Did you know that childhood obesity is now an epidemic?
In 1980 there were 0 cases of childhood type 2 diabetes but in 2010 there were over 50,000 cases? 80% of schools have deals with either Coke Cola or Pepsi, schools are increasingly removing their kitchen food preparation in favor of pre-packaged foods. With the increase of “fat free” products, so has the obesity rate increased. I recently watched a movie called “Fed Up (F U)” on Netflix and learned these stunning facts.
The cause of obesity is not lack of exercise in the kids, but rather the processed foods kids are eating that have too much sugar or corn by-products. Food manufacturers put in extra sugar and corn by-products to make the “fat free” foods taste better. The bottom line, packaged and engineered foods are making kids sick and this next generation will have the lowest lifespan of previous generations.
By eating the processed foods (in bags or boxes) we are slowly killing our kids, giving them food that is mutating their cells over time, feeding them food their kidneys can’t process so it is automatically converted to fat and stored. This is killing them… dramatic, but true.
Actions You Can Do Right Now to Change What Your Family Eats!
- Cleanse your cabinets: If you are money conscience like we are, it is hard to just throw stuff away, but think of it like an economist – these products are a sunk cost, you’ve already sunk the money and you won’t get it back. In addition, these sugary/processed foods are not doing you or your family any good. If you feel really bad about tossing out food, give it to a food bank. Sugar is like a drug, would you keep drugs in your house if you are trying to get off of them? No. Take action, remove all products from your house where the top two or three ingredients are either Sugar or a Corn by product. We did this and our counter tops were completely covered with food that we should not be eating… I was stunned.
- Eat local: Go to a farmers market and buy the food that is grown locally, for Huntsville here is a listing of places about town, and thankfully more and more are popping up like Locust Grove Farmers Market. There is a whole movement now “farm to table” that encourages healthy eating and supporting our local farmer, you’ll find fresh meats, veggies, eggs and homemade goods at good prices (and often no taxes – automatic 5-9% savings).
- Change your grocery store: You are having to change your habits and one of the best ways to do this is to actually go to a different grocery store. It’s incredibly uncomfortable not knowing where things are in a grocery store, so if you stick to the outside of the grocery store you’ll purchase the foods that are more natural, like, produce, meats, dairy and nuts. All of the middle aisles have the processed foods (all of the foods that are boxed and bagged – avoid like these like the plague).
- Know when to deviate from your grocery list: When you make your grocery list stick to the staples like flour, milk, eggs, butter, sugar (yes I said sugar for baking), baking powder, baking soda etc. Buy produce that’s on sale even if it is not on your list – these are the ones that are in season.
- Prepare a menu: This is kind of backwards right, shop then prepare a menu. But when you eat local, and you’re on a budget, you will eat what you have. I recently bought rhubarb – never had it, didn’t know what to do with it, but it was on sale. I made the best pie I’ve ever eaten!
- Become a fan of Pinterest: create a Pinterest account and find recipes for a healthy lifestyle. Search for pins that are “clean eating” or “paleo” or for an ingredient, like rhubarb.
- Change your thinking about convenience foods: it takes them 30-45 minutes to prepare and deliver a pizza, it takes 15 minutes to drive to a McDonalds to pick up a $5 Happy Meal, or you can use that time to bag up some nuts, tell the kids to grab a banana or apple for the car ride between gymnastics and soccer.
- Keep on hand convenience foods: Bananas, apples, oranges, nuts. These you can grab and go.
- Wash and prepare the foods as soon as you get home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the grocery store only to order a pizza for dinner! Why did I do this? Lazy, I was just lazy. But if I cut up the watermelon and wash the apples as soon as I get home I have something easy to grab and serve while I’m slowly preparing the meal.
- Talk to your family about why you want to eat healthy. Your family is your best support network and your biggest fan. If they understand that you want to ensure that you and they live long healthy lives together then how in the world can they say no?
We’ve been eating non-processed foods for over a year and we’ve noticed a significant change in our family: our son’s attention span is far better in school (they were worried he had ADHD, but once we got rid of processed foods he calmed down), we’ve lost weight, I wake up refreshed, exercise has gotten easier and our recovery time from exercise has decreased. My mind has calmed down, my creativity has increased – we are all more clear headed and calm. It truly is amazing.
I admit there are times I just really, really want a donut and I will have one, but I’ve found they really don’t taste as good as I remember and it’s just not worth it. It’ll be hard, but most things are that worth-while and it’s worth while to ensure we live healthy, long lives.
Stephanie W. is a bit of a jack-of-all trades and quick with a smile. She has 15 years of corporate experience as a Project Manager but always fostered a crafty, artistic and fun side that she blogs about on Grinning Like An Idiot. She finally followed her heart when her husband was deployed to Afghanistan and became a stay-at-home mom, artist and writer. When she isn’t helping her two kids with homework, or taking them to and from soccer, gymnastics, judo, baseball etc., she is teaching oil painting, writing, destroying something to make it better and exercising. Her motto is “‘Can’t' never could”: meaning, you can do anything you want to do, it’s a matter of education to figure out how.