“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), published early this year by the USDA and US Department of Health and Human Services, provides some scary statistics on our eating habits… The heavy toll of diet-related chronic diseases is staggering. According to the DGA, 37 percent of the population has heart disease, 34 percent have high blood pressure, 11 percent have type 2 diabetes, 35 percent (that we know of) have pre-diabetes, and now 41 percent of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetimes. Cancers closely related to dietary habits include breast, colon, kidney, mouth and esophagus.” Globegazette.com – May 2011
I have a confession to make: on a bad day I can feel despondent and jaded when I consider the magnitude of change that is needed to rectify our country’s ubiquitous health crises. From skewed government policies that favor big corporate food players (whose primary goal is to maximize profitability), to our growing socioeconomic divide and concomitant dietary and lifestyle problems, to our American mainstream fast food, fast life, supersize-me junk food, consumerist culture… I can get a little downtrodden.
Then I remember that I am a Life Coach, who specializes in WELLNESS, advocates for doable positive lifestyle change at home, at work, and in our schools… and I remember that every positive action counts, one person can make a difference, and together we can educate, support, and really help each other live better and effect remarkable change.
It also helps when I run across someone like Robyn O’Brien, and feel inspired again. I was recently sent an 18 minute YouTube video of her addressing an audience of 600 attendants at a TEDx talk, and I highly recommend it to you. She calls herself a most “unlikely food crusader,” raised on Twinkies and Po-Boys, from Dallas. A Type A personality – full scholarship to business school, graduating at the top of her class – she became a food industry analyst.
However, it wasn’t until the youngest of her four children nearly died one morning at breakfast from an allergic reaction to something in her food – “Leggo my Eggo waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs” – that Robyn became interested in the question : “Is there something in our food that is making us sick that wasn’t there when we were kids?”
YES there is. Robyn’s research of five years uncovered some unhealthy truths – that basically, beginning in the 1990’s, new proteins were engineered into our food supply to maximize profits for the food industry. (Food allergies occur when our body sees food proteins as foreign, and reacts against them.) She reveals that between 1997 -2002, there was a doubling of the peanut allergy. Additionally, one out of every 17 children under the age of three now has a food allergy.
For me, the most egregious information she offered is that as we are the only country that allows genetically modified food (not Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, or 27 European countries), we have managed to scientifically engineer seed with insecticide within the corn plant, so that the growing corn actually releases its own insecticide, and that CORN has become regulated as an insecticide by the EPA! This has been banned in all the previous mentioned countries, because there hasn’t been sufficient testing to prove its safety. But here in the US, it hasn’t been proven dangerous, so it is allowed. Furthermore, companies here in the US actually sell different, safer versions of products for export than they offer here in the untested, unconcerned, money hungry United States.
OK. So am I trying to make you as depressed as I get on a bad day with all this compounded negative information? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I am ablaze with energy committed to helping, inspiring, learning, educating, and sharing with you as best I can, HOW to make better choices along the continuum of health & wellness.
Those of us who are inclined must advocate for change in our national food policies, our classrooms and our workplace, AND the rest of us don’t have to wait for new regulations to take matters into our own hands. We can take immediate action by making better choices in our life today:
- Really look at your food and consider where it came from.
- Read the labels for ingredients – don’t buy what you can’t pronounce.
- Plant a vegetable garden from organic seeds/plants , even if it’s one potted herb on your windowsill.
- Cook meals with your children and eat WITH them whenever possible.
- Children often like crunchy raw colorful veggies, especially when they look fun to eat. Try making a vegetable face with your kids – green bean eyebrows, cherry tomato eyes, carrot nose, red pepper lips – you get the picture.
- Eat slowly and adjust your portion size.
Please, before my next article, watch Robyn’s video (below). Then pass it on. Let’s all leverage our talents with our passion for GOOD FOOD and see where change takes us… one step at a time.
Until next time,
Keep me posted!