The Food Revolution

 

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver has started a food revolution.  I’m excited someone with media clout made some noise about American’s poor eating habits. He’s not just talking about how to change it, but actually doing something about it. I signed his petition to save cooking skills and improve school food.  My hope is that more Americans will follow.

Jamie’s message is simple,

This food revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way you eat. It’s not just a TV show, it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking. Find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better but it will add years to your life.

America needs this revolution. Our kids need it and future generations will definitely need it. Saving cooking skills may seem a bit old-fashioned, but think about how much processed food is in the average American diet. Does anyone cook from scratch anymore? How many times does a family dinner consist of prepackaged ravioli with a jar of pasta sauce, or lasagna in a box?  Let alone the fast food drive thru window. Families are so busy, they’ve put cooking fresh meals last on their list of priorities.  Unfortunately at the cost of their health.

Our bodies need whole food to sustain, grow, and function properly. Whole food is a food in its most natural state. Our body thrives on whole foods because it is more easily recognized by the digestive system. A diet that consists of primarily whole foods will help your body control weight or even lose it, depending on the amount eaten. Processed food on the other hand has been modified and striped of its nutrients so that it doesn’t go rancid on the supermarket shelf.  Additives extend the shelf life and further separates the whole food from it original state. This refining process results in a reduction of taste so sugars, flavors and other artificial additives are added to make it taste good.  The nutritional value is lost in this process and is so far down on the list that it’s questionable what value processed foods have in our diet.

We really do need to get back to the basics. Parents need to learn how to cook whole foods from scratch if they don’t already know. We need to teach our children how to cook and place an emphasis on the importance of eating healthy.  Teach your child how to read ingredient labels so they can see the additives in processed food. Our kids are smart, but they won’t stay that way if they are fed a diet filled with sugar, artificial colors, hydrogenated vegetable oils, MSG and high fructose corn syrup. Their body and brain need good, whole foods to thrive and grow the way it was designed.

Jamie Oliver is one cool dude in my book. Join the revolution! Live a healthy life.

 

Red Gatorade, Blue Jello, Purple Yogurt. What the __?

What is the consumer packaged goods industry doing to our children?  Better yet, do parents know what makes that yogurt neon purple, the Gatorade fire engine red, or the Jello bright blue? Do you know what is in your child’s junk, er, I mean snack food? I’m not even sure they should qualify as a food item.  Junk food is an oxymoron; junk is not a food.  Our bodies don’t require red dye #40 to function properly. Nor does it need high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for energy.

What ever happened to giving our children water when they are thirsty?  Kids on the soccer field are panting, drenched in sweat, thirsty and refueling their bodies with Gatorade that contains red dye #40, blue #1, or yellow #5.  Not to mention the HFCS, citric acid (aka MSG), and artificial flavors.  I’ve heard it before,  “my kid won’t drink water”.  Well, it is boring and unflavored. But does everything a child consumes need to have a color and flavor added?

My kids, given the choice, would choose a sugary drink like Capri Sun or a juice box over water (most of the time) when they want a drink.  But when they open the refrigerator door at home, their only option is water. Juice is there, in a jug. But my seven-year-old said juice is only for breakfast. Today, he chose to drink water over juice with his eggs at breakfast. Sounds strange, I know. But our children don’t always make the right, healthy choice for themselves. So it is up to us parents to help them.

And it’s increasingly hard to do that with all the unhealthy, popular options the consumer packaged food industry provides.  So what is a parent to do? Well first off, try to shop alone, without your kids who have been bombarded with t.v. commercials touting the latest and greatest snack food. Here’s what I have done, and it works for us in our home.

  1. Thirsty? Only bring water in BPA free bottles. Kids will drink it, if they are thirsty enough. And once they get used to it, their thirst will only be quenched by water. Their body will crave it.
  2. Soda? Not in our house. Our “special treat” drink for my eleven-year-old is the Virgil’s Root Beer sold at Trader Joe’s. It uses natural spices and cane sugar. Another option is Izze Sparkling Juice drinks. They contain no refined sugars, caffeine, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.  These drinks are only bought as a special treat, once in a while. Not stocked in our fridge on a regular basis.
  3. Pop tarts? For those of you not on a GF/CF diet, and your kids can’t live without a Kellogg’s Pop Tart, try Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastries sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and your local grocer.  Free of artificial colors and flavors!
  4. Snack chips? Well, no Doritos or Cheetos at our house. Too much MSG, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.  We buy Lay’s Potato chips. Plain, no added flavor (or colors).  Trader Joe’s sells an alternative to Cheetos, called Cheese Puffs (not gf/cf).  Sun Chips (also not gf/cf) original flavor are the only ones without artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and MSG.
  5. Yogurt? Please read the ingredient listing on any yogurt you buy in the grocery store. You’ll find numerous colors, artificial flavors and tons of (hidden) MSG. The worse offender is Trix yogurt with the artificial colors and flavors, but Dannon’s Danimals have a lot of hidden MSG.  Better options are available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
  6. Chocolate syrup?  Well, Hershey’s is made from high fructose corn syrup and has artificial flavor and preservatives. Nesquik Chocolate syrup has HFCS, artificial flavors, preservatives and colors. Trader Joe’s sells Midnight Moo that doesn’t contain HFCS or artificial ingredients. Whole Foods sells one that is gf/cf.  Better yet, make your own with your own natural ingredients.
  7. Ketchup? Heinz contains HFCS and natural flavoring (where MSG hides).  We use Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup.
  8. Fruit Roll Ups?  Try Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit leathers, Florida Natural’s Fruit Juice Strings/Nuggets or Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Ropes.
  9. Breakfast Cereal?  There are so many unhealthy brands in the grocery store. They are chock full of sugar, artificial colors, flavor and preservatives and hidden MSG. Our alternatives are Kellogg’s Crispix, EnviroKids Gorilla Munch (found at Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods) and Trader Joe’s Honey Nut O’s.
  10. Cookies?  Bake my own with natural ingredients. We also will purchase Trader Joe’s All Natural Joe Joe’s. Just like Oreos, but without the artificial ingredients and HFCS.

I know it may be less expensive, convenient and popular to buy the packaged foods available in our local grocery store. But what are you sacrificing to save that money, time and whining from your kids?  Our children need us to play food cop and teach them the right choices so they can avoid obesity, diabetes, cancer and unnecessary hyperactivity. Ideally they are eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and good sources of protein. Right now, I’d settle to just see our generation of children eat better packaged food choices. And less of them.


Related blogs:

https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/artificial-food-coloring-is-evil/

https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/just-say-no-to-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

https://healingautismandadhd.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/get-extra-msg/

My Happy Mother’s Day

A day that brings us such joy to remember our mother’s comforting arms, our first born’s cry and the never ending love and worry you feel for them both.  My son’s have brought me amazing joy, and at times I was amazed at how close I came to throttling them over something that seems meaningless right now. I love my mother. My sons love me. The circle of life continues.

Autism may be part of the circle, but it’s complete and fulfilling.  My heart aches for those mothers with children whose voices have been taken by autism and can’t say the words their mom longs to hear. But they know their child loves them…words are not needed.  My heart is overjoyed by the warm, loving hug and kiss I got this morning from my son with autism. “I love you” and he says it now without prompting…all felt on his own and needed to be said by him and him alone.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those warrior moms out there; fighting to win their son/daughter back from autism’s grasp. Keep up the fight, small victories can be huge in our world.  And what a wonderful world it can be.

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