Under the heading of breaking free from the lies that the world tells us, let us not forget about one of the biggest offenders. The lies we are told about food.
“Oh, my gosh, I could never go Paleo.”
“I could never give up gluten! Why would you want to give up bread?”
“Gluten isn’t bad for you, there’s nothing wrong with gluten! I don’t have celiac disease!”
“The government wouldn’t allow anything bad in our food supply. I don’t know what you’re so worried about.”
“I really need to drink more milk for my bones. I get so much calcium from drinking milk, and it’s not bad when I eat ice cream, because that’s made from milk, so it’s basically a health food!”
“I drink in moderation, the government says that drinking in moderation is good for my heart. One drink every day is actually really good for me!”
“I deserve to eat that sugar. I deserve to have those drinks, I worked so hard this week. I’m stressed out.”
“Where’s the chocolate?”
“I cannot wait to go for donuts on Saturday morning, it’s a Saturday morning after all…I’ll bring the whole family.”
Excuse me, but when did the one who eats the most sugar, win?
Is that like a prize? Is inflammation around your heart, and fat around your gut, and on all of your extremities, and hardening of your arteries, and a future of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease something to strive for? What am I missing here?
See that cookie over there? Many people are going to try to justify all of the reasons why it is OK for them to have that cookie. You want that cookie. You deserve that cookie. You cannot live without that cookie. Nobody better try to tell me I cannot have that cookie. Actually, I’m going to eat that entire bag of cookies, because I’m a grown adult, and nobody can tell me what to do. Humph.
Is that little tiny cookie the ruler of you, a great big thinking person with a great big brain and a healthy body to care for? Is that tiny little cookie in charge of you? of course this is not about just eating one cookie. If most people would just eat one cookie, there wouldn’t be nearly the level of grave health issues and disease in this country that presently exists.
One of the biggest mistakes made in America today, is the failure of parents to truly educate their children on how to eat in order to live. Yet they excel on teaching them how to eat when you’re in a hurry. They’re really good at teaching them how to eat on the cheap at fast food restaurants. And they are exceptionally good at showing them how to heat up a frozen pizza. But, eating like this day in and day out is not a recipe for health, it is a recipe for a health disaster.
What kind of legacy do we want to give our kids? If we care so deeply about their education and their spiritual health, what kind of friends they have, how many friends they have, if they are happy…then why do so many of us neglect to teach them how to eat in order to live a healthy and happy life? I think it’s because so many of us never learned, we were never taught. Our grandparent’s generation was truly one of the last generations who knew how to cook. Our parents generation, for those of us who came of age in the 80’s and 90’s- not many of them were cooking old fashioned homemade meals for us, as schedules changed, and in most homes, both parents were working outside of the home for the first time ever. Our generation quickly became super good at using the microwave, and eating Doritos and making noodles from a package topped off with powdered cheese and milk. Convenience garbage. Notice I did not call it convenience food. Because it is not actually food.
It was quite common in the area of the country where I was raised for parents to be extremely hands off when it came to talking about how to eat, or telling a child they were eating too much or limiting them at all, out of fear that parents were going to create an eating disorder in the child. HUH? what sort of logic is that? This is a FANTASTIC example of one of the huge lies that the world tells us. So what they did instead, is they supplied all the junk food you could possibly imagine at all times, out of convenience and a lack of understanding, for the most part created no limits, and made little attempt to model healthy eating behaviors of their own, because everybody was at work all day long, and nobody took the time to cook. Many parents modeled incredibly unhealthy eating patterns of binging on junk food and then not eating for an entire day to “lose weight”… obsessing over food to an incredible degree, and their kids were watching the entire time. Attitudes and relationships to food are passed on with each generation. When we were little, most of us took on the same attitude towards food that we saw modeled within the home. On the weekends, few took time to batch cook or meal plan like we do today, whether or not you work inside the home or outside, people are starting to understand that in order to have a healthy family that is not sick all of the time, you have to spend time in the kitchen.
There are so many wonderful resources available online now to help with a shopping list for the week, based around a specific healthy menu. There are organic meal delivery services that bring you the ingredients you need to cook a healthy meal each day-honestly in many ways, convenience has a new face. One that is organic and GMO free and can be delivered to your doorstep. (And many that are not organic as well). In areas where this is not common place, many rural towns have wonderful CSA (community supported agriculture) shares that families are taking advantage of, in order to eat seasonally and healthfully year round. Remember the root cellar? Even the root cellar is making a comeback! What is so cool, is that despite the fact that so many of us didn’t really learn how to cook when we were younger, there seems to be such a tremendous movement to get back to what it really takes to have thriving health. You want to jump off the western medicine cycle of antibiotics, prescriptions and worry? Change what you put in your mouth.
The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead. That’s not just a silly saying! How many kids do you know who insist, all day long, on only white bread, cheese, sugar, milk, and will only eat one or two kinds of veggies EVER? And the parents just through up their arms and say, “whelp! I can’t get them to eat anything else….at least I am filling their belly! They won’t eat anything else, they are so picky!” And these same parents are wondering why their kids suffer from asthma, digestive issues, behavioral problems, learning difficulties, cancer, sleep issues, allergies, recurrent strep, eczema…these WERE NOT COMMON CHILDHOOD AILMENTS before our generation. And the schools….the use of junk food to reinforce good behavior…oh, my stars and clovers. Then, the teachers freak out when the kids act out, after getting all hopped up on sugar and food dye. Sugar affects the same area of the brain as cocaine and heroin. Food dye causes untold amounts of inflammation in the developing brains of our children. By our silence and apathy towards our health, we say that it is okay to for others to give garbage to our kids….and we seem to reinforce it’s use as a society. In many areas of the U.S., the use of junk food to regularly feed families is so very pervasive and so shoved-at-you-from-every-angle, that to have a family that values nutrition, wellness and healing through then use of “food as medicine” is mocked and maligned. Junk-food-consumption-as-social-status. No thanks.
The reasons why a limited, sugar-laden diet is so impactful to our kids (and to us) are multifaceted, but it all starts with what quickly becomes a lack of gut diversity. When we eat a limited diet, the good bugs that run our immune system in our digestive system die away, because many of them depend on healthy, whole foods to thrive. Pathogenic bacteria and worms move in in their place. Did you know that 80% of our serotonin is produced in our gut? Can you see now why SO many people are so very depressed? Broken gut= broken brain. Prebiotics and fiber, found only in a diverse diet based upon veggies and fruits, are vital to the construct of a healthy, functioning immune system. Adding insult to injury is the fact that because these kids struggle so much on a functional immune level, their parents are taking them to the doctor constantly, and the docs give them course after course of antibiotics for ear infections, recurrent strep throat, even stomach ailments! Did you know that antibiotics drive illnesses, like strep, deeper into the body? There, they will hang out, causing more problems over time, just to resurface again and again in the future and wreak havoc in the body and the brain? Strep then hides within biofilms in 0ur body. The KEY to overcoming recurrent secondary infections within the body (like strep) is to rebuild (or maintain) a healthy gut biome, and the first way to do that is via diet. Make the body so pleasant, that those nasty germs and bacteria, pathogens and worms who would like to take up permanent residence, will have to look elsewhere for a more suitable, less healthy, host.
To the parents who have given up on trying to get their kids to eat a healthy diet, it’s time to re-strategize, because YOU ARE BIGGER THAN FOOD. You are bigger than your child whining incessantly for sugar (that is nothing more than the pathogenic, sugar eating gut bugs speaking), bigger than the temptation for Taco Bell for the entire family for dinner cause it’s “on the way”, and also old enough to know the correlation between how food makes you feel mentally, physically and emotionally. We all see how our parents generation, and now our generation, and even our kids and their friends are suffering from an epidemic of autoimmune disease, from diabetes to thyroid disorder, endometriosis to rheumatoid arthritis, PANDAS/PANS, lupus to Crohn’s. Alzheimers and dementia are striking younger and younger. 30% of children under 18 have at least one chronic, debilitating autoimmune disease. That is a HUGE amount of sick, suffering kids! Why are so many okay with this? They MUST be okay with it because they are NOT TRYING TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP THEIR OWN KIDS. The rates for adults are far higher, with many adults suffering from multiple autoimmune disorders all at one time, with little hope for recovery if they don’t start to take charge of their health, and that of their family. The number of people suffering from autoimmune disease is over 20% of the US population, which surpasses the the prevalence of heart disease and cancer combined. Relying on ONLY your doctor for “healing”, taking their prescriptions, not changing your diet, and wondering why you are NOT GETTING BETTER is NO way to live. Why have we become so complacent in this country, that we find this to be an acceptable quality of life?
DISEASE IS NOT YOUR DESTINY.
Just because disease A, B or C runs in your family, does not mean it will be the hand that you are dealt. You can change your genetic expression by changing what you put in your mouth. You can control so much more of how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically. The choices you make every day around food will greatly impact how your day goes. Many folks don’t realize this, as they’ve become so desensitized, using food as a drug of complacency. I worked at a job where my boss was in an abusive marriage. She was drastically overweight, suffered from extreme self loathing, and her health was starting to fall apart at the age of 40. Each afternoon, on her break, she would drive to the Dairy Queen in our small town, and get a giant Blizzard. She would sit in her car, consume it, and cry most of the time while she did it. Sometimes she would call me while she was eating, and we would talk about all the things she would try to do to stop this cycle. She felt such a relief from finally getting her hit of sugar (lighting up the brain’s reward pathway, the same areas that light up in the brains of heroin and cocaine addicts- the dopamine receptors are immediately sent into overdrive) but being SO mad at herself for furthering her health problems. This is so common in our society, but the biggest tragedy is that most folks don’t know how to stop the cycle because they don’t think that they are worth it. They are used to feeling broken and their wills have become weak through repetition of harmful habits, and the reinforcement of such habits through all of the false messages that society sends us through advertising, food placement within the schools, and the overall breaking down of the quality of the food supply within this country. That, and all their friends are doing it, so it must be okay.
I often get messages from folks wondering how to start on a healthy path when they can’t really afford to eat organic foods. You do NOT have to eat all organic foods in order to regain or maintain your health, but you would be well served to observe the list of clean 15 and dirty dozen foods, organized by pesticide toxicity here. A family cannot get their kids on a healthy track for eating if the parents eat one type of food, and they cook separately for their kids. Showing your kids that they get to dictate what they eat in the home isn’t doing them any favors. You will have a great deal more success if this is a family endeavor. Couldn’t we all stand to feel better? That depression and anxiety that runs in your family….wouldn’t you like to break that cycle for your future, as well as that of your kids? Check out this article on the gut-brain axis and its role in mental health:gut/brain axis. Here’s another article on inflammation in your gut as the root of depression. And I have also referenced Dr. David Perlmutter’s book in an earlier post. I highly recommend reading it to understand the importance of self care, and the power you have to control what happens to your health via what you choose to put in your mouth.
The way we get our children to eat for their health and longevity is by not only modeling it in the home, but also by having rules for not eating junk food when out and about with friends. If you just tell them they can’t, that is not going to work, especially when they are teenagers. But, if you start them young, educate yourself first on how to eat to live and heal from illnesses while preventing disease, and then impart this knowledge to your kids all along the way. Your kids will understand that the person who eats the candy and soda and In-and-Out burger is not the winner…and that there is no prize to be had in eating for disease. In this society, where so few like to speak the truth or strike out on their own to do what is right for their family out of fear of looking different, or wondering how others perceive them, I ask you the same question I have asked before. Who are you living for? Who are you trying to please? Others? Are you afraid to seem different from the norm because you choose to stand up for the health and well being of your family, and remove yourself from the endless, poor health and pill-taking mentality of so many who are lost? Please consider re-evaluating your use of food, as you are demonstrating it to your kids who are building habits for a lifetime. We are at an unprecedented time in history when it comes to how sick are children are in America. We have the power to reverse this within our own home. Do not let that opportunity escape you.
You also have to prioritize your own time, and get in the kitchen. I don’t care if you work outside the home or inside, full-time or part time, everyone of us MUST make the time to cook if we want to have healthy kids and feel awesome ourselves. There are wonderful guides online for batch cooking on the weekend, where you can have everything all set for the week, and put some of it in your freezer to heat up later. Here is one example of how to batch cook for the week. Here is a great Paleo resource that I love as well.
Above all else, please know how powerful you are. God has given us so many wonderful, real foods to bring us health and healing. He did not intend for us to create all of this fake junk food that really isn’t food, and then use our stomachs as garbage disposals. he did not want us to use chemical “foods” as a drug to placate are unhappy heart. He did not intend for it to become socially acceptable to gorge on junk food to numb our own feelings of depression, inadequacy or sadness. We are capable of so much more than many of us give ourselves credit for. We can teach our children how to eat. We can be the parents. We set the tone in the home, our kids are not in charge. We owe more to our children than constant trips to the doctor, constant antibiotics that further break down their guts and therefore their brain, and then using fake food (like candy and pop) as rewards- thus REINFORCING their future emotional mis-use of food and subsequent descent into illness, depression and obesity. We must teach our children that we should eat good quality, real food in order to live well…we can no longer afford to demonstrate to them that we “live to eat” through the constant use of junk food, crap-food as rewards, and not caring about our own selves enough to make the real changes.
Doing a Whole 30 is a wonderful way to get your family on a tremendous new path for healing and disease prevention…and the best part is there is SO much support online for those doing a Whole 30- so many recipes, so many books, so many tips. Remember as you consider making changes for your family…you have the power to influence the health of your kids fro the rest of their lives. And, the health of your future grandkids! What a tremendous legacy. Real, lasting prevention of disease through the proper use of food! It is time to stop pretending like what we have done to the food supply in this country is okay. Make the right choices, make the effort and make it a priority for your entire family…and you will never look back. You will reap the rewards! Please know that you are worth it. You are a child of God, and you deserve to be happy.
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Be well and own your power,
I believe in you!
The Mint Pixie