It’s a finicky thing – being a parent. Choosing what your child eats, when they eat it, and how often they eat it. Kids have food allergies. Kids don’t like vegetables. Kids beg for chicken nuggets. Kids don’t go outside. Kids play video games. Kids throw temper tantrums and become obese and unhealthy. Kids eat fast food. Once per day. Twice per day. Occasionally. They crave hamburgers. They drink sodas. They get fat. They grow into obese adults. They get sick. They die prematurely. It is an epidemic that is completely reversible.
Where does it start? With the parents. I marvel at the way some parents let their child dictate meals. “Oh, Tommy will only eat macaroni and cheese and fish sticks.” Really? Why does he like macaroni? How does he even know what a fish stick is?
Let’s take my dog for example. She has been introduced only to organic food. At meal times, when Alex and I are cooking, she begs for scraps of sweet potato and zucchini like a giant steak. She loves – I repeat – loves healthy, fibrous foods. Now, if we fed her cookies and fries, I’m sure she’d like that too, because it’s what’s familiar. In our home, healthy food is all that she knows. It’s all our kids will know (if and when we have them).
So, why is obesity in children is at an all-time high? Because they are eating things that they are introduced to. And chances are, if they are introduced to fast food before a healthy salad, they will want the fast food. They don’t pop out of the womb saying, “Take me to McDonald’s!” and a lack of time cannot be an excuse to feed your child greasy food. Healthy meals can be made in 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 20 minutes at the most. There’s never an excuse good enough to eat fast food… there just isn’t. It’s literally killing our nation’s children. We’re not giving them a chance to be healthy. We are setting them up to fail.
“But it tastes good!” they might whine. It’s socially acceptable. It’s easier and cheaper to pop through the drive-through then cook a giant meal. But, consider this. You would never allow your child to sit around the dinner table smoking cigarettes and pounding shots of whiskey, right? (Unless you live in Kentucky.) Not only is that not socially acceptable, it would be illegal. So, why isn’t there some law prohibiting the ingestion of grease-drenched, fat-laden, highly processed food that acts as a drug?
As the body is fed sugary, non-nutrient dense food, it craves more and more because it’s trying to get nutrition. So, the more crap you feed it, the hungrier you will get in hopes of healthy food. And while we think of food as just food, it’s not. The more crap you eat, the more your child will suffer the consequences in developing diseases later in life, such as cancer, heart disease and ultimately death. Yes, it’s that serious.
In Joel Furhman’s book, Eat To Live, he discusses this concept: “Many children eat donuts, cookies, cupcakes and candy on a daily basis. It is difficult for parents to understand the insidious, slow destruction of their children’s genetic potential and the foundation for serious illness that is being built by the consumption of these foods.”
In autopsies performed on children killed in accidental deaths, the study confirmed there was fatty plaques and streaks (the beginning of atherosclerosis) in most children and teens. Another report discovered that more than 85% of adults between the ages of 21 and 39 are already showing clogged arteries.
And research has shown that childhood diet has a greater impact on the prevalence of certain cancers than does a poor diet later in life.
The bottom line is this: stop going through the drive-through. Stop making excuses for not eating healthy greens, fruits, veggies and grains. It’s never too late to reshape taste buds, to have a healthy life and to start again. It’s sad that we need a multi-billion dollar “diet” industry to attempt to give us that next quick fix in losing weight. It’s sad that we need this industry at all. Imagine how much we could save on healthcare if everyone ate natural, healthy foods? It would be astonishing.
The formula really is simple. Stop eating crap and start eating foods that make you feel good. If you’re overwhelmed with where to start, ask questions. Lots of questions. Experiment. Get your children outside and turn off the television. We are made to live active lives. Disease can virtually be eradicated just be changing what you choose to eat. It’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, because it’s not about what we look like; it’s what these foods are doing to us.
Can’t break your sweet tooth? Check out this easy banana walnut “ice cream” that will satisfy without putting you into a sugar coma.
Banana Walnut Ice Cream
2 ripe bananas, frozen (Pop ripe bananas in the freezer for 24 hours. Peel , cut into thirds and wrap in plastic wrap and then place in freezer.)
1/2 cup vanilla soy, almond or hemp milk
2 tbs. chopped walnuts
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy.