Shocking news: I wasn’t always the coolest kid on the block. In fact I used to be a total dork: I LOVED the library. My cousin will never let me live down this one time when I begged her to take me to the library because “I love studying”. Ah well you know what they say: don’t make fun of dorks, he/she could be your boss one day! Whilst doing some virtual exercise (i.e. ‘surfing’ the net ) I came across an article which brought me back to Library class during elementary school. Once a week, we would have a storytelling session with the librarian (inside voices naturally)! Let’s get a show of hands of everyone who read/was read to The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
More than a mere whiff of nostalgia, this book is now being used as part of an anti-obesity campaign in the US. More than 17,500 pediatricians’ offices and schools are to receive copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to convey a few important messages about healthy eating. The idea is to enable children to make more nutritious choices and lead healthier lives. In case you aren’t aware of the book’s story, here’s a recap:
Between Monday and Friday, the caterpillar eats his way through mass amounts of fruit because he’s constantly hungry. On Saturday, his hunger gets the best of him and leads to a binge: chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, some salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, one sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. Following this excessive intake of saturated fat, sodium and high-fructose corn syrup, he is diagnosed with gastroesophogeal reflux disease and begins a regimen of proton pump inhibitors….just kidding! That night, as Eric Carle reports, “he had a stomachache!” After eating ‘one nice green leaf’ on Sunday, the very hungry caterpillar feels ‘much better’. Unsurprisingly, eating all that food on Saturday leads the caterpillar to become ‘a big fat caterpillar’. After hibernating in his cocoon for 2 weeks, the caterpillar learns his lesson and blossoms into a beautiful butterfly.
Although this book is aimed at children, I think it’s also a great teaching tool for adults. We read millions of books, magazines, blogs etc in the quest for some magical secret on how to eat healthily or what to eat to lose weight. Rather than rack our brains over this ongoing conundrum, we can take a page out of The Hungry Caterpillar: healthy eating is not rocket science. As the book illustrates, it’s as simplistic as:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Don’t overdo high-fat/high-sugary foods if you don’t want to bear the consequences
- Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full
- Portion control
- You will bear the cumulative effects of excessive consumption: obesity
- To minimize the terrible side-effects of a binge, eat natural foods like vegetables
- Obesity can be overturned despite how difficult/impossible it may seem initially