Anyone who has had a child remembers the moment they had their child born. Almost all parents agree that at that moment, they promised themselves that they will always care and protect their new born. It’s a common emotion that runs in all of us. During the first few hours we think about how we will change our lives to protect our new child, to make better decisions, to be more prepared – all to keep our child from harm.
Unfortunately one thing that is harming our children as they grow is the food that is being advertised to them directly. Most of these foods including hamburgers, French fries, chicken nuggets, and cookies offer little or no real nutrition value to our children. It is now becoming harder and harder to prepare wholesome homemade food for our children and hence junk food has entered into our daily lifestyle and seems to offer temporary short-term relief while causing long term health issues – especially for our children during such crucial growing years.
Available Time to Shop for Groceries and Prepare a Healthy Heal
Of course the problem is always exasperated due to lack of available time to shop for groceries and prepare a healthy meal as well as the constant increase in grocery pricing:
In the last decade, declining physical activity both at home and in schools and mass marketing of junk foods directly to children has resulted in alarming statistics. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased to nearly 30% in 2013.
Childhood obesity which has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being of our children has added many risk factors for the health of our children, including: cardiovascular disease, (e.g. high cholesterol or high blood pressure), prediabetes with high blood glucose level, and greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems.
It is essential to take back control of our children’s health and long term well-being and to teach them healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, in order to lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
Teenagers must also be guided with information and discussions regarding overweight and obesity and associated increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There needs to be more education at home to protect our children even if schools are unable or unwilling or unequipped to educate our children regarding health and fitness.
We must also lead by example. Children often learn food habits from their parents. Every day we make choices for foods and activities that represents our cultural background and childhood experiences. Self re-education and family discussions are two of the best ways to change food habits and ultimately change eating habits towards a better and more nutritious healthy diet.
Adding the following to your daily diet can make a huge difference within a short few months:
Vegetables: These are great for vitamins, minerals, and adding fiber to your diet. Try the bright and dark leafy vegetables like carrots, red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, spinach, and celery. You can also have couple of portions of baked potatoes each week. Ideally all your vegetables should be organic to avoid pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, and carcinogens.
Fruits: Often vitamin-rich, fruits can add flavor to your meal while they are also very good for you. Try strawberries, papayas, mangoes, apples, oranges, nectarines, peaches, tangerines, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and others. Again, consider organic produce as it is much healthier than the chemically treated fruits.
Beans: Beans are good source of protein and fiber.
Nuts: If you are not allergic to nuts (as many people are these days to peanuts), then moderation consumption of nuts is fine.
Fish: Fish is good. Ideally, opt for wild fish. Farmed fish, and their latest marketing gimmick of “sustainable farmed fishing”, is just a fancy way of selling fish. We agree that sustainable fishing is great but farming fish is about giving fish lots of pellet food that is highly contaminated and as for any other farming, the idea is to make profit by increasing the crop’s weight as much as possible. This can never be a good idea especially since they inject so many hormones into stock to fatten them up so they weigh more and they can get more money. Consume wild fish in moderation and try to avoid tuna since it has high amount of mercury. The lowest mercury fish is wild salmon (0.09).
Grains, dairy, fats, sweets, and oils: Try as little as possible in your diet. You can completely cut this category out as people have grown to certain tasty favorites that include some of these. But you can limit these and make sure that they can only consumed in moderation. Dairy is the single cause of many health issues in the United States, especially cheese. Reduce the consumption as much as possible. Keep in mind that conventional dairy is filled with chemicals, drugs, rBGH growth hormones (linked to early puberty and breast/prostate cancer) and antibiotics.
Meat and poultry: Well, avoid as much as possible and if you can’t, consume as little as possible. The lobby groups for the meat and poultry industry advertise and promote meat and poultry consumption. Have you ever seen how they grow the stock? If you did, you would have a hard time eating such poorly treated animals that are often sick and are administered antibiotics constantly, just so they can stand up.
How to decide for yourself what foods are good for you and your family?
Well, think of yourself as a hunter gatherer. It is easier to choose the right foods for yourself and your family if you can practice and kind of get into that way of thinking.
Our ancestor’s food choices were limited by what they could gather and eat. As time went on, they learnt about catching and cultivating and harvesting food. Food gathering was based on physical pursuit and planning ahead and, apart from safety, it was the main goal of the day. Despite the limitation, and possibly because of the limitation, humans grew stronger and smarter and more able to take care of the business by building tools, trying ideas of harvesting and agriculture, and better planning.
We can all learn from this by trying to eat more gathered raw foods (fruits, vegetables, and nuts) without cooking them. Live foods are foods that have their enzymes intact because high temperature has not destroyed their molecular structure and hence their enzymes and vitamins. So avoid cooking for at least two meals a day and resort to having salads with chopped strawberries or mangoes or pineapples. You can also have a small portion of raw sushi with your salad, if you like sushi.
We can all change our diet and make sure our children eat much healthier foods. We must first believe that we must. The necessity will lead to invention and soon we can all make choices among those foods and activities based on our overall health and quality of life.
Have a wonderful life and may you and your family live an enjoyable life with vitality and growth.