Wednesday, March 1, 2017
WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Respect Your Food
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
-- Dalai Lama
One of the first lessons we teach kids during the educational programs at Growing Healthy Kids is about treating food with respect. This is why we take “field” trips to local farmers markets and introduce kids to the farmers and the vegetables they are growing. We believe that when you know where your food comes from and you know how it is grown, that you will make better choices by respecting your food and how good you feel when you eat good food.
Recently, I taught a healthy eating program for children attending an afterschool program where the local school district provides daily snacks. Since part of the lesson was about reading food labels and raising awareness about what you consume, I checked out the day’s snack the children were given. The drink, with 20 grams of sugar, was apple juice: “100% apple juice”. I read the nutrition facts label. The ingredients were: “water, apple juice concentrate, calcium, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D3. Contains concentrate from China.” China??? Why are schools buying apple juice from China? Something is wrong. Very wrong.
America’s children who qualify for free and reduced school meal programs are being fed foods and drinks from China? What other food products contain ingredients grown in countries where we have no idea what chemicals are being used?
As a parent concerned about the health of children, I know that when we eat foods grown organically and free of chemicals that come from laboratories, we will be healthier. As an epidemiologist who looks at the root causes of diseases, I know that we must ask about the relationship between foods grown with hormones, pesticides, insecticides and fungicides and diseases such as obesity and heart disease.
Read food labels. Ask questions. Our children’s health – and lives – are at stake.
With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.