Sunday, May 19, 2013
Transferring the Plant--Transferring My Research to My Life
Hello all! I just returned from a bike ride with my little brother where I saw a small group of kids (probably elementary or early middle school) at a fast food restaurant up the street from my house. Wyatt and I had biked up to the grocery store and it was scary what I had begun to notice. The items that so many people chose to purchase were calorie, sugar, sodium and fat loaded processed foods. Next to nothing was fresh food. Now do not get me wrong, I, too, munch on the occasional potato chip, packaged cookie or bowl of ice cream, but the extent of these foods for so many Americans is ridiculous. About half of our "food dollars" are being spent on restaurants and other convenience food. Also, the amount of processed foods in our home has doubled since the 1980's. Have we just become lazy, eat-whatever-is-convenient and tastes good nation? No, not necessarily. I was raised in a fairly health-conscious home. Sure, we had the occasional Coca-Cola and junk food in the house, but we ate three meals a day and most of the time it was a hot, home-cooked meal. I learned to eat fruits and vegetables at a young age and, growing up as an avid athlete, I educated myself about the ins and outs of what to eat and what not to eat to be a healthy, prepared athlete. And of course as I discovered the information, I was SURE to make sure everyone in my family learned it too (sometimes to their annoyance). I thought that this was a fairly normal way of living at least for most, but I soon discovered that was not the case. Especially when entering high school I began to notice what kids chose to eat at school, what they bought from the local CVS and saw what my friends ate for dinner when I would visit. I couldn't understand why you look at a box of food and notice the mile-long list of ingredients, you see the nutritional label loaded with fat, sugar, calorie and sodium--oh the sodium--and yet you still buy it. This was not just one or two items in a cart, but many times it was nearly the entire cart! As Yoni Freedhoff said, "You'll gladly die for your children; why won't you cook for them" in his article in US News, we seem to have reverted to allowing the food industry to take over what we feed our children. (Read more at http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/04/11/the-power-of-we) Now although we may disagree on whether that is because of miss-leading information, convenience, or lack of knowledge, I'm sure we can all agree on the fact that it isn't okay. These realities are marked in child obesity levels skyrocketing in this country in the last decade. Whichever applies to you; if any or all, I believe the most prevalent is the misleading information given to the American public by the food industry. As Nan Feyler, the author of the blog, "Did the food industry buy your kid" said, "Selling food and beverages to kids is big business. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission report, the food and beverage industry, including fast food restaurants, spent 1.79 billion dollars in 2009 to sell products mostly low in nutrition and high in calories, sugars, salt and fats to America’s children. Seventy-two percent of this was spent on fast food restaurants, carbonated beverages and breakfast cereals. (Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/public_health/Did-the-food-industry-buy-your-kid.html#eT6kMOQ8tzYJcwHv.99) Also, there is a lack of education and understanding of the lies told and how to weed through them mindfully. How can a gluten-free mother be expected to feed and educate her children when these food companies are claiming gluten-free foods when they are not always 100% gluten-free? Well, that's just part of the job. I don't blieve that is a good enough excuse for the situation Americans are in today. It may be a factor and certainly a road bump, but it is each and every parents' responsibility to do their research and educate themselves so that they can educate their kids. Children do not just grow up knowing how to cook and eat healthily; but they must be taught. Yes, the food industry deceiving the American public is an issue in itself, but educating families is a solution that can be implemented tonight. Do some research. Learn a new recipe. Cook as a family. And hey! If you have a garden in your backyard you do not even have to worry about those pesky food labels!