It all started with the documentary “Fed Up,” which condemns sugar as the poison we’re feeding our children to make them fat; raising sugar addicts in diapers. After watching 200 lb 10 year olds on the show, and sugar molecules floating to the baby brain diagram, I was ready to empty my pantry and refrigerator of all processed foods and morph into a psycho sugar-free mom.
I started a blog post to warn you all about the evil of sugar. I struggled to keep my cool at a birthday party when the birthday boy’s mother served *gasp* cupcakes and each child filled a baggie with candy after breaking the pinata. “We’re poisoning the children!” my brain screamed, as I watched my little Reid happily stuff his face full of frosting.
After reading a good critique of the documentary, here, I took a deep breath, deleted my sugar panic post, and started thinking about what it really means to a) live a healthy lifestyle and b) create healthy habits for my children. I have also started reading “Disease Proof,” which is teaching me how diet and physical activity significantly impact lifelong health in all areas, even affecting cancer and gene expression.
As the mom, I know the family’s diet lies mostly in my hands. How I shop and cook will impact not only my life, but the lives of my children. And if I create healthy habits now, those habits will be natural for my children as they become adults, making it that much easier for them to lead healthy lives.
But as a working mom of 4, anything complicated isn’t happening. I have to keep it simple! I don’t have time to read labels or freak out at the grocery store. With that in mind, here are my first steps to healthier shopping and cooking:
1. Eat the rainbow: one of my cookbooks said that you don’t need to know all the nutritional info if you just eat the rainbow. Different colored fruits and vegetables have different vitamins and nutrients, so if you’re eating the rainbow, you know you’ve got it all covered. When in the produce aisle, I’ll put the rainbow in my cart.
2. Boxes are bad: I was wandering the grocery store, the terms “real food,” vs “processed food,” swimming in my brain. I looked at the plethora surrounding me, trying to distinguish “fake” from “real” food, when it struck me: boxes and bags. That’s what they mean by “fake food.” Natural food doesn’t come in boxes or bags. So if the food came out of a box, I’ll assume it’s not very healthy.
3. Salad in a jar: This just became my favorite way to eat healthy at work! Click here for salads in a jar. They are easy to make and transport, and really do keep all week, much to my surprise as I ate my still-green-and-yummy avocado on Thursday out of a jar I made Sunday!
“Disease Proof your Life” teaches that our culture sets us up for unhealthy lifestyles. There is no need for blaming ourselves or fault-finding. But we do need to take responsibility for how we use the best vehicles of health we have: our “feet and forks.” My family’s food future belongs to me. If I want my family to be healthier than the culture I see around me, it’s a future I need to create carefully and consciously.