Kids + Snacks at School = Obesity

Yum.....diabetes

Are you freakin’ kidding me?  That was the first thought I had when I saw this.

So as many of you know I do some subbing from time to time at the school to help out on times that are hard to fill.  My schedule is completely backwards from the world so I get the privilege of working two jobs sometimes.  I do love getting in the schools though because it gives me great blog material and gives me insight into what I need to be teaching parents so they can educate their kids.

Today, I was in the fifth grade pod.  I know most of you are moms so this is going to hit home for you right away.

Let me set the scene for you.  It’s 5th grade Math.  I am hanging out in the back of the room waiting for the kids to arrive.   The kids finish sleepily slugging through the door and someone yells out

IT’S SNACK TIME.

Oh boy, did that get some excited.  Two kids proceeded to get in an argument about who was going to get the milk.  The bigger kid won, as is usually the case in middle school.

Since I had never taught this grade snack time took me by surprise.

My first thoughts were…

  1. Do these kids really need a snack at 9 o’clock, didn’t they just have breakfast around 7 or 8.
  2. And, are these extra calories going to do ANYTHING for these kids?  Many are overweight the way it is.

Then, the true horror shows starts developing.  I watch the kids as they start to pull out their snacks.

Hold on to your britches here.

Out come Cheez-its, Wheat Thins, Cheetos, Cookie Crisp, and potato skins (yes, I actually went around and wrote everything that I saw down) and to top it all off this was going to be washed down with CHOCOLATE MILK.  22 grams of sugar in that chocolate milk by the way.  Yes, I stole a carton – an empty carton- from a little girl.

Let’s quick breakdown what these kids had.  Take away the fancy marketing and lovely shiny packages and this is what you get…

1.    Processed Nutrient Depleted Flours (its okay they added back in the vitamins and minerals afterwords….sarcasm)
2.    Hydrogenated Oils (trans fat anyone?)
3.    Artificial Colors and Flavors
4.    Loads of Sugar
5.    Preservatives

Seriously, not a single kid in a class of 25 had a vegetable, fruit, or anything ALIVE for that matter.  Zero healthy fats or any significant source of protein except the milk.

What are we teaching these kids by sending them to school with unhealthy snacks?  How are they expected to learn and behave when they are on sugar highs for half the day.  Behavioral disorders are on the rise.  Could poor nutrition be to blame?

Also, by allowing kids to snack while they work is encouraging them to over consume.  This process encourages mindless eating.  You know, the sit on the couch to watch tv with a bag of potato chips and all of sudden its gone syndrome.   Please stop looking around no one stole your chips and no there is not a hole in the bottom of the bag.

Mindless eating is a habit that causes individuals to consume way more calories than they need because their conscious mind is  consumed, no pun intended, with something else.  And, most of the time these mindless foods are nutrient depleted calories to boot.  If we teach kids to snack while they work then every time they start working they will start snacking.

Kids model their behavior after their parents and it all starts in the home.  If you drink pop your kids are going to think its okay to drink pop.  If you don’t wear your seatbelt your kids are going to think its okay to not wear a seatbelt.

If you send your kids to school with snacks like Cheetos and Cookie Crisp your kids are going to think this is just what people eat.

Your children are not going to get educated on what to eat and how to eat in school.  If they do, it’s definitely not sticking, just go look at Walmart.  Help the kids develop habits at a young age so they don’t have to struggle with obesity and the myriad of diseases that are associated with it later in life.

Teach them about REAL food, teach them to cook, take them to a farm to show where food comes from, and most importantly teach them how to fuel their body for a long disease free life.

 If you don’t, WHO WILL? 

Bonus Point:  YOU might even learn a few things along the way.

If you want some ideas for a snack just “like” this article and comment on it in the section below.  Lets get some healthy discussion going.

Talk to you soon

-Trevor

Why am I eating this?

Take a second to check where your relationship is at. Is it healthy, both parties giving and taking equally, or is it unhealthy, very one-sided?

Have you ever thought about your relationship with food? What is your number one priority when it comes to deciding what to put in your mouth?

Is it convenience?
Is it cost?
Is it health?
Is it locally produced?
Or Is it “My tummy is rumbling so I see food and eat it syndrome?”

Everyone has different reasons for eating, and usually just by looking at someone or checking their health history I can tell how someone makes decisions on food. The type and quality of food we put into our body directly affects our health. I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to play one of tv but I am pretty confident any doctor worth his marbles would agree with me on this one.

Again..

The food you put into your body will have a DIRECT impact on your health.

Revolutionary insight, I know.

All food is not created equal. Think about this for a second, many processed foods need to be fortified with vitamins and minerals. This means food manufacturers need to add synthetic vitamins and minerals to the food so that it meets certain standards. They have physically damaged the food so much through processing that they need to add all the good stuff back in afterwards.

Does this sound backwards to anyone except me. Real food is not fortified. You don’t see fortified spinach, or a fortified apple. It has all the vitamins and minerals that make it what it is. No matter how hard we try we lose when we try outsmarting nature.

Take a quick look at this picture. It is a clear example of the quality of food. A few of the eggs in this bowl are your cheapo eggs from the local grocery store. The others are pasture raised free range chicken eggs from a local farm, the Wanzek Farm.

 

Which egg comes from which chicken?

Did you figure out which are which.  As you might have guessed the dark, healthy looking eggs are the local chickens where as the pale sick looking eggs are the cheap industrial eggs.

High Quality Eggs

VS

Industrial Chickens - Low Quality Eggs

Typically, an easy way to tell how nutrient dense a food is by looking at its color. Deep strong hues indicate high antioxidant properties and high nutrient values. Eggs are no different in this situation.  Eggs with lots of nutrients will carry a different hue.  If chickens are fed garbage their eggs will look like garbage.  Feed them a rich natural diet and their eggs are much higher in quality and color which translates into more nutrition with each bite for you, the consumer.

Now, a few additional points you probably didn’t think of.

Most likely the cheap eggs were stored in a warehouse for at least a few days but probably up to a week or two.  My local eggs were picked yesterday and on my plate today.

By buying nonlocal cheap eggs I am contributing to environmental damage that comes from industrial farming and long distance shipping.

The moral of the story I am trying to get at is for consumers to make more conscious decisions about food. Remember, nothing in life is “free.” If you decide to buy cheap low quality food now, you will end up paying for it later to the tune of medical costs and lost years of quality life. Also, there will be the unseen consequences of environmental damage and exploitation that occurs with goods produced at the industrial level for the lowest cost to the consumer possible.

Pay now or pay later.

The choice is your own regarding what you put in your mouth and where you support with your dollar bills.

Start looking at food as it relates to your health and the environment.  Think about the local movement and getting to know where your food comes from.  You will be healthier and so will the environment.

Also, as you eat something take a second to think is this “xyz” going to help me reach my goals of being healthier, stronger, leaner etc… or will is it going to set me back?

Eat for health but with the greater good in mind as well.

I officially step off my soap box.  Thanks for listening.

-TW

P.S.  Want to learn more about eggs check this article I found

The Truth About Sugar

Is sugar considered a poison?

Is all the added sugar in your diet hammering your physique and health, ABSOLUTELY.  Simply eliminating added sugars will put you on the fast track to improved health.  Most people look at sugar as this wonderful sweet substance that makes everything bland taste amazing (can someone say flour) .  I am here to give you an alternative way of looking at sugar, to quote Dr Lustig “poison!”

Dr. Lustig in the following video will explain in a very entertaining and intriguing way how sugar functions and affects our body once we ingest it.  You will definitely be surprised at the answer and probably never look at the substance the same again.

For the good of your health take an hour and sit down with the family and watch this talk.  It will change your viewpoints and probably your physique forever.

Without further ado, SUGAR – THE BITTER TRUTH

Does this mean we need to eliminate sugar completely and never consume the crap, OF COURSE NOT.  You guys should know I don’t ask you to give up those modern foods 100% of the time.  It all comes down to the 90% rule.  You can eat “forbidden” foods, during the 10%.

Personally, I don’t believe consuming sugar in moderation is healthy.  Moderation tends to get blown out of proportion and this is one thing I think we should limit as much as possible.  Save sugar for special occasions, holidays, and times with friends.  NOT for every time you walk past the candy dish.

Now, utilize the knowledge you just learned, pass this along, and help make America healthier.

-Trevor

Food Revolution

Childhood Obesity

 

America needs a FOOD REVOLUTION. The obesity epidemic is spiraling out of control and we need more people like Jamie Oliver now more than ever. Jamie gives his unique insight in working with some of the unhealthiest people in America. From these experiences he has found several ways to weather the storm and learn once again how to cook and eat real food. The talk is both candid and inspirational. Jamie speaks with an unmatched passion that will have you immediately ready to take action.

Check out the talk here:

Kitchen Rules: Pantry Cleansing

They’re GREAT! No Tony, not so much.

As you open your pantry door does Tony the Tiger, The Helping Hand (think crazy glove guy from Hamburger Helper), or any of the Hershey’s characters greet you with a huge toothless grin? (Rant: why do none of these characters have teeth, hes a freakin’ tiger for goodness sake)

No? Save yourself some time and just skim through, you will probably find a nugget or two, 70%+ cacao nugget with just a hint or orange and ginger of course.

Yes? Get your garbage bag ready, its pantry makeover time.

FIRST, MY RANT

It’s not your fault, for the most part. On a daily basis, million dollar-marketing campaigns bombard us with how great their products are. They are convenient, last forever (not a good thing) and cheap. For the thrifty shopper, what’s not to love? Well, a lot actually but we will get to that in more detail. Read on.

As of right now you get a free pass for pantry nutrition illiteracy and being sucked in by ridiculously clever industry marketing. After this post though you will know better, so there can be no more blaming it on the industry but instead a little more sticking it to the man.

First and foremost, you are responsible for your own health. You need to seek out trustworthy sources to educate yourself. If you choose this blog, great, if not find someone you trust.

You don’t live with mom anymore — even if you do, I am not judging — so make your own decision whether or not you should eat your vegetables.

As much as billion dollar corporations might say they care about your health, the products they consistently produce don’t exactly put their nutritional content where their mouth, err money, is.

My advice is simple:

EAT FOOD THAT IS ALIVE!

If you can pick it, grow it, gather it, or kill it you are probably pretty safe eating it. You don’t grow a donut plant and skittles don’t fall from the sky no matter how many “Taste the Rainbow” dances you do.

Plus, when people start to be cognizant of their decisions and stop blindly consuming, the world seems to have a tendency to improve. Crazy, right?

Another great aphorism comes from the infamous Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness.

Jack LaLanne’s Advice

“IF MAN MADE IT, DON’T EAT IT.”

Simple, right? Now, think about if you ate every meal based on this one principle. You would probably have the body of your dreams, no questions asked. Now only would you look sweet but your health would flourish. According to Jack’s saying what foods does that leave us with? Naturally, whole foods. Think meats, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts to name a few.

Most of the foods in your supermarket were thought up and created in a laboratory. They are strategic combinations of sugar, hydrogenated oils, some cereal grain (usually wheat or corn), artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and salt. Most are stripped of all nutritional fortitude so they need to be fortified again with synthetic vitamins and minerals before putting them on the market. Does this sound crazy to anyone else? Strip the vitamins and minerals then add them back in, huh?

Have we really evolved that much as humans in the last 100 years that we know more about food and our diet than thousands to millions of years of eating directly from nature. This whole “food in a box” thing (not to be confused with the SNL skit) is actually a pretty recent invention.

Why are nutritional diseases more prevalent now than ever before? Looking at the Standard American Diet (SAD), things become pretty clear: lots of sugar, hydrogenated fat, grains and very few natural, unprocessed foods.

As consumers, you control the market. Your demand determines what grocers carry and what manufacturers produce. Your decisions at the supermarket or choice to support local farmers steer the market in very distinct directions. Essentially, you as the consumer have the power. Use your power wisely.

NOW, LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS

Enough with this rah rah mumbo jumbo let’s start taking some action.

First, grab a large plastic bag.

Seriously grab one.

Now throw everything that is in your pantry in the bag. If you eat the Standard American Diet, then yes, throw everything inside. Instead of talking about all the things we should throw away (chips, candy, granola bars, cookies, crackers, regular peanut butter, instant mixes, dried bread products, anything else in a box, and anything that will keep longer than a few months – or even a few weeks– sitting on a shelf), lets get to the things we should be including.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will get you going in the right direction.

Nature’s Foods
• Whole Oats
• Quinoa
• Whole-Grain Pasta (I suggest rice pasta and usually advise against wheat –think gluten)
• Natural Peanut Butter (you know the stuff with oil on the top, and make it organic too, peanuts equal loads of pesticides)
• Mixed Nuts
• Dry Beans (black, kidney, lentils, green, etc…)
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Vinegar (Apple Cider, Red Wine, Rice, etc…)
• Green Tea

Supplements
• Protein Supplements
• Fish Oil Supplements (I actually prefer Krill Oil)
• Greens Supplements

Take a look at the list again. If you looked at the labels of these foods, how many ingredients do you see?

First, you wouldn’t see any labels. You don’t find labels on carrots to tell you that the only ingredient is………carrots For some of the packaged items that would require labels you should only see one (ie: brown rice, quinoa, black beans) and possibly salt too. The list should be straightforward and not require a degree in Biochem to understand.

These foods come from nature. They are created by nature and harvested by man.

Not…

1. Genetically modified to resist pesticides by man
2. Nourished by nature
3. Harvested by man
4. Ground down by man
5. Chemically engineered by man
6. A whole lot of crap added by man
7. Reconstructed by man
8. Finally, laboratory vitamins added back in by man or woman of course.

Don’t try to outsmart nature. You might not lose right now, but life is a marathon not a sprint, and nature has been running since the beginning of time. Good luck keeping up! Better yet, hitch a ride and benefit from her wisdom.