Are children the victims of our vices?

 

  • Mom is tired so she stops by Dairy Queen on the way home from the late afternoon soccer game. She orders a Blizzard for herself and dipped cones for the children. There are some chips and leftover slices of pizza at home if anyone gets hungry before bed.   Lately she’s been too wiped out to care.
  • Junior is sitting in front of the computer munching on Doritos for supper. Dad and Mom don’t mind because they are lounging in their lazy boys watching the news while eating cheddar melts and curly fries. Later on they plan to dig into the two quarts of fudge ripple and butter pecan ice cream that’s in the freezer. Cooking and setting-the-table for dinner are obsolete words in their household. 
  • Baby is teething and cranky but the frazzled Mom has discovered that McDonald’s salted fries do the trick to quiet him down every time. Her two-year-old is also a happy camper when eating a Happy Meal in Playland. Mom has found the perfect place of serenity to escape to while eating Big Macs and chocolate sundaes at the golden arches.  
  • When the new parents held their twins for the first time, they had ideals for excellent nutrition. However, one by one, those ideals were tossed by the wayside in the flood of social events and birthday parties. Hotdogs, donuts, cake and ice-cream took over the best of logic and common sense. The pressure to fit in overcame the desire to be healthy. Today their teens eat chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, or pizza pockets most nights of the week.                  

 

In a study conducted by RAND Corporation, alcoholism increases the risk of chronic illnesses by 12%; cigarette smoking increases the risk of chronic illnesses by 25%; and obesity increases the risk of chronic illnesses by 67%.1

 

We have laws established to govern and prohibit the sale of both cigarettes and alcohol to minors, yet gluttonous eating that leads to obesity and poor health is practiced everywhere; especially by adults who are setting the example and leading the way by promoting the dangerous lifestyle. 

 

cans of PepseAn infant is encouraged to eat French fries that develops into an addiction for salty, high fat, processed foods in the preschool years; which snowballs into craving bags of chips and slices of pizza during the pre-teen / teen years. Chronic fatigue from malnutrition is replaced by Pepsi, coffee and energy drinks that become the drugs of choice through college and beyond. Over time, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, fatigue, and depression become the accepted and expected, All-American diseases; stimulating the economy by keeping drug reps employed, pharmaceutical companies in business, and surgical suites well staffed. 

 

 

 

When a faulty crib or playpen is recalled a wise parent returns the product. 

When crossing a busy street a careful guardian holds a child’s hand.

When danger lies ahead a prudent caregiver changes paths.

 

 

babyA victim is one that is [intentionally or unintentionally] injured, harmed, or destroyed by another.

 

Are children the innocent victims of our vices?

 

 

1 RAND Corporation; “The Health Risks of Obesity”; © 2002

 image credits - Flickr: babies by paparutzi; Pepsi Max by Lord Biro

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Comments (17) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Wild4Stars - January 31, 2011 7:04 PM

Every word true. The McDonald's near me has traffic backed up 2-3 blocks down the road people trying to get into the drive-thru at 5-5:30. Sitting in line, waiting to buy and eat poison.

mary - January 31, 2011 7:10 PM

phew....i've been there. i've been weak, i know our parents/children need support and new pathways for energy and building trust in doing the right thing day after day will work. even if at first they don't like it....green drinks with kale, turnip munchies, spirulina granola, homemade veggie soups,...really don't take extra time or money,...they take a courageous spirit who trusts nature and nurture and will go with the true flow rather than the commonly accepted desire for satisfaction of the sweet, salty, fat tastes which becomes a lifetime crutch. develop your true self and assist your kids in doing so,...your energy and vibrancy will rise and your bodily and subtle systems will balance and hold you in a healthy world that exists beyond the bad habits! do it now! look at those innocent babies....aka sponges!

chris christensen - January 31, 2011 9:57 PM

Thanks, Emily! For us, the best approach was to feed our child homemade baby foods blended and fresh veggies from our garden or store. We have always had a small garden, as our yard is really small. However, we have kale running up and down both fences, collard, rainbow chard, mixed in with perennials. Even if you can only plant one or two plants, it allows a better connection of where food comes from for your children to see. (You dont want to trace the fast food back to where it originated,or maybe you do to make a point!). Anyway, when my son was one yr old he would say "want babish" for radish, or "more cado" for avacado. We had him actually "help" plant seeds, water, then pull things up or off. He learned that real food is not "instant". Plants take time to grow and need to be tended. Our bodies need to be tended and cared for also. When they get older you can have them help select the freshest of whatever they like at the store. Make a game out of it. Its basic stewardship. Teaching it is a process and natural, much like the progression of how a child grows and matures.

Sabrina - January 31, 2011 10:54 PM

I admit to giving into the drive-thru or frozen meal every once in a while, when life is crazy or I am pregnant and can't even fathom making a meal. However, the descriptions here make me want to throw up my dinner. I can't imagine letting my child eat ice cream or doritos for dinner. It really is a sad place we have gotten to as a society.

Gerry - January 31, 2011 11:18 PM


Today's blog, "Are children victims of our vices?" by Emily Boller reminded me of a friend whose husband raised their 4 children very austerely compared to the neighborhood kids. They wore hand-me-down clothes worn to a frazzle, and every spare moment was devoted to outside and inside chores followed by school homework. And they watched zero tv because they did not even have one.
When asked why he was so strict with his children the father simply said: "I would rather they dislike me when they are young than hate me when they are older."
Though strict with my own children in a different manner, with hindsight I wished I had taken more time to enjoy them rather than feel so inadequate to the responsibility of raising them. That is why I was quite taken aback a few days ago when I received an email from one of my sons asking for help with his own 4 children, a part of which is excerpted below:
Mom:
"My entire life, you have been the role model for health and fitness. I can remember over forty years ago, you getting up and jogging when I was a child. I can remember the conspicuous lack of junk food in our house growing up. I can remember there were no Fruit Loops or Sugar Pops or Count Chocula in our house. We didn't have candy stocked in the house. There was no shelf dedicated to cokes in the fridge. In middle school years you enrolled me in Gymatlanta while you learned to teach Fitness Classes. By the time I reached high school you were feeding me more that 20 different vitamins, trying to keep me in optimum health, and teaching classes at the recreation center.
You have continued to educate yourself, your family, your friends and untold others, throughout your life. Through every life threatening crises, you have prevailed and increased your knowledge and set the example of what results and rewards healthy choices and determination will bring.
You have always led the way in this family, even though you apparently don't realize it. It is why you are still here. Still leading the way. Even after....I've lost count, of how many nearly fatal, heath crises.
So back to the spoiled child.......I need you to lead the way. I've gotten way off track with nutrition and fitness because my focuses have been almost exclusively on business and staying afloat. The two crucial elements that make life so much more pleasurable, do require planning and thought and that is where I've dropped the ball. I want to raise these once again to a top priority, so I can once again lead my family, and I could use your help."

Needless-to-say, this Mother's "cup was runneth over." --Gerry Coffey, Mother of 5 (one adopted), Grandmother of 10.

Melodee - January 31, 2011 11:29 PM

Yes, our children are victims of our vices. I am a guilty mom. You have opened the eyes of this Mom!

Emily Boller - February 1, 2011 1:09 AM

What a moving letter Gerry. Yes, that would make a mother's cup runneth over! Keep up the great mentoring!

To all parents, keep up the great mentoring! We literally hold the future health destiny of our children in our hands.

Unfortunately, when my children were younger I frequented Playland and purchased Happy Meals many times. There were also times when soccer games, dance practices, and the rat race of *busy-ness* took over and Dairy Queen satisfied tired Mom and children.

If I could rewind the clock back 23 years would I feed my infants, toddlers, children, pre-teens any differently today?

Absolutely. Without a doubt.

Why?

I've been equipped with knowledge.

I have read Dr. Fuhrman's books and articles, listened to Disease Proof Your Child CD in the car, attended his lectures and listened to his teleconferences.

What would happen in America and beyond if every high school graduating senior was required to pass a rigorous 'Cholesterol Protection for Life' and 'Disease Proof Your Child' exam? Fulfilling credits in Algebra, English, History, Science, etc. are required subjects for graduation; how about required knowledge in the most important subject of all - our health destiny?

I suppose making laws to protect minors from purchasing donuts, soft drinks and candy would be a public outcry and would go over like a lead balloon . . . . but perhaps we could provide creative ways to put correct information into their brains. :)

Also, even in a culture with increasingly growing non-traditional roles, women purchase over 90% of this nation's food supply. Doesn't it also make sense to invest time, energy and resources into providing those who do the majoring of food purchasing with correct nutritional information? After all, it's the mothers of this nation that have the most influence in establishing the early eating habits of the next generation.

Correct information will set this nation free.

Here's to optimal health for the next generation and beyond!!

Melody - February 1, 2011 9:54 AM

People have the notion that healthy food is time-consuming and it definitely can be. But how long does it really take to make a healthy stir-fry--15 minutes?? A gigantic salad--15-20 minutes? A sandwich with a healthy bean spread? Making a bean spread takes about 5 minutes with canned or already cooked beans. Cook a large vat of soup on the weekend and you have 5 minute suppers for a few days. Eating healthy doesn't have to be that hard.

Thanks, Emily. Your article is spot-on!

Nigel Puerasch - February 1, 2011 9:26 PM

It's funny, isn't it? Now salad is my favourite food. I love salad and would eat it 3 times a day. I find I need a little concentrated protein with it or I get mild headaches, but really, you can use things like chickpeas (I think Americans call them garbanzos), hummous, peas in their pods, lentils and nuts to give you protein.

We always fed our kids lots of vegetables and they would say, yum! it's broccoli for supper!

Kristen - February 1, 2011 10:24 PM

There is no recognition by society that these foods are deadly. We all live in denial. Sometimes I feel like I am swimming upstream alone in trying to follow the eat to live eating style!

Sue Henry - February 2, 2011 10:51 AM

When raising our son, some 35 years ago, McDonalds was our favorite hangout! My husband and I had quarter pounders with cheese, large fries and usually a sweet soft drink while our son always had the "happy meal". Why do they call them that? They are NOT happy...should be the "unhealthy meal". Birthday parties were held at McDonalds with burgers, cake, ice cream, etc.

I topped out at 235 pounds...my husband wore a size 42 pants and our son went from the "thin kid" to "marshmallow man!"

I have lost over 100 pounds...I am a nutritarian...my husband is down to a 36 pants and our son and family are vegetarians...it is so good to see our 8 year old grandson with his salads, veggies and fruits!!!!!!

Come on, America...fess up...we are killing our people with these deadly foods!!!

Eileen - February 2, 2011 12:21 PM

This is a fantastic article! Being a mother myself, I can truely relate to everything this article mentions. Like a lot of American parents, it seems too easy at times to just take a quick run through the nearest drive thru or order in pizza, but unlike most American parents, I am totally riddled with guilt if I am not feeding my daughter an optimum diet.

Yesterday was a great day for America because the most influencial woman on Earth, Oprah, had a show dedicated to Veganism. She has challenged her staff to go Vegan for one week and the results we pretty tell tale. One staffer lost 11 pounds and proclaimed he felt better than he has in years. It was great to see mainstream media promote the Vegan lifestyle benefits. I am positive there are a lot of Mothers out there that watched that episode of Oprah.

It is also great to see the attention being focused on the lack of healthfulness in the school lunch programs across the US. That has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. It angers me to know what kinds of junk is fed to millions of children everyday at school. I thought school was supposed to be a place of learning how to be an educated productive member of society, yet children are fed poisonous "food" on a daily basis and recieve little to no education on nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet.

Robin - February 2, 2011 1:24 PM

Oh how I wish I had found this way of living 20 years ago. I was a really good mom but this would have made me a great mom!

Jessica Marie - February 5, 2011 3:18 PM

Great article, lots of food for thought, literally. I have been a nutritarian for almost two years and changed my life, have my dream body and energy and wellness, yet find it a struggle to feed my three year old little boy and only child, like I do myself. Ours is a household where I am the only nutritarian, andwhile supportive of me eating this way and even of me having my son eat this way, my Husband loves to cook "his kind of food" and is quite good at it and strongly desires our son to enjoy his cooking despite hearing me rant and rave about nutritarian life every day! He even recruits people for me to help transition in his office, the way he talks about how it's completely changed me for the better.

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders, fighting an uphill battle trying to preserve my son's tastes for my food and way of life I've worked so hard to impress on him whilst his Daddy (whom I love bunches by the way) brings home the bacon, quite literally, along with making homemade fries, steaks, burgers, stews, cheesy pastas, candy and other BBQ-esque dishes that smell way better than mine in a side by side comparison especially to a non-nutritarian or a tiny child. Confession, I haven't put my foot down and said "enough is enough, I am not playing russian roulette with my son's health" and only serve him my food or bust...it's just that my heart melts into a puddle when I see his wide eyes running in to try what Daddy, his Hero, has made. He still prefers apples and grapes to chocolate and cake any day of the week, but I feel like such a failure for not giving his health all the consideration and effort I have given mine. Where do we draw the line? How much is enough? What more can I do but lead with unfailing example? I am a nutritarian role model. What is my problem? Thanks for the sobering article, Emily. As always, you touched a deep nerve.

Tomorrow is a new day, and I have much to think about. I am going to be checking back here to see if anyone has any words for me, i honestly want to hear them. I have read Disease Proof Your Child and every book Dr. Fuhrman has written and more, for the record. I suppose this is less about having the recipes and knowledge, and more with how to appropriately help a toddler who doesn't understand about health yet beyond "This food will make you strong, this food hurts your body" as I have been teaching him, to eat in a health promoting manner when my other half encourages the opposite and I cannot change it. Mitch Spinach is too advanced for him to grasp just yet, but we have it too ;)

My Husband is a tough one to get to change, as he used to be weight lifter, and is used to being in pristine health, magazine like shape, and never getting sick all the while eating junk lol.

Jessie aka Jemoiselle

peggy - February 6, 2011 6:07 AM

i agree that these children are victims.

some would even say abused.

Jessica Marie - February 9, 2011 11:03 AM

Back to report my son has been 100% Nutritarian for three days now, following my reading this article and commenting. It seems I answered my own questions. What a relief off of me to know we can do this and happily! He is loving his food, and while he has asked for a few of the other foods, he has easily accepted Nutritarian food offered as an alternative. I had no idea it would be this easy and enjoyable to feed a little child like this. Thanks for this great article. Sometimes we need a little tough love! It helped for me to hear it as it is. Whether it's food or information, this blog never sugar coats anything! lol

Jemoiselle

Emily Boller - February 9, 2011 3:56 PM

That's great Jessica!

Yes, sometimes posting thoughts answers our own questions!

You are a wonderful Mom - your son is blessed to have you care so much for him. Keep up the great job of swimming upstream in the midst of everyone else (at least that's how it seems at times) swimming in the opposite direction. :)

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