Monday, March 29, 2010

The Things We Miss...

It only took a few days of my kids being in public school to re-affirm something to me. Because our kids are in school all day, there are things that parents miss. Not the fun 'lightbulb' moments, or the laughs, or the hugs and fun things like that. This is a bit more serious.
I figured out long ago that my daughter was very sensitive to artificial colors in foods. Had I not had her in my care 100% of the time, this is probably something I would have missed. As her full time parent and teacher, I saw how everything she ate affected her, whether it was in her behavior or in physical complaints. But parents often don't realize there is a problem until they get a note from school mentioning 'testing', 'ADD', or 'ADHD'. Houston, there might be a problem.
I did a lot of research on artificial colors specifically, and found two sides. One that says it affects children, and they should avoid it. Another says that it does not affect children, and it is safe. If you know with 100% certainty that your child becomes a different person after consuming artificial colors, what side do you get on?
Well, the problem is that many parents never see the link...and here is why. IF they eat breakfast at home, children go to school soon after. The parents do not get the chance to observe their children's behavior. But the teacher does. (Does Suzie need to be tested for ADD?)
At our school, the children are led to the lunchroom by the teacher, who then goes to eat somewhere else. There is a cafeteria worker who supervises the kids to make sure nobody gets out of line. (It is a very small school). When the kids go back to class, the teacher has no idea what anybody ate. Some kids are fine, others may be bouncing off the wall. Some are not hyper, but in a drug-like trance (this is my daughter). Nobody is following these kids all day, seeing what they eat or drink and wondering if there is a connection. Even at recess there are stand-ins for the teacher.
Do you understand why so many people don't see the connection between food additives, colors, preservatives, and even high fructose corn syrup? Our children are like tiny scientific experiments that were abandoned by their scientists (parents!). If your child seems to have trouble concentrating, staying still, or getting work completed, try changing his diet before you put him on drugs. If your child is like my daughter, there is SO much intelligence there that the drugs are only going to squelch. You may not ever get your child 100% compliant with diet (what child IS 100% compliant?!) but if you see a positive improvement, keep the change going and it will only get better.
We are proof that food additives cause problems for kids. And we are proof that these problems can be avoided. Take the weekends to watch your children and how food affects them. Or better yet, just feed them natural, fresh, real food and enjoy them for two days!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I heart Jamie Oliver. I really do. My kids watched his new show with me last night and we all loved it. My daughter said as she got into bed, "Tomorrow can we cook a healthy meal together?" I hope that you are watching with your kids. Not necessarily because you need to make changes, but so that your kids can appreciate the healthy food they receive at home. (And if you DO need to make some changes, that won't hurt anything either...:)

Jamie mentioned a petition that he wanted Americans to sign so he could take it to Washington to show them that parents want change in our schools. Here is the link so you can sign it! Even if my kids hadn't just started school last week, I would sign this petition for the children at school. I wonder how bad our health care system would be if we didn't have the obesity epidemic...hmmmm

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's in YOUR Refrigerator?

My children went to public school this week for the first time ever. I have always felt that one of the benefits of keeping kids at home was feeding them nutritious foods. I knew that school lunches were dismal at best, and looking over the school menu, I may have underestimated how bad the lunches really are. But I'm not going to blame the school, the state, or even the USDA. Isn't it all of our faults?
First, I want to point out that it's ludicrous that children get free or reduced lunch at school. And children get reduced lunch at school! This simply means that instead of paying $1.70 (I think) per lunch, we pay $.40 per lunch. But like most people, if I qualify for it, I'm gonna take it. At least until my financial situation improves, my kids will be on reduced lunch and eat that junk. I know there are kids from much poorer families than my own. But I also know that those same families will be seen in the evenings right down the street from the McDonald's eating a $3.00 Happy Meal for dinner. Let's get real! We are already getting virtually free child care all day, and then we expect the government to feed our kids for free as well?! What?! Where did this line of thinking evolve? And if kids only pay $1.70 for lunch, how do we expect them to eat real food for that?! (I would bet most parents like me would be happy to pay more if it was real and healthy food.)
Second, the schools are not to blame for the epidemic of processed foods found on every lunch tray across America. The problem did not start there. The problem started in our homes. Come to think of it, the problem started with the medical community pushing low fat diets down our throats to cure heart disease, which increased carbohydrate intake and told America that as long as it was low fat, you will be fine! So we have evolved into carb-loving obese Americans who will eat anything processed over anything green. And we have fed that to our children. Shame on us!
Thank the heavens for Jamie Oliver. I don't care where he came from or how rude he might seem, what he is saying needs to be heard. It is how our doctors should treat their patients that don't want to hear the truth. Eating healthy is NOT more expensive. Eating junk is expensive up front, not to mention the cost on the back end from future doctor visits. Eating healthy is NOT difficult. Put fresh carrot sticks, celery, and cucumbers in your fridge. Even my 7 and 8 year olds can prepare these themselves...and they enjoy it! Kids will NOT refuse healthy food. My kids absolutely love fresh fruit. They have eaten salads since the age of two. My daughter's favorite food was broccoli at the age of 3. At 7 and 8, they still love these foods. And while Jamie has great recipes and cooking ideas, it is even easier than that...get a steamer and use some sea salt. Get a crock pot and dump the meat and veggies in. Bury the deep fryer in the yard! LOL
We do have Oreos and Dingdongs in our snack cabinet. I am not a food Nazi. We have treats, but we do so sparingly. We also have cereal and Pop Tarts on occasion. I am ashamed at these confessions. And yet, I know that my children eat WAY healthier than most of the kids we know. We do eat at McDonalds. My kids get to choose nuggets or cheeseburger, and I choose apple dippers and apple juice for them. I share my fries with them, and still many get thrown away. "Normal" families wouldn't consider anything but getting fries for everyone, and eating every last one! This isn't right!
This problem has gone on long enough for grown adults with their own children to have grown up with poor food choices. It's time to STOP, think about what we are doing to our children, and CHANGE before it becomes a battle in our houses. Do this while your little ones are at home, so that when or if they go to school one day, they will eat the healthy foods on their plate instead of dumping them in the trash!
P.S. Start taking a stand for the children in your community. I am coaching my daughter's U8 soccer team. We are not participating in "after game snacks" which usually consist of brightly colored high fructose corn syrup drinks with trans-fat snacks that do absolutely nothing for them. How much sense does it make for our kids to run around a field for an hour, only to be fed poison in the end?! Duh!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kate Gosselin

The show was called "Jon & Kate Plus Eight" but I'm voting to change the title to "Kate." Because these days, it's all about her. As a matter of fact, I wasn't sure how to spell "Gosselin" so I started typing her name in my Google search toolbar. And all I had typed was "Kate" and the first choice at the top was "Kate Gosselin." Hmmmm.
As if she hadn't filled her plate enough, Kate recently committed to Dancing with the Stars. Which is funny in itself, because she isn't a STAR! If I had any respect for this woman, it is now all gone. It was bad enough watching her freakish control over her kids and her husband. It was sad enough watching her hit the road at the end, leaving her kids behind when she knew the separation was right around the corner. When her kids need her the most, off she goes.
I find it ironic that America sat and watched Jon be treated poorly in almost every episode, and as soon as they split, he is made to look like the bad guy. I've not paid a terrible amount of attention to the stories. But from what I saw, he did nothing wrong except live his life knowing that the media was going to plaster it all in their rags. Perhaps he should have lived like a hermit for a while, but the fact is, both of these parents are a bit distracted, don't you think?
Having been through a divorce, I know how this works. There is a period of shock, mourning, grieving, and recovery, where the kids tend to take a back seat for a time. You really are just trying to get from one day to the next. But that's not what we are talking about here. We are talking about a mom with EIGHT children that we ALL know need her now more than ever, and she is doing a frivolous dance show?! This is a HUGE committment. I don't care if she practices while they are at school. I don't care that if she was working full time she would be gone more hours for a longer period of time. She should be taking this time to rest and prepare so that she can manage eight children after school peacefully. We all know Kate...we all know how she freaks out over the littlest things. She's going to dance all day and then be a loving, caring mom for EIGHT kids? Right. I'm sorry, but someone needs to wake up and people need to stop making her offers. I've seen enough. And no, I won't be watching Dancing with the Stars...