Your fat baby is not your fault!

Furniture manufacturers are outfitting American schools with super sized desks due to the increasing size of children, CNN.com reported Wednesday. But it doesn't stop at bigger desks and chairs - even the toilets at schools are being put on steroids to keep up with the, err, "changing" size of American kids.

This epidemic of fat kids is usually blamed on bad parenting, laziness and fast food. But riddle me this: How does bad parenting explain the increasing height of children as well? Our kids are not only getting heavier, they're also reaching hurculean heights requiring taller chairs.

What is a little scary is the pediatric growth charts are being revised to reflect modern American kids. WHAT?! Instead of addressing a sick nation, they're just going to sweep it under the rug and normalize this unnatural collective growth spurt? Criminal. So let's get to the real cause because it's not the parents.

The truth is growth hormones in meat and dairy are pervasive. It's not just fast food, it's nearly all food in restaurants and grocery stores. In order to increase profits, farmers pump animals full of growth hormones that speed their development and make them larger than they ever would have been in nature. Also, animals are fed the wrong types of foods for their digestion such as cows whose stomachs were designed to handle grass, not corn which affects the quality of their bodies.

You eat that, you get big too.

The only solution is to eat vegan organic. But wait! Don't click that X at the top of your screen! Hear me out, it's really not that hard. Maybe first I should demonstrate the sizes of the people in my family and reveal our diets:

1. Me. I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, eaten mainly organic for the past 3 years and given up dairy for the past three weeks. I weigh in the 120's, I'm 5'3 and never get sick enough to go to the doctor. Knock on wood, but literally never. I'm also kind of lazy.

2. My older daughter. She's as feisty and smart as you could ask for in a kid, but she's on in the bottom 5% for her weight and 25% for height. According to this rad height predictor she'll only be 5'1" as an adult, even shorter than me and probably a foot shorter than her peers. She has been sick enough to go the doctor exactly once in three years and only sick in general probably eight days of her life.

3. My younger daughter. She's a hoss! She's pure brute strength capped off by a mop of dark hair. She's the absolute picture of sparkling health, taking steps and babbling along at 12 months. Lo, at her pediatric appointment yesterday they pegged her on the bottom 5% of weight just like her sister, but taller than 75% of the rest of the kids her age. She has never been to the doctor for illness.

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The junk in my trunk is made of kidney beans and hummus!

I'm not saying these things to brag or imply I'm a better mother than moms of larger kids. I've just seen better documentaries and read better blogs.

Just try these dinners for a week and see how you feel:

- Taco night with the fixins: corn shells, shredded lettuce, organic salsa*, refried black beans (look for no lard if you do cans), black olives, avocado

- Thai peanut tofu: Sautee extra firm organic tofu* with fresh or frozen organic broccoli, then add thai peanut sauce (1/2 cup of crunchy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon white sugar, a squirt of hot sauce, a tablespoon of garlic and 1/2 cup water) served over organic brown rice*

- Pasta primavera: Chopped zuchinni, chopped summer squash and peas sauteed in olive oil and garlic, then tossed with whole wheat organic pasta

- Date night at Loving Hut

See, you can do this! We don't need to be a nation of giants. We can enjoy guacamole and vodka and still feel good about ourselves. Besides, short people live longer.

*These organic items are on sale at Dominick's right now, I just went yesterday!

 

 

 

Filed under: Hippies, Momenomics

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  • I totally agree! My ex boyfriend's parents were around 5'4, the rest of his extended family was relatively short. He was super picky and pretty much only ever ate meat. He is 6'3". It was a running joke in their family that he lived off of growth hormones (b/c he only ate meat).

    It's scary that they are revising the growth charts because parents who don't eat a lot of this bad stuff will have petite (normal sized ?) children and those who are not as educated about these kinds of things will worry. My doctor doesn't do growth charts, so I dont' know what percentile she ever came in at (his general rule of thumb was as long as she was happy, healthy and getting bigger, not smaller, she was fine - I really love him and don't know what I'll do when he retires!).

  • In reply to Erin:

    Yeah, what's going to happen when my kids fall off the charts? Obviously they are completely healthy, but what's really scary is what will happen to the kids who really do have a health problem on the small side. What will it take to get medical attention on the small end - negative percentages?

  • What about taking credit for a phat baby?

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    **Low five!**

  • Quite often, doctors do growth charts not so much to compare your children to others, but to track their continued development. So if a child was growing at the same pace and then suddenly showed very little growth for a couple of years, the doctor would hopefully look into it.
    Also, taller and sometimes bigger humans, is often due to simply having more food, whatever the quality. It's only a couple of generations since many people (eg.in the Depression) couldn't afford to eat properly, or came from countries where the crops weren't so abundant. In the First World War in England, there were more aristocrats recruited because the poorest men simply weren't up to the job. Many had significant health problems completely due to lack of nutrition, and they were half the size of the rich men.

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    What I found was that my kids were "bigger" babies on the weight charts when they were born and during the nursing period (I believe around the 60% and 75% respectively). Around the time solid foods are introduced, my kids both fell to the 5th percentile.

    With my first baby, that really concerned me. I was getting pressure from everyone to feed her more and more and to give her things like ice cream and hot dogs. Our family constantly compared her to her cousin, who was in the 90th percentile (even though both kids were near the extremes, somehow only my child was "unhealthy").

    But then I realized it's not Bee with the problem, it's the American meat and dairy industry plying all these other kids who make up the chart with hormones. Bianca has always had organic milk and never eaten meat so she's skinny - and her body looks exactly like her vegetarian friends. It's not about the calories, it's about the content, apparently, of what kids are eating.

    By the time my second daughter repeated the same scenarios as her sister, I was the wise one. No one will ever shame me about my "skinny" kids again. Take a look at your forks, America.

  • I'll try to cook for my woman a Thai peanut tofu this weekend, but if I don't get any from her after dinner, I'm coming back here pissed.

  • In reply to gwill:

    Good luck! There's no cooking to the sauce, you just mix it in a bowl at room temperature, then put it in the pan to coat the broccoli and tofu. Serve that mixture on a bed of rice. YAY GWILLS!

  • AGREE!!!!!!!
    A couple of friends on mine :) showed me the way to learning about this atrocity. My family has been transitioning for a month now. We never really ate red meat so that wasnt hard. But we ate a lot of chicken and fish. After seeing what we are really eating I am appalled. We now are all 4, 10 days without meat, but we are still eating eggs and dairy for now. I am not sure if we will ever be full vegan, but until I know we will only be consuming antibiotic free, farm raised, cage free dairy and eggs. And working on growing our own produce.
    I am amazed at the enormous change in feeling I have in body just in the last 10 days. My enegry has tripled. My aches and pains have diminshed and it is like I am even thining clearer. Incredible! We won't be going back to our old ways. Bye Bye processed foods and meats!

    It ANGERS me to no end that instead of teaching the proper way of eating to our children we shower them in which drug to take and give them bigger chairs.

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    Wow, that much better after 10 days? AWESOME! Keep it up!

  • You KNOW I'm down with this blog post! Preach it!

    The growth hormones are really pretty scary. The other interesting food for thought, though not that it really ties in here, but cow milk is for baby cows. I mean, I've heard that a million times. I always thought it was just some annoying tactic that vegans used to justify their weird eating habits. Until I was one. Ha! Then some documentary or book really explained that statement. Human milk is made for human babies. Meaning, it contains what a human baby needs in its first few years of life. It helps the baby grow appropriately. Cow milk? Um, was intended to put hundreds of pounds on a baby cow. It's made of up of things that were designed for a baby cow's needs. Duh. I NEVER would have put all that together on my own, but it makes such perfect sense. Not to mention we're the only mammal that drinks milk past the age of weaning. Also makes sense: milk was made for babies in the weaning period. We don't walk around drinking our moms milk when we're 28. Why are we drinking a mama cow's milk in adulthood, then? Anyway, there's my two cents in a sort of related but not really way. :)

  • In reply to chibbz:

    That's an excellent point! I think more people are lactose-intolerant than realize it but they keep eating milk and cheese because of the morphine compounds in them. You have *got* to read this thing about why cheese is like crack (it has to do with the concentrated bonding hormones in mammal milk).

    Here's the link: http://freefromharm.org/food-and-culture/how-and-why-to-break-the-cheese-addiction-in-three-easy-steps/

  • VERY interesting!! I've got this documentary bookmarked to watch but haven't yet. Maybe I will get to that today:

    http://www.milkdocumentary.com/

  • In reply to chibbz:

    This makes perfect sense when spelled out like this. I have never thought about it before now.

    I am curious, just because I am new to this lifestyle, what would we feed our babes after they wean in regards to a "milk" type product? Soy? or nut milks?

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    Well you know I'm still really new to this lifestyle, too. :)

    I'm trying to transition Ben to almond milk but it's slow going. Adalyn is still getting a glass of cow's milk a day because I'm not ready to try nut milks with her. I use coconut milk in our smoothies and they eat coconut milk yogurt (which is AWESOME!).

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    One thing I've read about a lot is that our kids don't really need to be drinking any milks. If you give them healthy fats every day (flax seeds, avocado, etc.) and they're eating vegetables (many have more calcium than milk), there's no need for cow's milk. Although I haven't quite figured out how to approach getting them their Vitamin B12, which is why they aren't fully vegan yet.

  • In reply to chibbz:

    I'm still giving my girls organic cheese and yogurt. We nixed milk and butter for everyone and cheese for me. I think it's all about keeping it below the 5%. Like on her birthday I had a bite of cake. Ooooh, sinner! Hahaha!

  • Yeah, pretty much same here. I take an occasional bite of cheese and *might* be guilty of having taken a sip of Adalyn's milk once. :/

    Plus I eat vegetarian when I go out to dinner. Or at least that's the plan. It's only happened a few times, but I'm not going to great lengths to make sure I never let any dairy slip past my lips when I want to go enjoy a nice dinner. I like the idea of moderation.

  • In reply to chibbz:

    PS - I just looked on my girls' vitamins and it says they get B12. I remember something about how that's a hard one to absorb? Hm. Something about B12 shots? Don't remember - tell me what you know.

  • Yeah, I don't give the kids a multivitamin yet, so that's why I haven't switched them to vegan. I need to get on that! B12 is the only vitamin you can't get without a dairy source. We used to get it in our drinking water until we started filtering it. It comes from a bacteria of some sort (don't remember all the specifics) that is found in soil. For some reason, we only get it through cows who get it through the food they eat from the ground. I'm unsure why exactly that is, but it's a pretty undisputed fact that you can't get B12 naturally if you're vegan. I guess a shot is the best way to get it so that it's absorbed properly? You can take a supplement (which is what I do now - it's in my prenatal) but I guess that's not quite as effective.

    Have you ever had any problems with your iron or D, Jenna?

  • In reply to chibbz:

    *cows or other animals

  • In reply to chibbz:

    "Have you ever had any problems with your iron or D, Jenna?"

    Nope! They check their iron and I never heard anything afterwards, so I assume its good.

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    I do almond milk and coconut milk. It has just as much calcium! Sometimes I just give them calcium-fortified juice. It doesn't have to white and cloudy to have calcium :)

  • Is B12 the one you have to eat with iron to get it to absorb?

    You guys opend my eyes to some things I NEVER knew exisited. I *knew* it wasnt good but it makes me scared to death to let me kids eat.

    We too are not going to be over crazy. If we slip we slip and get back on the wagon. We also may eat fish here or there, but if we already can feel so much better after 10 days, then I know this is the right path for us.

    ps im going to look for that coconut yogurt. ummm YUM!

  • In reply to PinkHairedMomma:

    Niko still eats fish! I didn't think to mention his height and stats, but he's doing vegan except fish. So far, so good! Baby steps! You just want to be better, not perfect.

  • You all are right on a lot of stuff. I think that eating less meat is a great thing. And I think the idea that bad parenting is behind fat babies doesn't make sense.
    But I don't buy the growth hormone hypothesis. I think that there are better explanations for why Americans are getting heavier:
    1) It's difficult to escape easy-to-eat-food. Food is at work, food is at school, food is being advertised at more and more places. I am hardly ever more than 5 minutes away from a brownie, even though we don't have any at home and I don't put them in my lunch. I doubt that much would change if all of the non-vegan brownies in the US would be replaced by vegan brownies. High-fructose corn syrup is vegan. People can make junk food out of dairy-free, hormone-free meat-free ingredients, but it would still be junk food.
    2) People really, really are exercising less.

  • In reply to unicyclegeek:

    And all of those are reasons I'm not super skinny! Hello, the recipe I recommended has a half a cup of peanut butter. Between that and avocados, you can def have some curves being vegan.

  • Great topic!
    We eat mostly vegan and get our B-12 from nutritional yeast (yummy on popcorn!).
    I also look at the WHO growth charts instead of the CDC ones bc they tend to make a breastfed, veganish baby seem a little more normal.

    I think encouraging everyone to eat a more plant-based (but not corn plants lol!) diet is super important. But there are also the factors outside on many less privileged peoples' control like cost, availability, and time for domestic work like cooking. As parents and concerned citizens we must keep questioning and sharing ideas for changing unhealthy, unsustainable habits.

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