Friday, February 19, 2010

Teach Every Child About Food

We all have things that we're passionate about. Things that we love doing. My husband and I both love to cook. Most of the meals we make aren't fancy schmancy, they don't use exotic ingredients and you won't be seeing either of us on any cooking magazines, but we still have a great time. I love food. Food is a necessity of life. We need it to nourish our bodies, but food is so much more. If I think back to some of my best memories, there's almost always a meal involved. Such as Thanksgiving dinners with my whole family gathered around a table, or some instances, many different tables. Food has a way of bringing people together.

There used to be a general respect for food. We respected the land it was grown in, we respected the animals our meat came from and we respected those that grew and harvested our food. Now, more than ever, there's nothing but disrespect. Think about it. On the news we always hear about the growing numbers of obesity in America. People are just eating whatever and whenever. They're not respecting good, quality food; instead, they're choosing to live off of fast food restaurants (click here to read a disturbing article about what's really in those "all white nuggets" and other fast food favorites) and highly processed foods. We've all heard horror stories about slaughter houses and how we're wiping out entire species because there's no respect for the animals. Don't get me wrong, I love meat and I could never be a vegetarian, but I do feel we owe it to the animals to at least respect them.

Why I am writing all of this? I recently watched a video of Jamie Oliver giving a speech about a campaign he is working on here in America. The video is below, and in it, Oliver talks about the obesity problem and how the leading causes of deaths in the United States are almost all diet related and preventable. The video is a little long, but it really has some good information.

I just love this video. I think he makes some great points. We have to teach our children the importance of healthy food. This is something Nick and I still struggle with. We are trying to eat healthier and teach Bailey about foods. Even if we splurge at home and have a starch filled dinner, I can guarantee you it's healthier than going to your local fast food chain and having dinner. We do go out to eat about once a week to some sit down dinner in town. We have occassionally given Bailey fast food to eat, but honestly, I could count on one hand the number that it's been.

You don't have to be a great cook in order to eat healthier. All it takes is a little time and practice and you can create easy, healthy meals for your family. Don't we owe it to our kids to teach them how to properly take care of their bodies? And besides, eating around a dinner table together is better than eating from a paper bag any night of the week.

If you managed to make it through this long post, sorry, this video really spoke to me and I so believe in what he is saying. We can all make sure our children grow up healthy and with a knowledge of good food.


Colin's Mom said...

Preach on sister! I couldn't agree more and it's definitely something we're aware of and strive for in our household. We've always tried to introduce Colin to a wide array of foods and stay away from the processed stuff. We don't do fast food and haven't for a while (ever since Wes read Fast Food Nation and it shed light on the reality of them). Have you seen Food, Inc? I haven't yet but I've heard a lot about it and it's a lot of what you talked about.

I read an interesting article recently about the obesity in the US and when and how it came to be. Interestingly enough, it all started in the 70's when marketers started using tv as a source to advertise food products. This was also the same time that sugar was deemed too expensive and manufacturers learned how to turn corn into high fructose corn syrup for much less. They paid no mind to what it was doing on the individual eating the substance, just the dollar bottom line. I guess we never knew any different since the ads have been around as long as we have. I urge you to check the labels of what you buy and try to stay away from HFCS. Seriously, straight sugar is better! I'll get off my soap box now (:

I'm going to watch the video now. I love Jamie Oliver and have ever since his show on the Food Network many years ago.

Great post! It's refreshing to know there are other young people out there that actually care and are willing to try to change and talk about it.

Cindy said...

Colin's Mom forwarded me the link to your post. I couldn't agree more - preach on!

Thanks so much for posting the Ted video - I really enjoyed watching it. I just finished reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan which hits on a lot of the same points. It was eye-opening to read how we have been sold so much bad science which has led to food choices that people believe are healthy just because of the ingredients or labeling.

The biggest obstacle seems to be our food industry, who will not go quietly into the night. There are no giant profits waiting to be made from whole, unprocessed foods.

I am so glad that people like Jamie are challenging school lunch programs. While my mom cooked balanced meals for dinner, I cringe when I think about the boxes and boxes of Cookie Crisp cereal that I ate as a kid, or the $2 lunch I bought each day in high school that consisted of one pack chocolate iced yellow donuts and a Coke, except on Friday when they had Dominos pizza. Thank goodness I was active enough to burn off the calories from the 32-ounce Coke and bag of pretzels I picked up each morning at the gas station and ate during first period after I started driving myself to school. I sure wish someone had challenged those choices!

I know people say they cannot afford to eat well, but I think these statistics from Pollan are interesting: "Is it just a coincidence that as the portion of our income spent on food has declined, spending on health care has soared? In 1960 American spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on health care has climbed up to 16 percent of national income. I have to think that by spending a little more on healthier food we could reduce the amount we have to spend on health care."

He also mentions how in the last decade or so we've managed to come up with the extra cash to pay for cell phones, Internet, etc. So true. I think it has a lot to do with priorities, culture, and the effects of marketing than cost.