Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Obesity Epidemic

I have had a couple of rough weeks, and so I never posted last week.  I do have some good news though; I have lost a total of 6 pounds since I re-dedicated myself to losing this excess weight.  That is something I am really proud of, and last week I also ran 4 miles in 36:07 minutes.  My best yet and pretty much a 9 minute mile.  I hope to continue working on getting my time down.

I do want to explore an issue that has been bothering me for a long time, and I am so ecstatic that CBS and ABC had the guts to expose it on prime-time.  ABC did it through Jamie Oliver on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and CBS did it by airing Food Inc. Both of these programs expose the growing epidemic of obesity in this country.  It’s not only that we are more unhealthy today than ever before, but even our own government is setting up guidelines and instituting regulations that are actually enabling obesity.  Here are some important facts to consider the next time you go to the grocery store or allow your child to eat a school provided lunch:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup “HFCS”:  This is a bi-product of corn that came out of World War II.  Our government, in response to the Great Depression, started a program to support our farmers by buying corn.  We therefore, had such a large surplus of corn that our government went to food producers and offered to supply them with corn and all of its bi-products at a very minimal cost.  Thus, our food manufactures moved away from using sugar in their products to HFCS.  Did you know that HFCS can cause an unresponsive insulin spike which over time can lead to fat storage and even diabetes?
  2. Flavored Milk: I had no idea that chocolate milk has more sugar per serving than a can of soda.  Thanks to Jamie Oliver who pointed out that we can’t teach our children to eat the right balance of fruits, vegetables and diary if it’s always covered in sugar.
  3. School lunches:  Why does our government consider French fries a vegetable?  In my family potatoes always were considered a starch and never a vegetable.  Why are we teaching our children that fried foods are vegetables?  Why is the very institution that should be teaching our children in fact encouraging them to be obese by feeding them nothing but processed foods?  We should be appalled that our schools primarily feed our kids pizza, chicken nuggets, and other non-nutritious foods.
  4. Chicken nuggets: I have always known that chicken nuggets weren’t the best thing for you, but until I watched how they were actually made: ground up bone, skin and chemicals; breaded and then fried in oil, could I truly understand that there is absolutely no nutritional value.
  5. Chicken breast:  When we see the huge chicken breasts in the grocery store we should think, wow, what did they do to get it that big?  The answer – hormones.  Ever wonder why our daughters are going through puberty on average 2 years earlier than ever before?  It’s because our cows which produce milk, our chicken, our meat is all pumped up with hormones.  Furthermore, non-organic chicken is pumped full of dye in order for it to appeal to the American public, because after all of the altering of the meat by the hormones they need it to actually look like chicken.
  6. Juice – most of it is just sugar and water, even most that say 100% juice.  Even if the label says only “apples and water” know that most of the nutritional value has been pasteurized out as all of our foods are required to be pasteurized.  Encourage your child to eat the fruit and to drink water; they will get more vitamins and fiber from the fruit and learn that water is really the best liquid to drink.
  7. Brand named processed foods: Do you know that companies like Kellogg, Nestle, Kraft, etc. all have research departments that are trying to invent new processed foods that will appeal to the American public, and will sell.  Furthermore, they pump these foods full of sodium, fat and sugar in order to make sure who ever buys the product becomes addicted.

This is only a sample of how we are being duped into being obese and how we are letting the manufactures and government lead our children into obesity.  It’s a staggering fact that the children today have a shorter life expectancy than us as parents due solely to the increased factor of obesity.

Now, how do we make a change?  First, we take ownership of what we bring into our homes.  I am not saying we all have to grow our own gardens or only shop for organic produce, but we should shop at local farmers market, buy frozen vegetables over canned, buy local if possible, and most importantly read the ingredients.  I think we should continue Jamie’s food revolution and stand up and say enough is enough.  We should return to going to the butcher for fresh meat that hasn’t been pumped full of hormones, we should go to the local bakery for fresh bread that isn’t pumped full of stabilizers and we should take ownership of our health and our children’s health.

One of my goals as a mom has been to teach James how to eat.  We laugh that he eats sauteed mushrooms with quinoa, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini and even spinach, but we have also done the work to get him to eat these vegetables.  We put it in front of him everyday regardless if he eats it, because one day he will decide why not, and believe me it works.  Desert in our house is fruit.  Fruit is always used as a snack along with “fishies” (Gold Fish).  But we are extremely happy with the way we are shaping our little child’s eating habits, and hopefully we will continue (hopefully our government will also jump onto the wagon and get in the program) to teach James to eat fresh and healthy so that he can have just as long of a life as us.

My goals for the rest of the week:

  1. Continue running.  I hope to get in a couple of solid runs this week and to continue my weight loss.
  2. Try a new recipe.  There are a lot of studies out there that say if you continuously try new recipes you will be a healthier eater.  Matt and I used to do this all of the time, but with the addition to our family we have become “lazy” in this category. 
  3. Continue tracking on WW and hopefully to loose at least a couple more pounds.


  1. Nice education piece on this one Liz!

    Lets get people learning MORE about what they are consuming....

    I am so proud of you.


    ps. James is a wonderful healthy eater, and you both should be proud of yourselves!!

  2. Thanks Meg. As you know, we get really worked up about this! And thanks for introducing us to Wilson's Farms we love going there!