Thursday, December 5, 2013

An idea worth spreading..



The cultural values of food in the US should be considered abnormal to the rest of the world because we have distorted our priorities.  The importance of individual satisfaction and pleasure along with the greed of profit and power has overcome the importance of treating each and every American with dignity and respect, and providing fair access to healthy food, regardless of socio-economic status. Our constant demand for more and more in the States allows retailers to inflate prices unnecessarily on most consumer goods, but most painfully, on food.  Our excessive demand for meat has lead to the decay of agriculture in the States.  A disproportionate amount of arable land in the US is now solely dedicated to producing soy and corn products to feed livestock.

In a nation that is as wealthy as the US, there is no rhyme or reason to have such a high rate of obesity and perpetuate such an extreme disconnect from nature and what we naturally need in our diets.

Instead of fighting a war on obesity, we should be fighting for healthier food choices in all public places. Americans need better access to locally grown, seasonal, fresh produce on every street corner, in every 7-11, restaurant, cafe, etc. I personally don't eat meat and try to avoid processed foods, which means it’s nearly impossible for me to eat on the run in the States.

Here in Shanghai there are wet markets on almost every street corner.  These wet markets offer locally grown, seasonal and affordable produce from local Chinese farmers.  In Spain, I also find it easier to access locally grown, seasonal and affordable produce from local farmers.  Given our global evolution to being outside the home more frequently than ever, it only makes sense to increase the availability and access to healthy food choices beyond traditional supermarkets.

Increasing the availability and access to healthy food choices is urgently true for children in public schools.  Every child should be taught nutrition, every child should learn how to prepare basic and healthy recipes, and every child's lunch plate should be a rainbow of color, not 4 different shades of white (french fries, pizza, mac and cheese and/or PB&J).

Students should be practicing the components of wellness in developmentally appropriate ways throughout their K-12 education. Students should also be measured for body composition and then referred to the child study team/have an IEP written like any other learning/behavioral/emotional disorder to correct unhealthy behavior and habits.

This is an idea worth spreading; buy produce locally, buy produce in the most natural form, and buy produce when it’s in season.  Lastly, please always seek alternatives to meat and processed food products.  It’s more important for our planet, health and future generations than you probably realize!

Wishing you and yours a healthy Thursday!

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