Happy New Year…

Happy new year to all of you!  It’s this time of year that I’m reminded of what prompted me to start this blog in the first place.  As some of you may remember from previous posts, when I first transitioned to healthier eating it had very little to do with the kids and everything to do with me.  I’d had enough of feeling tired, forgetful and I refused to go up yet another jean size.  I slowly started making changes to the way I ate and noticed that over time I was feeling much more focused and had much more energy than ever before.  This peaked my interest in the topic of how food effects not only our weight, but also our body’s ability to function.  The more I read about the topic, the more I knew I needed to make some changes not only for me but also for my family.    As much as I wanted to learn about food and the role it plays in our bodies, I must admit I was little taken aback by some of the startling statistics I discovered as a result.

As you can see from the charts below the obesity rate in America has skyrocketed over the years.

In the past 20 years obesity rates in adults have doubled and for children they have tripled.  One in three children in the U.S. are obese and 40% of America’s children are overweight.  Of those children 50% of them will remain overweight into adulthood.  Not surprisingly, there has been an increase in the number of children diagnosed with hypertension, asthma, type II diabetes, sleep apnea and gallstones.  In all of my research the one statistic that really jumped out at me is that 1 in 3 children born in the United States after the year 2000 will be diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

So why is it that we find ourselves in such a predicament here in the United States?  It seems to me there is a direct correlation between obesity rates and the way our food is being manufactured.  As a nation we like food!  We want it fast, we want it now, and we want it cheap.  In order to meet the demand food manufacturers fill their food with sugar, oil, preservatives, saturated fat, and food dyes.  Because these filler foods lack the nutrients and fiber of the original food source they are incapable of sustaining people.  These foods wreak havoc on blood sugar levels and have very little, if any, ability to nourish the human body.

A few years ago as I was exploring healthier eating options for my family, I recorded our average daily consumption of sugar over the course of a week.  The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to 4 tsp/day (20 grams) for children, 6.5 tsp/day (32 grams) for women, and 9 tsp/day (40 grams) for men.  My kids were eating what I thought was “relatively” healthy, but when we got to the end of the week we discovered they were averaging close to 70 grams of sugar per day…nearly double the recommended daily intake.   Common sense told me to limit the amount of sugary drinks, candy, and other “junk” food but I had no idea just how much sugar is packed into seemingly “healthy” food.    If you look at the ingredients of most pre-packaged food you’ll find sugar disguised as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, maple syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate…just to name a few.  You’ll find sugar in ketchup, canned fruit, canned vegetables, peanut butter, low-fat products, flavored yogurt, vitamin water, juice, and a host of other items!  It’s no wonder our sugar consumption in the United States today is 733% higher than it was in the 1800′s (no, that is NOT a typo).

 

Over the past two years we have taken baby steps to eliminate processed foods and sugar from our household.  For those of you who have made “healthy eating” a resolution for 2012, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth all the effort and then some!  Thanks to all of you who continue to read this blog.  I love sharing my passion for healthy eating and I’m thrilled to know that parents are finding way to introduce wholesome foods to their picky eaters.  Here’s to a wonderful 2012 and I wish all of you the very best!

Today’s lunch includes:  nitrite free ham/cheese sandwich, celery with natural peanut butter, strawberries/blueberries, string cheese, peanut butter and chocolate chunk muffin packed in a Go Green Lunch Box

This entry was posted in health statistics, holidays, themed lunches and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Happy New Year…

  1. Andrea says:

    Glad to read this post. I started this past summer to change the way we eat so it’s nice to read a post like this one every now and then as a reminder that it is worth the effort. We are by no means as far along as you are – the ingredients in Maria’s blog that you link to scare me! – but I’m making baby steps. :)

  2. shelley says:

    Wow, that chart is really scary. I live in one of the worst states, and fit that demographic perfectly. I found your site looking for cute lunches for my son, but soon linked to Maria’s site, and am learning a whole new way of eating. It can be overwhelming, but the results so far are worth it, and I’m looking forward to expanding on it. Thanks for your site and the links and motivation!

  3. Megan says:

    I’m a health educator and I will be presenting on childhood obesity in a couple weeks. I’ve tried to find on the AHA’s website the sugar recommendations and can’t seem to find it. Could you send me the link or the source where you got the sugar recommendation?

    I’m also curious about what types of sugars. If I’m eating an apple with natural sugars does that count agaisnt the allotted daily recommendation?

  4. Karen says:

    Thank you, Jamie, for your creative lunches and your passion to share your healthy eating habits with the rest of us. You inspire moms to take control of our family’s diet and health, while making it fun!

  5. Usha says:

    Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year. Thank you for sharing your creative ideas and inspiring moms to pack and eat healthy fun lunches. I cannot thank you enough for helping me pack better lunches for my 3 year old son.

  6. Kim says:

    I am reading “Sugar Nation” by Jeff O’Connell right now. Wow is it an eye-opener. And because of it, we’re making HUGE changes in our lifestyle and diet– and we are healthy eaters to begin with! And it shows basically how we’re all eating ourselves to diabetes and all the illnesses and problems (including obesity) that are *caused* by diabetes. I highly recommend it.

  7. FunkySteph says:

    Thanks to you to take the time writing this blog, sharing this beautiful lunches and great snacks ideas and recipes. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  8. cvjn says:

    I’m de-lurking to say “thanks.” I have girls aged 4 and 8 and your blog is an ispiration to me. The more I read about how hard our bodies fight to keep fat on, the more commited I am to keeping it off of my children, and myself. I’m glad to see in today’s post that you did it taking baby steps. It’s easy for me to look at your posts and be overwhelmed by the idea of achieving your level of dietary vigilance, but I’m inspired now to set some small, achievable goals, and keep working for our best health.

    Best to you and your family in the new year.

  9. Hollie says:

    You are such an inspiration and help to me – Please keep this up! I even gave my kids a PowerPoint presentation on sugar with help from the information on your blog. It helped me explain to them why I would monitor how many treats they could have. Thanks!

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