My question is WHY?
What is happening now that was not happening 20 years ago?
For starters, kids played outside everyday. Got loads of vitamin K & D naturally. They weren't slathered in toxin-laden sunscreen & baby bath products every day of their young lives. Kids rode bikes and played hide in seek instead of gameboy and webkinz. People ate produce from their own gardens. Parents cooked whole foods meals such a 1 protein, 1 starch and 2 veggies on a daily basis. Chicken, Beef & Pork products weren't rife with antibiotic & hormone injection residue that is now a normal part of meat production. Corn was just corn, and so were other foods that now have been genetically modified at the cost of precious nutrients, vitamins & minerals, and potentially at the cost of the health of those who consume them. In the last 20 years, America has succumbed to the belief that bigger is indeed better and we have seen farmer's continually increase pesticide & herbacide use in order to yield the largest, albeit less nutritious & less tasty produce. Then there are the preservatives. Chicken and deli meat, & meat in general should not be 'good' for 2 or 3 months out. Food is perishable. This might be inconvenient, but it's the truth. Perhaps we could learn something from the Children of Israel & the Manna. Preservatives can't not be good for us. They are not food. Think of all of the additives in our food now. Food dyes are yet another super prevalent icky that are routinely in foods marketed to children. The problems with food dyes are many. Food is intended to fuel the body. It doesn't have to be flashy or sing Zippidy-doo-dah. Why do we teach children that only the bright red or yellow foods are meant for children, when truly the opposite should be true. Food is to give you energy and sustain health, not to look pretty. There is also the issue of partially-hydrogenated oils, which is essentially like eating plastic, yet is found in many household staples. Why is that a big deal? Largely because hydrogenated oils can cause chronic disease.
And then there is high fructose corn syrup. When we were kids Coke/soda was made with sugar. Basically everything sweet was sweetened with sugar. Now, I will grant you that sugar is acceptable in moderation only, but really how many soft drinks did you drink as a child? I drank Kool-aid. So yes, sugar, but I would bet a great deal better than sodas that are now found in school vending machines across the country, even in elementary schools. And it's not just in soda. Check the labels of your yogurt, ketchup, salad dressing, cereal, pasta sauce, & even 'health bars'. Your child's health and behavior may depend on it. Oh, and I should probably mention that in January a report came out indicating that "almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies. mercury." More here.
Artificial Flavoring is another attacker of child health and behavior. Artificial flavoring is found in everything from bacon to Tylenol to Capri Sun, so labels must be read carefully. Think about the very name of it--artificial flavoring--that means you are consuming a non-food substance. How does that affect your child?
All of this information and we've only scratched the surface. This is just a few of the food issues that are out there. I would like to offer that part of our chronic-illness epidemic among America's children, is largely food induced. Again, I'm just a mom with a college degree, but it doesn't take a medical degree to look at the facts and deduce that the above listed items can not be healthy. Convenient? Certainly, but is convenience our ultimate goal? Even if it is, I think this habit of feeding our children nasty foods is really undermining our desire for convenience. Afterall, I don't know about you, but I personally find that having a toddler vomit all over his bed, my bed, and 3 sets of pajamas at 3am is pretty inconvenient. In fact, having 3 chronically ill toddlers would be even more inconvenient. High medical bills from all of that illness?? Again inconvenient. Missing work due to all of that illness? You guessed it. Inconvenient. So perhaps we should be a bit more proactive about where we place our effort because clearly we will exert that energy some place. Whether its fixing wholesome meals or mopping vomit is largely our choice as parents. After all, at my house the adults do the grocery shopping and write the checks. My kids can only eat what I serve them, so that responsibility lies solely on me. If I don't offer them toxic food, chances are they won't eat it. Just a little food for thought :)