What a huge topic nowadays. I will probably be aging myself right now by saying “when we were kids our parents didn’t focus this much on food”, but I really believe that 40 years ago we didn’t. Why is there this focus? Interest? Necessity? I will share with you my thoughts on why.
There are several reasons, but the most important one is that we aren’t feeling, looking or behaving how we would like to be, so we are turning to nature’s most powerful drug for insight – FOOD!
My reason for learning so much about food before I even began my studies almost 20 years ago was my weight. I am just over 5 feet and I come from a family of heart disease, diabetes, overweight relatives and was fluctuating all the time. So began my journey to learn about the ways food make us and keep us fat. The more I learned, the more I was shocked that everyone doesn’t KNOW why we struggle…. I continued working in this field and it wasn’t until 5 years ago that I was pushed out of my little box and was forced to look at food in a different light.
As much as I thought I was eating healthy, I was eating healthy in the sense that I had learned how to hormonally balance my foods so that I didn’t store excess energy. I appreciated the importance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates as being key to balancing blood sugar levels. Failure to monitor this is likely the number one reason why most diets fail.
As a mom and nutritionist, I decided to focus on healthy foods and eating for kids by incorporating the same principles of balance that is lacking out there. The focus is on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, not necessarily balance. Looking for healthy foods for kids that are peanut & nut free shouldn’t be that hard right? I was forced to research and learn an area of nutrition that I just hadn’t devoted much time too.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have always believed that our behaviors are influenced by food so much that they drive our moods, energy levels, sleeping patterns, concentration and even personalities. This is why I have been pretty strict with my kids and what they eat. I am pretty flexible and not unreasonable (I don’t think lol) – they eat at birthday parties, movies, dessert, etc., but I am careful about their meals.
When I started REALLY looking into the products that are out there and looking for the best ingredients for parents to beware of, I unfolded an area of nutrition that I have to say is nothing less than disturbing. I understand that it is a huge undertaking to learn all of this and I suppose for years I also avoided this detail, but now that I know there is no looking away.
I began by just researching simple breads, dairy products, pastas, snacks and more. How bad could they be? I made a list of all the ingredients I saw and hit the library (ok sounded good I really mean the computer ;). What did I find?
In short, I learned that the foods we are feeding ourselves and our kids are not only void of nutrients, they also contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially leading to numerous diseases including cancer. I am trying not to come across in this blog as an alarmist, because I also judged the “healthy food extremists” for going too far, but I am proud to say that I would rather lean on that side today.
What is so bad you ask? Well, simple foods such as cereals, baked goods, breads, chips, etc. are filled with additives that may come from animal waste products, chemicals and ingredients that have been modified so much that they wreak havoc with our bodies nervous systems, digestive systems and immune systems. I am not saying eating these foods once in a while are going to harm us. Not even more than once a while. But eating a bread, cereal or muffin regularly in your home that contains these ingredients, plus add a few more products that you use, then go out to eat a few times a week and you are pretty much answering why you don’t feel so good.
I could go on and on here but I won’t because I appreciate that you have not necessarily seen what I have seen. What I want to encourage you to do is start with one product a week in your home that you use and look up each and every ingredient to see what it is and why it is used. You may be amazed at what you learn. I believe we have a responsibility as parents to learn what we are feeding our kids. We also have that same responsibility for ourselves, but we make that choice. Our children rely on us.
For those of you who have not attended the healthy kids’ lunch workshops in the past, I have put together a list of over 100 products that are “good” for your kids. Not only are they products that are void of anything “bad”, they add to your child’s health. I have also included a ton of recipes to start making your own baked goods and freeze them. Cheaper as well.
I don’t know (nor does anyone) what impact the food industries current practices (GMO’s, hormones, antibiotics, etc) will have on any of us. Perhaps we will evolve to deal with it and in the future we won’t suffer from these changes. But the rates of cancer, behavioural and mood disorders, and other auto immune diseases (diabetes, chrones, multiple sclerosis) are enough of a reason to take this seriously and make changes.
Just start with your bread and you are making a huge impact. What I have learned is that it is small changes that make the biggest impact. I found a bread that is so clean and so full of nutrients I feel great about sandwiches. Even peanut butter sandwiches. Use a clean nut butter and this bread and you are providing one of the most nutrient dense meals. Who knew pb & jelly could be so healthy.
If you haven’t registered yet please click here to do so http://melissajacks.com/product-category/programs/seminars-workshops/
Hope to see you all over the next couple of months.