So many people, far too many people, still don’t get it…
WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS.
to your health,
it matters to the environment and our planet
it matters to the future of our country.
Despite what we know about the relationship between food and disease, rates of obesity and diet-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension continue to rise (see America’s Prescription for Ill Health). Most people still lack the basic fundamental food knowledge to be able to make important decisions regarding their health, which ultimately effects the future of our country and the entire planet. Think I’m overreacting? Consider this excerpt from the Food Day blog:
The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment. Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path.
Ok, stop. Did you read that carefully? If you did, can you answer this question: do we seriously want to continue on this self-destructive path?
I would hope most of you would emphatically say, “no!” You see, a conscious decision to eat poorly effects us all. When you truly digest the facts (no pun intended,) it’s hard to turn your head and ignore them. Somehow we are still not effectively communicating the urgency of this situation. Nationwide events like Food Day are helping to change all that.
Here are some more disturbing facts…
- Currently, our kids are downing triple the daily recommended amount of sugar and double the recommended amount of sodium due to the prevalence and abundance of highly processed foods and junk food marketing.
- More than 80% of kids do NOT get the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. (See Children’s Diet- A Prescription for Ill Health .)
Can’t we can give our kids a better destiny than to be the first generation to die at a younger age than their parents for the first time in history because of the food they eat?!
It’s really not a mystery why rates of cancer and disease in both adults and children are soaring.
Genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger.
The food we eat can set off a biological chain of events that might ultimately determine our destiny.
Now that you know some of the facts, here’s a major part of the solution…eat real food! It’s that simple and we should be screaming it from the roof tops! (see Real Food Defined by 100 Days of Real Food & Eating Real on a Budget on the Food Day blog.)
This is why I’ve focused so much of my energy and attention on the next generation, the leaders of tomorrow…our children. We have the chance to empower them to make the right choices that will benefit not only themselves, but our planet. It’s comes down to food education and it’s critical to our longevity as a nation.
Here’s were YOU come in. Change begins with the choices you make in the supermarkets and the meals you put on your table each and every day. You CAN make a difference.
I implore you to advocate for change. You can support the FOOD DAY movement for healthy, affordable, sustainable food simply by creating an awareness of these issues in your own home. Talk to your parents and friends, to your husband or wife, and to your children. Help bring attention to these issues in your communities and schools.
A great way to begin is by establishing a Wellness Committee at your local school, work place or community center (for more info on how to create a Wellness Committee visit Let’s Move and Alliance for A Healthier Generation.org). My committee began with one member…me. But it only takes one person to ignite the flame. Through the years we’ve grown into a talented group of parents inspired to make real changes. It occurs slowly, but it does happen.
Here are some examples of Food Day events I’ve led in previous years that has gotten parents, teachers, kids and our community talking REAL FOOD.
School Wide Fruit and Vegetable Challenge – Have children complete a chart during the 2 week challenge writing down any new fruits and vegetables they’ve tried. Parents sign off stating they’ve completed the challenge and children are then entered into a drawing to win prizes. In the past we’ve given away pumpkins, school store coupons, and gift cards to art supply stores.
“Dunk The Junk” Art Contest- If you don’t know about Dunk the Junk, you should. Developed by a pediatrician who was so disturbed by the statistics of obesity in his hometown that he began educating kids about eating healthy through street art images. We used this concept at our school last year. Children from all grades got to create their own “Dunk The Junk” artwork and we made it a school-wide contest. To tie into the theme we invited one of our area’s most talented cartoonists to be our judge. All artwork was displayed in our school’s main hallway. Winners received free art lessons donated by the local Arts Center!
“Fall Into Healthy Habits”- This year children are coloring in printable apples and writing down a healthy habit they’d like to work on for the current school year, such as drinking less soda, eating more veggies or exercising more. Apples are being hung in our main hallway and children who participate will be entered into a drawings to win prizes on Food Day! We will also be having a fall harvest with our school garden vegetables.
My personal favorite so far…
I think we have a Food Day leader in the making!
On a side note to anyone running school events like these, my advice would be to get local businesses involved in donating prizes and get local news reporters to cover your events! You’d be surprised what people will do for a good cause such as this!
Looking back it’s hard to believe all we’ve done so far. At the time it seemed like so little, but we are slowly making a difference. Many parents are beginning to realize we don’t need to pump our kids with sugar at school in order for them to have a good time! Teachers are becoming aware that junk food rewards are a no longer appropriate. Children are getting excited about being healthy and doing what is right!
Use October 24th as your starting point to a healthier life for you and your family!