See what CafeMoms are saying about saving time this holiday season..
If I could have a dollar every time someone said, âI grew up eating highly processed junk food, and I turned out just fineâ then I would surely be rich. And another one Iâve been hearing an awful lot lately is, âEaster only happens once a year so my kids will be getting candy.â Before I dive into the dozens of facts that prove we are truly (and unfortunately) not âjust fineâ I must first get this holiday thing off my chest.
My personal philosophy is that if I almost never give my children highly processed junk food theyâll somehow manage to still get plenty of it (from outside sources), and guess whatâŚthatâs been ringing true for quite some time now. I personally think one special treat a week is plenty and thatâs what seems to work for us. It is a rare enough treat for it to actually feel, well, special. Seriously, if your kid eats a piece of candy after almost every meal how can it even be considered a special âtreatâ anymore? As Iâve said time and time again the problem is not necessarily the sweet treats themselves, but itâs the quantity in which they are consumed!
Did you know that according to a recent 60 Minutes story that âAmericans are now consuming nearly 130 pounds of added sugars per person, per year?â Yikes! Thatâs more than a third a pound per person per day (approximately 3/4 cup a day!), and I would venture to say that most people donât even realize they are consuming this much âadded sugarâ because it lurks in unexpected places like beverages, salad dressings, dried fruit, condiments, yogurt, crackers and even bread. âSugarâ comes in many different forms, which means itâs listed under many different names like brown rice syrup, honey, cane juice, agave, Sucanat, corn syrup, etc. making ingredient labels tricky.
So how is it that we are âjust fineâ when:
If you arenât personally overweight or donât experience any major health problems I can understand how you might think your health and eating habits are âjust fine,â but how do you expect to feel, letâs say, 10 years from now? Plus I would venture to say that today thereâs not a single person reading this that doesnât know someone with a food-related health problem like heart disease, certain types of cancer, hyperactivity (in children), asthma, diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, autoimmune disorders, and/or constipation. And the amazing thing about all of this isâŚas soon as you change your diet the majority of these food-related health problems are completely reversible.
I admit I thought our family was just âfineâ and healthy before we cut out processed food. After all none of us have ever been overweight or had any serious medical problems. I grew up on my fair share of Doritos, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, candy and other sweets, and while still eating highly processed food I successfully completed my first sprint triathlon. Overall I felt like a young and active mommy. And while we didnât get on this âreal foodâ bandwagon to solve any health issues, the events that took place soon afterward were surprising. My HDL (a.k.a. the âgoodâ cholesterol number that should be high) went up by 50%! My younger daughterâs constipation completely disappeared and her asthma improved 10-fold. I suddenly had more energy (I used to think experiencing âafternoon slumpsâ was normal, but those days are long over for me). Not to mention it just made sense to know where our food comes from and to not eat from packages with ingredients we couldnât even pronounce.
Still to this day I honestly didnât think our eating habits were âthat badâ before cutting out processed food. We were never ones to frequent McDonalds, Dominoâs Pizza or the prepared frozen food aisle, and sodas only made rare appearances in our house. Apparently all the refined grains and added sugars we were consuming was making a much bigger impact than I thought.
The point is this is our wake up call, and itâs time for some serious change. Smoking cigarettes used to be viewed as harmless and now look whatâs happened to that industry. I fully expect the big food companies to follow in those very same footsteps because highly processed foods are clearly causing health problems. And if we, as consumers, âvote with our dollarsâ then they will surely get the message.