The age is moving down. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Obesity. Diabetes. In medicine we call these chronic diseases. Diseases that won’t go away. Before I left practice, I was seeing many kids with these diseases that don’t go away. I’m talking junior high boys with obesity and high blood pressure. What is that? Let’s see…thirteen years old! Then I counseled weight loss and more activity, never providing a springboard for success. Never saying or thinking that most of kids’ calories come from grains which are not necessary components of our diet: wheat, corn, rice, and oats. Never thinking or saying that nearly all of these grains are accompanied by sugar of some sort, artificial preservatives, and highly processed, oxidized vegetable oils. Never suggesting that parents reserve these juiced-up grains for treats rather than every day meal choices. I never suggested that candy need virtually eliminated, again reserved for real treats rather than handed out daily. If you think your child doesn’t get (or have the opportunity to get) candy or baked sweet goods nearly every single day outside of your home, I’d ask you to start asking them and recording the opportunities available for them so you have a true picture. It is ghastly.
Our children need us to be bigger. Need us to pull up our pants and do the hard stuff. So they can. It’s “just food”, doc. No. It’s not. It’s DIABETES. HYPERTENSION. OBESITY. ARTHRITIS. HEART DISEASE. STROKES. DEMENTIA. ADHD. GERD. I am shouting. Instead of saying it’s “just food,” say it’s any one of these illnesses. And take out the excessive, repetitious nutrients and add in the good stuff to help eliminate these chronic diseases in kids.
Questions to ask yourself.
1. Where is my child getting most of her calories? Is it from bread, buns, crackers, cookies, muffins, bagels, pasta, and cereal? Yes? A set-up for chronic disease.
2. Do the flour-based (even if they’re whole grains) products have sugar of some sort in them or artificial preservatives or colors? Yes? A set-up for chronic disease.
3. Do you ask your child specifically each day if they had a sugary treat? At school, such as a sucker, mint, birthday cookie, or Doritos swapped at lunch? Or at sports practice? Or at Wednesday night church or Sunday School? Or the sitter’s house? Or with grandma and grandpa? The kids answer “yes?” Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s just the truth. This is a set-up for chronic disease.
4. Have you given up on serving a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits because the kids won’t eat them? Yes? A set-up for chronic disease.
5. Do you regularly eat out? Yes? A set-up for chronic disease.
6. Are you always in a hurry, relying on boxed-food choices? Yes? A set-up for chronic disease.
7. Do you think the vitamins and minerals placed in processed foods are good enough to replace the foods they are naturally found in–foods your kids likely don’t like so well? For example, vitamin D should be found in your fish–not your milk. And folate should be found in your spinach–not added back to your refined, white flour so you can keep on eating so much of it. Omega-3s should not be found in your peanut butter. The photo at right is a peanut butter label with omega-3; they added sardine, anchovy, and tilapia to it. Nice.
How Can You Fight Chronic Diseases for Your Children?
Shun sugar and sugar sources. Reserve for real treats.
Limit grain products because the kind you buy at the store have been stripped of any nutrients and all you get are their side effects. Reserve for real treats.
Become aware of highly processed oils (vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and margarine to name only a few) because they wreak havoc on the cells and functions of the cells in your child’s body. Eliminate them. They are found in most all processed foods.
Remove artificial preservatives from your child’s diet.
Dedicate yourself to the endeavor of making them vegetable-eaters. This is where chronic-disease fighting vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will come from.
Do what you want. But your children aren’t destined to have chronic diseases. They are nurtured. Not natured. It will take some heavy-duty fighting for the cause. Are you up to the challenge? No? See you at the doctor’s office.
Defy the trend. It’s not just food. It’s chronic disease.