I just finished reading another article on fat. (You can read it here.)
Childhood obesity. The numbers as usual, staggering. 12% of kids entering kindergarten are obese, 15% overweight.
That means, by the time our kids go to school 1 in 4 is FAT. What does this say about us as parents? Or people in general? Or society?
For me it’s easy to point the finger. Yell out and say that childhood morbid obesity should be labelled as abuse, and the children taken from their parents. But I can’t. Not while eating my cupcake anyway.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Growing up, the combination of genetics, nutritional knowledge, behaviours and patterning, instilled healthy values. What bothers me is when people don’t care enough to change. And the excuses. Oh the excuses.
1 “But it is too expensive to eat healthy!”
I have kept my food budget to between $125-$150 per week for the past two months. Cooking whole, healthy foods. Organic and local when possible to boot (which may or may not be healthier depending on who you ask…You want cheaper? Forgo the organic option.) Eating fast food for a family of four, even at a drive through, totals about $40 (including drinks). That’s a third of my budget for the week. We don’t eat out very much and I buy staples in bulk when they go on sale. Rice, lentils, beans, quinoa…make up most of our meals. Yes, we are vegetarian and that may help.
Meat is what tips your grocery bill? Why not try veggie? I’ve not ever heard of any studies claiming vegetables to be the source of heart disease, cancer, or more other chronic health afflictions. But maybe that’s just me. Also have you ever looked at the cost of all the processed things you buy? The health costs? Not just the pricetags…but the ingredient lists on the label. (Maybe that’s half the problem, the fact there has to be a label on the food.) My banana doesn’t come with a label. Neither does my potato, oranges or strawberries. You’re paying a pretty penny to put (hear me rifling through my pantry just now?…I’m having a difficult time finding an ingredient on a label that I’m not okay with…google it is:)
Ingredients found on a very common snacking cracker: partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, and high fructose corn syrup.
Do you understand what those chemicals are? I’m not even sure I fully understand. Which scares me, as I’m pretty sure I’m aware of nutrition and health. I do know that partially hydrogenated anything = trans fats (remember all the bad press, the raising of bad cholesterol, artery blocking, inflammation-causing food which the government then tried to ban or lower the use of in foods?) Want to read more? Check out what the Mayo Clinic has to say.
And I do know that high fructose corn syrup mettles with our body’s ability to control our metabolism and spikes insulin levels (to breakdown the sugar) which puts added strain on our systems. I’m not saying regular sugar is that much better, but really if you’re going to have sugar, why make it potentially worse for you than it already is? Read more here.
Soy lecithin. Doesn’t sound so good (or rather I have no clue). Couldn’t find too much on actual scientific/medical sites regarding this and blatantly bad outcomes. But wiki says: “It is used commercially in foods requiring a natural emulsifier or lubricant.” hmmmm. Sound yummy? I think not. Also may or may not be linked to heart disease? The fact that I’m not sure makes me shy away.
2 “It takes up too much time to actually cook.”
Yes, and so does watching the most recent episode of The Bachelor. Seriously I can’t even believe this is an excuse. Pull your laptop up to the kitchen and watch while you cook. Or better yet, don’t watch at all and pay attention to your food. Or your life. You know…the love interest YOU married? Or one you haven’t found yet? Bleh, my distain is oozing from my pores as I’m sitting over the stove stirring my dinner which is boiling whilst I blog. (On average I spend about 45min in my kitchen for our evening meal prep and cook time – less than most tv shows.)
3 “I can’t find the time to exercise.”
See above. Oh and enjoy your ‘front of the screen’ sitting position…because likely if you stay there long enough you actually won’t be able to get up, or move around. Immobility is a huge issue for people, and the age at which it is becoming a problem is getting younger and younger. See why sitting (not just in front of the tube) is so bad here.
4 “Oh but the cravings…”
Don’t put it in your house. Period. The cravings that are bad enough to require a special trip out, are those worth waiting for. (See eating cupcake in earlier paragraph). Limit those to special trips out, not “Oh look I’m passing Starbucks again, and my need for a cake pop and double fat latte is dire!”
And stop going out for those damn lattes. Or drive through whatevers. You know what I mean. Hidden calories and crap. And no your kid does NOT require a ‘treat’ as well. Have you seen the size of that donut in relation to your child’s size?? Don’t eat it in front of them and they won’t think twice about not having it. (This is also strategy number 2 besides not having it in the house).
IF you do eat it in front of them share your knowledge! “Hey kiddo, this treat is great hey? Know the reason why it’s a treat? Because we only have it once in a while (read: maybe once a month, less is better). Why don’t we eat this everyday?” Wait for your kid to respond. Then maybe talk about how sweet it tastes (cupcake), or savoury (french fries) and how our bodies are drawn to those things because back in the stone age it saved our butts. Now those foods are used to tempt us into eating more than we need, adding to our butts (which we don’t need.) Then educate them, quiz them on what might be better options (carrots and hummous dip, bananas, yum!)
5 “But if it’s sooo bad the government should not make it so accessible!”
Why not step up and be responsible for yourself. Educate yourself about what you are putting in YOUR mouth. Even more so if you are putting stuff in other people’s mouthes. Especially if those other people are little, and have no other choice.
We are a profit driven society. If we STOP buying unhealthy products they will stop making them. If we VOICE our opinions to have healthy options eventually they will be heard (especially if it effects a company’s bottom line.) And if you forgot what you learned in grade school (government mandatory grade school I might add) you are the government.
I use my money to vote. And try to support healthy, ethical, organic, local options.
Long story short. Care for your kids. Care for yourself. Pay attention to the world around you. I realize I am one of the lucky ones. And I am trying to do my part by sharing what I know. My problem is that I don’t know what I know, or rather: what other people need to know to make positive change in their life.
I don’t normally rant. But it reallllly hits a nerve when kids are negatively effected by our (adult’s) choices. If you want dietary, nutritional or physical activity advice there are lots of options out there. I am more than willing to lend a hand.
Free yoga starts up again soon.