I read a lot of information on the state of health and wellness in our country. I’ve read books that have changed the way I eat. I follow blogs that influence how I cook for my family. I even switched brands of deodorant this morning after reading this post. It’s something I am passionate about and I see a need for change in how we think about food.
But I read an article over the weekend that provided such sobering statistics that it stopped me in my tracks. It was written by Robyn O’Brien for Prevention and discussed the shift to eating organically as a way to reduce exposure to certain toxins in our food supply. The article states this:
- We are raising the first generation of kids expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15.
- Fifteen percent of American girls are expected to begin puberty by the age of 7.
- U.S.-born children have a 34.5 percent chance of developing asthma, hay fever, eczema, and food allergies compared with just 20.3 percent of foreign-born children.
- Food allergies affect 1 in 13 children in the U.S., autism affects 1 in 68, asthma 1 in 10 children, and cancer is impacting 41% of Americans.
Truly unbelievable. Arguably, some of these problems may not be directly related to our food system in the U.S. But what if they are?
Overall, I do a decent job feeding my family healthy foods. I buy organic as often as possible. And choose Non-GMO Project Verified when there’s an option. But I still make choices for the sake of convenience. And other times, simply choose to let go.
But after reading the article, I was reminded to be more mindful of the foods I bring into my home. And it impacted me enough to drive change.
Today, I overhauled our dessert drawer. Yes, shamefully, we have a dessert drawer. It obviously doesn’t bode well with eating clean. But it’s the way we’ve bribed our kids to try new foods and eat the healthy foods on their plates. I know this goes against everything I’ve heard about teaching children to have healthy relationships with food. But I’m being honest here. We allow the boys a sweet treat after lunch and dinner. I’m not proud of it, but it’s worked.
I try to keep the options healthy. Try being the key word. Because inevitably the dessert drawer becomes a safe harbor for Halloween and Easter candy and plastic stockings full of M&Ms. Sprinkled treats from birthday parties have a way of making their way in there to eat later. And we’ve even been known to stash the makings for S’mores for nights deserving of a campfire. But they never last that long.
This was a new day. I threw away Tootsie Rolls and Dum Dums and Mini Milky Ways. I replaced them with organic dried mango and organic dried peaches. Coconut-wrapped dates. And Superpower Balls. Because my children’s health is more important than a moment’s worth of satisfaction that comes from eating the ear off a chocolate bunny.
I know this article is not about dessert. But it is about change. With Target and Walmart recently announcing expanded organic and natural offerings, eating clean is becoming more mainstream. And I think that’s a very good thing. Baby steps.
“And as we introduce new foods that are nutrient-dense (full of vitamins and minerals) and try to reduce our loved ones’ exposure to the foods that are nutrient-void (packing mostly artificial ingredients that have been synthetically engineered in laboratories), we are realizing that we have the power to affect remarkable change in the health of our children and families, so that together, we can stem this tide of children flowing into pediatric hospitals being built across the country.” – Robyn O’Brien
What small changes could you make to positively impact the health of your family?