Read an Excerpt
What's Happening with Children Today?
The alarm goes off, and you know you're about to face another day of battles. It's time to wake your kids up for school, but of course every time you go in there the kids want "five more minutes!" and then "just five more minutes!" You keep going into their rooms, but they are so groggy you finally have to drag them from their beds to the breakfast table. You give them Froot Loops or Lucky Charms or some other overly processed, super-sugared cereal. You finally get them up, but now they're so amped up, they're jumping around, out of control. You can't get them dressed. You finally get them into the car or to the school bus with a lot of screaming and fighting. At around ten o'clock they are crashing from their morning's first sugar fix, but not to worry. At ten-thirty, it's "Snack Time!" and the teacher or somebody has brought today's "healthy" snack, which is Fruit Roll-Ups or Capri Sun, or yogurts with sugar sprinkles or fruit cups with syrup or another white flour, white-sugared cereal. Now their midmorning fix is complete, and just as they're crashing again, it's time for lunch. But because they've already been on the sugar treadmill twice that day, do you think they want the fruit or the sandwich you've packed for their lunch? No way! They want a candy bar, or Coca-Cola, or anything else that is sugary to keep them on the treadmill, OR it's time for them to swing their pendulum in the other direction, to the salty side, so they crave pretzels, chips, or Goldfishinstead. In no time at all, your kids are crashing after their lunch and can barely get through the afternoon's schoolwork. By the time you pick them up after school, they are ravenously hungry because they've barely had any food with any nutritional value at all. In fact, when you check their lunch boxes, the apples and sandwiches are still there, but there are candy wrappers letting you know they've eaten something.
But now they're in the car, and what do they want you to do? Stop at your nearest fast food restaurant, drive through as quickly as possible so they can get more salty food (French fries and a burger) and more sugar (Coca-Cola or Sprite). And just think, you can get it all in one little box with a toy thrown in for the kids to fight over during their next junk food crash.
Even if you don't drive through your local fast food chain, the first thing the kids do when they get home is hit the refrigerator and pantry for something equally "junk foody." it's their fourth fix of the day and by the time they're sliding down the other side of the sugar mountain, it's Supper Time! Of course they are barely going to touch their dinners because their palates, which have tasted only extreme salt or extreme sugar all day long, can't even recognize anything remotely healthy. There's so much fidgeting and complaining that you finally let them leave the table to go watch TV.
Within an hour, they want a snack while they're watching, which involves more salt (chips, popcorn, etc.) and more sugar (soda, cookies, ice cream, etc.). But anything to keep them quiet and calm, so of course you give in and let them watch TV while they mindlessly munch. You try to get them to do their homework, but they're too unfocused or too tired to concentrate, so you plan on having them wake up early tomorrow because guess what, it's time for bed the biggest battle of them all! It starts with their saying that they're really, REALLY hungry, and because you know they haven't had much of a meal all day, you give them what they ask for, which is another bowl of cereal. So now, once again, for the sixth time that day, they're amped up. In fact, too amped up to go to bed, so it takes about an hour and a half after eight tuck-ins, seven "Settle downs!" six sips of water, five kisses, four "I love you toos", three bedtime stories, two trips to the bathroom, and one exhausted child who hasn't had a decent thing to eat all day. You finally get a few moments to yourself, but just before you close your eyes for some well-deserved sleep, you realize you get to do this all again tomorrow because your children will wake up with their white flour, white sugar hangovers.
In fact, if you think of the food your children have eaten that day, most of it is what is known as white food white sugar, white flour, white dairy. There's very little color. There's hardly any green or yellow or orange unless it's green dye #3, yellow dye #5, or orange B (as in a hot dog).
We have to ask ourselves, "How did our children's nutrition get to this point?"
To determine how and why our children's lives have developed into this scenario, we have to look at several factors that have jeopardized the health and well-being of our children in the past few decades:
- Exponential growth of fast foods, snack foods, and soft drinks
- Lack of exercise and a noticeable reduction in physical education programs in our schools
- Increased viewing of TV, video games, and computers
- Neighborhoods that lack sidewalks safe enough for walking or other forms of exercise
- A preference for riding in cars instead of walking or bicycling in even the safest neighborhoods
Big business, constantly striving to increase profits, has shaped our diets and the diets...