Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Children & Obesity

Picture it, average American family, 3pm Mom is in the school carpool line, picks up the last child and rushes Sally to ballet. While Sally is at ballet she takes the other two through the drive thru bank teller makes a deposit, and rushes into the grocery store to pick up cereal, bread, and milk. Kids beg for M&Ms, she protests at first, but ultimately gives in because she's tired from taking care of the house, picking up after everyone, doing mountains of laundry, paying bills, and dealing with the shifty auto mechanic at the service station, when all the minivan needed was an oil change.

They go back to pick up Sally and on the way go thru the drive thru at their favorite fast food restaurant to grab a bite for dinner, pick up Sally, and drive home in time to rush through mountains of homework before Dad gets home. Dad reheats his burger and fries in the micro when he gets there, gulps his watered down diet coke, and takes Jr. to soccer practice while Mom stays with Sally and her sister. Does that sound familiar?

We are so busy it can be difficult to keep up with everything. I am a single, working, homeschooling parent...I understand busy, believe me. Parents have so much on their plates, and there is enormous pressure from society to "do it all." Truth be told I realized a long time ago that I am not a superwoman or super mom. I cannot do it all, and I'm not entirely sure I want to anyway. What I do want is to ensure my family is taken care of the best of the ability that the Lord has provided me.

The two of the places I focus are spiritual health and physical health. As my sons' mother I am required to feed them well.  Spiritually depending on where you are with God will determine how you as a parent do that in your home. In my home that consists of constantly speaking about Gods Word, reading the bible daily to my children as well as making time for us to read individually, conducting a bible study together once a week, and attending church services.

Physically my goal is to impart wisdom on my sons where food is concerned. Primarily I want them to understand what food is, and what food is not. The MerriamWebster dictionary defines food as: material consisting of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair and final processes to furnish energy; also such food together with supplementary substances (minerals, vitamins, and condiments).

I have a rule that I try to follow, it's pretty simple. If God didn't make it, then I try hard not to consume it. I figure since God made me that I should use the things that He, not a chemist in a lab concocted with 83 million ingredients or synthetic vitamins with fluorescent artificial colors and preservatives. If it grew up from the ground, or came from an animal the Lord said was okay to eat, then it passes the initial test :) I'm really tempted to get into clean and unclean, but we won't do that today.

Did you know that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported child obesity rates to have tripled in the last 30 years?!!! I find that alarming. Childhood obesity raises the probability considerably for diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, social and emotional disorders, and poor bone & joint health all are side effects of childhood obesity.

Moms and Dads we have to take better care of ourselves. If we don't our children will not be inclined to do so either. Children aren't born fat, let's be honest. Genetics are one thing. No, not everyone is built the same, heights, bone density, and over all build make a difference. Nonetheless when I see 4 and 5 year olds that weigh considerably more than my 9 year old, that concerns me.

Parents we are to be good stewards with our precious gifts on loan, known as our children. Would you intentionally give your children poison? The answer is no, of course you wouldn't. I know you wouldn't. Regardless when we continue to eat and feed our child food-like items from boxes, bags, cans, and drive thrus on a regular basis that is exactly what is happening. We have to take responsibility for our family's health. It is not the FDA's or USDA's  job, our family physican's job, the president's job, the public school system's job, or anyone else.

We need to slow down, take inventory of what is in our pantry, our fridge, where we get our food from, and where we frequent as a place to a grab bite here and there. We should enjoy what we are eating. Real food is delicious. Frequent farmers markets, choose whole grains, and no, Cheerios do not count. Put bowls of fruit on the counter, keep Doritos out of the house, and offer water to drink. Get a good filter and some refillable stainless steel bottles for times on the go. Consider where your meat comes from...that's really important. Someone you know has their eggs. 

Keep simple veggies in the fridge like carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, and bell peppers. Make quick healthy dips like hummus, use organic peanut butter, raw almond butter, unsweetened full fat yogurt with herbs, spices, and Celtic sea salt. Keep these sliced up and offer them as snacks or with dinner. Make a pot of long grain brown rice and serve it with different dishes all week. Let's make wiser choices. Get the kids involved in prep work.

Yes, I know they may fight you if you didn't raise them to start out that way, but isn't it worth the fuss? Parents you have the control. I heard a mom say once that her child won't eat anything but chicken nuggets and fries. Really?!!! Who is the parent? Who is the one giving her child the options? We get one chance, one shot, one body on this Earth. More importantly our children get one shot, one body on this Earth. Shouldn't we set them up well? In all honesty, really, if you offer yummy, healthy meal, and they refuse it, it's okay. Don't get upset, they can choose to be hungry. 

Lets eat to live, not live to eat. I believe we should enjoy what we eat. We also need to understand that we need a good base for health and wellness. It doesn't come from a pill. It comes from what we regularly put in our mouths. The majority of our nutrition needs to be from our food. If we make our bodies trash cans how can we expect to thrive? 

We also need to be active. We need to move. Walking as a family is wonderful. If you have a garden get the kids involved. Get on the bicycles, go to the pool, get exercise DVDS for rainy days, join a family gym, take family martial arts, and more. I knows it's challenging with work, school, and other things. Our hearts and quite frankly behinds need it. 

I don't mean to be harsh. I'm not perfect, and don't always eat what I should or give my children the best. On a regular basis though my attempt and follow through are there. If you need help or guidance I'd love to help through my six month program. I can share my experience and what I've learned through education. You can get more details on:

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