Tag Archives: sad

Real School Food

Standard

School is back in session. All the parents are sighing with relief; the kids are excited to see their friends. All is well….or is it?

If you agree keeping a close eye on your child’s nutrition and health, you know that is easiest done when they are eating at home. When they leave the house and go to a friends or with grandma & grandpa, you can only hope what you’ve taught them will carry them through all the temptations. I guess that goes for everything, not just food.

My parents see nothing wrong with happy meals or even ice cream for dinner. Lets just say, this is them in grandparents mode because as a child I’d have to sit at the table until my meal was eaten. Blah! Some of my son’s friends are the same way. Pizza, burgers, treats. All that is fine once in a while. However, I would kind of like to enjoy these treats with my son (yes, selfish) and I’d like a bit more control over what he eats and when. So, school is tough.

With over thirty kids in his class and less than thirty weeks in a school year, you can imagine just how often a birthday is celebrated in class. Add in teacher given treats and holiday parties and you have junk food galore. All this is not taking in account school lunches because my son takes a packed lunch. I just don’t trust the quality of school lunches, plus he is picky.

The average kid is taking that good ole average lunch. A sandwich, piece of fruit, a baggie of carbs and probably a juice box. Every once in a while, or everyday, you also throw in a little treat. This can be a decent well-balanced meal. I say “can be” because let’s be real, a slice of lunch meat on white bread, bag of Doritos, some fruities and a Capri Sun and maybe an Oreo, won’t win any healthy lunch awards. I’m not even going to go into my thoughts on Lunchables. But, you can pack healthy.

20130917-110851.jpg

Compared to the average school lunch, your average brown bag will be healthier. Plus, you can control the quantity and quality of foods you pack. Even with the new formulated school lunch, kids are still given highly processed food-stuff. Yes, they might have a salad bar, but when I have visited during lunchtime, I have yet to see a kid fill their plate with veggies. Not to mention, at our school, they “helpfully” add ranch dressing to all the lettuce beforehand, making your choice there limited. Again, bonus points for the salad, but by adding a jug of ranch they sort of kill that one.

20130917-111031.jpg

With the new school lunch menus, the average calorie intake is between 550-850 or more. Just for lunch. On this new plan, many kids are complaining they are still hungry so schools are now opting out of the Obama lunch program and are reverting back to larger, more filling lunches at over 1200 calories per meal! The newer lunches are bringing the nutrition closer to the prison meal, sad sad sad, where the older lunches were severely behind JAIL food!! What?

20130917-111111.jpg

The new program does have its positive notes. Some of the offered foods are locally sourced. Kids are “suppose to” take at least one fruit or veggie. Sadly, this has been translated into far more waste than ever before.

20130917-111157.jpg

When all the treats start rolling into the classroom, it’s tough to monitor. You don’t want to tell your child not to take one. Poor kid didn’t do anything wrong. However, the average cupcake has — grams of sugar. Now, with everything being store bought, that’s a difference from when we were able to bring homemade.

Treats might not be so bad if portions were considered. However, everything is oversized, extra sweet and pure junk. The average cupcake has about 20 grams of sugar. I’ve yet to see a kid bring fruit in as their birthday treat. My son included. It’s not like there is abundance of “healthy” bakeries out there making homemade like treats. They are out there, but it can be expensive when trying to feed about 40 little mouths.

20130917-110820.jpg

Then there is the treats shared on the bus, after-school munchies and finally at night, dessert. When you think you are about to treat your child to something yummy, chances are they’ve already had their fill. Getting to go out for a treat is just more sugar in their tummy.

Some families do watch what they serve. However, sometimes that means they will bring in fat-free, or sugar-free items which means now your child may be getting chemicals and preservatives that perhaps you don’t really love your kiddo eating.

It’s important that as parents we continue to watch what our kids eat, even when outside the home. It has a way of adding up and we don’t want our kids super-sized!

Good luck to another school year!

Advertisements

What are they feeding us?

Standard

I read constantly. I will read any book that happens to get in my reach or happens upon my nook. I finish every book I read, no matter how bad it might be. I love to edit and research and learn. When I find a topic that interests me, I like to look at it from all angles before forming an opinion. Even after I have an opinion, I’ll change my mind if I learn more or differently. I am not without fault, sometimes I get it wrong. Very wrong.

I use to believe that I couldn’t make a difference. Now I am ashamed I might have passed that thought to my son. Each person does make a difference.

I use to think one didn’t matter. Such as, one more time won’t hurt; just one will be fine. Boy, was I wrong there too. One becomes two, two becomes a dozen, a dozen morphs into hundreds and if you allow yourself to just “one more” or into thinking one doesn’t matter….it does!

I use to say that it didn’t matter if I bought this or that because it was already made, already there. It’s not like my getting it made a difference. Like my dollar spent even counted.

I bought the name brand products. I loved junk food. I liked the ease of popping something into the microwave or grabbing “food” in a drive up for dinner. The speed dial of pizza delivery. The Standard American Diet…..sad.

Then I woke up. From a nightmare.

My health was horrible. My crohn’s was flaring like never before. I was dropping weight, taking meds, pleading with doctors to not hospitalize me.

My husband was overweight. He was worn out, grumpy, depressed. He slept with a CPAP. His days of Ironman Triathlons were done. His back hurt, his feet hurt.

My son was tired all the time. He didn’t want to do anything anymore. His energy level was dropping along with his spark. He munched on the crappy snacks I provided then chowed the crappy dinner I served.

We were all starving. Starving not just for REAL food but for life.

image

I took my love of reading and went crazy. I have read dozens of books about food and diet. We’ve made some huge changes — that have actually been easier than you’d think.

My crohn’s isn’t perfect but I don’t expect it to be. I push my limits with my new diet. I don’t just eat white processed foods. I am trying to expand my diet to a plant-based diet full of variety. I lost 50 pounds in the process.

My husband has dropped over 70 pounds (and not by pooping like me) by changing the way he sees food. He eats only plant-based meals. His diet is most easily defined as strict vegan. Zero animal products or by-products. He’s thin, fit, exercising comfortably. He’s running races, cycling, swimming, all in preparation for a triathlon at the end of the summer. I can describe him as an athlete again. He sleeps without the loud machine and looks 10 years younger and refreshed. His work has improved. He quality of life has dramatically improved. All he did was switch to an all plant diet. It is an amazing and formation. I wonder how I’ve changed? I know I have…..

His transformation has been so inspiring that my son and I are trying desperately to mimic him. We are just such picky finicky eaters that we can’t eat the variety my husband eats yet. YET. We are working on it. With my crohn’s, I do add in and try new foods a bit slower but I’m doing my best without pushing myself so far I flare. With that, I am encouraging my son to try new foods. He has been so great at trying, unfortunately, he hasn’t liked much he tries….still, baby steps.

After eliminating the junk food, stopping all the fast food and educating our whole family more, we are all improving in leaps and bounds. My son is active again. His skin looks terrific and his smile charming. His outlook is very positive. He is so supportive of the plant powered diet that I love listening to him explain the benefits to an adult. He’s very passionate about health and food and quality.

Let’s pause on that word. Quality. That word is what made me grab my iPad and start tapping away at this post. Quality.

What the hay is up with GMO and other “food” like crap we are buying, eating, and serving to those we love? We are not educated on what GMO is or does unless we go look for the imformation ourselves. My father was agreeing with me when we talked about how horrible it is. Then I realized, he thought companies had to inform us when they used GMO ingredients. Nope, not in America. He was floored. He is a very intelligent man. He watches the news, reads the paper, he is well-informed. So how did he miss that? How did I?

Until recently, I couldn’t have told you what GMO even stood for. Yet now after learning more, I still can’t explain to my son why these big ass companies feel the need to use these products. Beyond greed, it doesn’t make sense. Have you ever tried explaining something to a child? Where you can slide stuff by some adults, maybe sway the story, leave out parts you don’t agree with or don’t understand; you tell that same story to a kid and they’ll call you out. They question the simplest things and man, they want answers!

So, in my research (and its far from complete), I’ve learned that big companies will bury the facts so deep that you start to believe what they want you to believe. You can easily fall into the trap of believing that you need meat twice a day (gotta get that protein) or that milk, it does a body good. You might even feel comforted that good ole McDonald offers more healthful choices now. Maybe you don’t feel GMO is damaging us. Or maybe you don’t think that children are effected by all the hormones in meat and dairy. Perhaps you haven’t heard of BVO or care much about essential amino acids. Maybe you are still sipping that diet soda hoping to lose some weight. No worries, we’ve all been there. Sometimes, I don’t feel that far off from all that.

Baby steps! My researching is opening my eyes. I’m teaching my family. I’m choosing where I want to spend my dollar. I’m not accepting just “one more”. I am done ignoring the facts. I am done with the excuses. I am looking for answers in that straight forward nature frequently reserved for kids and old folks. I’m making changes that will benefit me, my family, my community, my world. Because, I do make a difference. My dollar counts. My vote counts. My life relies on me making the right decisions. My health is too precious for me to keep ignoring it all. Hopefully, I can inform others of what I know, what I learn through websites, publications, news stories and my beloved reading. I learn so much from those I follow on twitter. I truly feel it’s a give and take exchange of knowledge. I learn from you while sharing what I know.

Together, we really make a difference.
Really.