eat what we wanted without worrying about those ‘middle age’ type health problems that younger people today often suffer from . . .  you know the ones I mean – things such as abdominal weight gain, aches and pains, foggy head and tiredness to name but a few.

Of course, we did not have the kind of sedentary lifestyle that many people have these days – stumble out of bed, check their smart phone, drive (or be driven) to their daily activity, sit down and work (study) then home to sit and watch tv or play on their smart phones, then fall into bed (while constantly checking their phone for any last ‘social’ goings on that just can’t be missed).

While this kind of lifestyle, no doubt, makes some difference to our bottom line (pun intended), I don’t believe it fully explains why we are now seeing children younger than 10 who are overweight and who suffer with not only fatty liver but other health problems such as skin rashes, memory problems, sleep disturbances and a wide range of other complaints that just did not seem to be as prevalent when I was a kid. In fact, many of these health issues, such as unsightly rashes or eczema, can negatively affect a person’s self esteem as well, which then leads to a whole new set of problems.

Surely, living in the 21st Century, our children should be healthier and happier than ever before? Why then, are so many suffering from diseases like obesity and, especially, fatty liver – a disease which used to be mainly found in older, chronic alcoholics.

There seems to be a mad, crazy rush to vaccinate our kids against illnesses like measles and mumps – illnesses which I and most of my friends had, my own kids also had, and we all survived. This is not a post about vaccination as such – just an observation . . .  Why is there such a spotlight on these diseases which, even when there is an outbreak, really only seriously affect relatively few children? What about getting serious about fatty liver disease and the part it is playing in the health problems it is causing our children?

In Australia, 15 percent of school children have Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and this rises to 30 percent in adults. Those statistics should stun you, should have our medical professionals jumping through hoops trying to find answers and turn back this terrible tide. Unfortunately, despite the now overwhelming evidence that it is the food we are feeding our kids which is a leading cause of the majority of the obesity and NAFLD problems, authorities still allow the types of foods which are directly causing harm to be sold.

When I was young, take away food was a real treat and we only had it once or twice a month. Most meals were home cooked and contained fresh protein (meat, chicken, fish) and three vegetables (again, freshly cooked). Mum had a garden out the back and we got a real kick out of eating the vegetables she had grown herself (except for the broad beans – I hated them!)

Now, everywhere you turn, you will see advertising for the kinds of foods that cause long term, physical harm – and this advertising is often aimed at children. There is no limit to how much of this junk food you can buy either – you can fill your kids up on a diet of sugary cereal for breakfast, sugary snacks, sugary junk food filled with industrial fats for lunch and dinner and then add in lots of sugary drinks all day, every day and no one will come and tell you to stop.

No government mandate that if you don’t stop harming your kids with this kind of food that your much needed welfare payments will stop (unlike the vaccination push).

Fatty liver and the internal inflammation that comes with the modern Western diet are causing horrific health problems for people of all ages. Science now proves that sugar is public enemy number one yet you can go and buy as much as you want, as often as you want. You can make yourself and your family sick on it and there is no law against it.

How does this make sense? Who is really in charge here?

Come on mums and dads, nannas and grandpas, educate yourself about fatty liver and how it has a real potential to shorten the lives of those it affects. Make the choice to be the best possible example for your family and change your sugary, junk food habits now.

The excuses we tout about being time poor, or how ‘good food’ costs too much are not going to be much consolation when our beloved kids are sick and getting sicker.

Find ways to better organise your time; ask for help if necessary, make family meal times more about family and less about rushing. It might not be the easiest change you ever make, but it certainly will be one of the most beneficial to every member of your family. Real food does not have to cost the earth – there are many cheaper cuts of meat you can cook in a slow cooker which not only taste incredible but also offer a nutritional ‘leg up’ for everyone’s health. Even if you live in an apartment, you can grow some healthy herbs in small pots to add to your meals for extra goodness and taste.

It is no good just talking the talk – you know children learn by example, so you need to lead the way to their healthier life. You will end up looking and feeling better yourself – win=win!

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