I knew this would happen but I didn't expect it to happen. What I mean is, I knew having a baby would forever change my life but what I didn't expect was how much it would change me. How many times have you heard it, "having a baby changes your life". Well I am not only experiencing the change of my life but also experiencing a powerful change in myself. I feel like a protective mother bear, not only to my daughter but to all children. When I think of how helpless and dependent children are on the adults and how their little lives are in our hands for the most precious years of their lives and we are doing them wrong. Sound dramatic?
I was at the park yesterday walking with my 8 month old daughter. As I looked around at the kids playing who were probably 5-8 years old and noticed how many of them were overweight it deeply saddened me. I was talking to one woman and she was telling me how her teen was really overweight and she said it like it was simply something that "happened" to her and she didn't know what to do. I believe she doesn't, just like my mother didn't know how to help me, my brother doesn't know how to help his overweight daughter and my sister's don't know how to help their kids who are struggling with weight issues. Obviously we are not the only ones.
I have been studying the effects of sugar on the body and it is a huge wake up call. The average person eats per day is 32 teaspoons of sugar a day, 136 lbs a year, that is 31 5 pound bags for each of us. Now before you say to yourself you are not one of "those" people remember that the biggest chunk comes from a variety of prepared foods like ketchup, canned vegetables and fruits and peanut butter. If you pay attention and start reading the labels on everything you eat you will see that it is in almost everything. I was reading the ingredients on a "diet" bar and the 4 out of the first 6 ingredients were different forms of sugar, but sugar is sugar! Why is there sugar in everything? Because it is highly addicting, it makes everything taste good and if you are addicted to it you will buy it and eat it in mass quantities and that is great for sales but not so great for your health or your children's health. We are also taught that sugar is a harmless thing and as long as you have it in moderation it is ok. Reality check, no it's not.
There is nothing beneficial about sugar and most people don't want to even know how bad it is for them because no one really wants to give up foods they are addicted to. Being addicted to it means you feel uncomfortable, irritable and or sick if you don't have it. It is the worst thing we could possibly be eating and it is more addictive than heroine and just as difficult of an addiction to break. The problem is parents are as addicted to it as kids are and it is just how the standard American family eats. It is also easier to get kids to eat sugar filled snacks and foods, they are everywhere, cheap, packaged in great colorful packages and sold everywhere we go. It is hard to say no to a child begging for candy and ice cream. Of course they are begging, poor little things are addicted.
Did you ever see the youtube video of the baby from Sumatra who is smoking cigarettes? We look at this and gasp with horror. How could anyone give their child a cigarette then when the parents were asked why they just don't give it to him, stop buying them, they say because he throws a tantrum. Of course he does, it is called addiction and there are severe withdrawal symptoms when you don't have it. If there is a serious withdrawal symptom then it is seriously negatively impacting your body when you have it. Have you ever experienced a headache when you stopped drinking coffee or having your diet coke. Have you ever tried to give up sugar, alcohol, smoking, cocaine or other hard drugs? I am using this as an example because feeding our children sugar filled foods is seriously just as bad. The only difference is it is socially acceptable. You may think I am exaggerating but just look at the statistics, the growing rate of obesity and diet related diseases and how they are starting with our children.
It breaks my heart to see loving parents unknowingly feed their most precious children food that will undoubtably lead to a life where they will forever be battling against their weight and an addiction to something that is in our food, on every street corner, at every party, on TV and in our kids school lunches.
My whole life I just thought I had no willpower. I felt ashamed of myself for not being able to control myself. Not until I was an adult did I realize that it was an addiction to sugar and it had to be treated as an addiction.
Take a good look at what children are eating these days and how it is killing them, setting them up for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, ADD, depression, obesity and low self esteem. This is child abuse. Just like giving your children cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or physically abusing them, it is the same thing. If you eat the SAD (standard American diet) you will get SAD (standard American Diseases) it is the law of cause and effect. It is not personal, based on social status, education, genetics or the color of your skin. It is an equal opportunity drug.
Now that I am a mom I have changed and I am determined to part of the solution to feeding our nations children better. It is everyone's responsibility to feed our nations children better and it starts with how we feed our own children and how we feed ourselves. We must start by educating ourselves and our families, speaking up and working with the schools to make sure better meals are provided.
How many of these things do you have in your diet?
Soda diet or regular
Fruit Juice ( Don't be fooled into thinking this is healthy, stick to fresh whole fruit instead)
White foods, like white rice, bread, pasta, cereal ( this is processed in the body just like plain sugar)
Processed and packaged foods: Read the label and look for any of these names for sugar: If it is in the first 5 ingredients choose something else.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Cook at home instead of fast food or going out
- Eat real food not processed or packaged
- Make sweet treats at home using fresh whole fruit to sweeten things so you have all the nutrients and fiber
- Start them young and train their palate to enjoy real food
- Make meals for the week ahead of time so you don't rush out for fast food
- Make friends with mom's who want to make the change or already have and support each other
- Read labels and if sugar is one of the first 5 ingredients do not buy it find another version of it or make it yourself
- Have rules in the house in regards to food. Limit sugar intake to one serving a week or special occasions
- Send your children to school with their homemade lunch if schools don't offer healthy options
- Educate your children, they want to be healthy and it is easier when they are young
- Don't cave into peer pressure when other mom's say "oh it's ok they are kids"! (think of the cigarette)
- Take the sugar out of your home. Don't temp your kids with cupboards full of junk food because they'll eat it
- Feed your children lots of greens and other vegetables. When we have a high nutrient diet cravings diminish
- Start paying attention to all of the sugar pushing commercials and how they try and make their junk food sound healthy!
- Remember, it takes a little time to let go of an old habit and develop knew ones but after a short time it will be simply how you do things.
Don't be fooled be educated and aware. Kids are not just getting fat because of the times, they are fat because of what they are eating at home and in school. They don't know any better, they expect the adults to be taking care of them and instead we are setting them up for a life of addiction to sugar, a socially acceptable drug that is as addictive as heroine and killing more people than cigarette smoking.
It is a revolutionary act not to feed your children the SAD. It is a revolutionary act to live a disease free life. Sad but true. Be a revolutionary and be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution! It's never too late to stop.
I have put together a 3 week "Kick the sugar habit" tele-seminar for anyone who wants support in kicking the sugar habit for yourself or your family.
Monday nights June 6, 13 and 20th. Cost $50. If you cannot make the call you can receive the recordings.
Go to Satilife.com to register to the Monday night calls.
Join me at the OMEGA institute June 17-19 for an empowering weekend of workouts and conversations.