If you are a Time reader, or are aware of the front cover controversy this week, you may have been extremely unnerved by the mom with her 3 year old sucking on her breast. I have a boy the exact same age and when Judah was born I felt extreme pressure from other Moms to breastfeed. He had formula and breast milk for 4 months. And even though he was on the ‘dreaded’ formula it didn’t affect his health or our ability to bond in the slightest. In fact, he didn’t have so much as a runny nose for over 2 years and believe me that wasn’t because he had breast milk. It was much more likely to do with how I nourished him afterwards.
Moms often forget that many of our generation were fed on formula and not only are we healthy, but are also healthily bonded with our parents. So let’s now focus on the real and much bigger issue at hand, which is, what are we feeding our children once they have finished breast-feeding?
When the same breast-feeding ‘Nazi’ Mom’s who I know transferred their kids on to ‘real food’ I noticed they were not feeding them ‘real’ food at all, they were feeding them packaged foods, foods loaded with additives, artificial flavoring and sugars. (Sugar being one of our biggest addictions apart from worrying too much, but that’s another article!)
My concern is exactly the same as Jamie Oliver’s. Which is why I agreed to be an Ambassador for The Food Revolution. If the tomato paste on pizza is passed by congress as a vegetable. If 6 year olds have no clue what a tomato looks like, then we are at a critical point and desperately need to bring food education back in to schools. With this sort of misguided knowledge, or lack of it, it is no wonder that world wide obesity has more than doubled, it’s no wonder that people get so many debilitating diseases and it is no wonder that more that 2.8 million people round the world die from being over weight.
We need to teach our kids not only where food comes from, but what is ‘real’ food and what is ‘fake’ food… what food nourishes the body and gives it energy and what food takes it away.
In my book How Happy is Your Health? 50 Great Tips to Help You Live a Long, Happy and Healthy Life one of the revealing quiz question asks you to choose:
Do you treat your body as:
Your best friend?
A separate object, to be used and abused?
A fair-weather friend? You love it when it’s in great condition and dislike it when it’s not on top form.
At the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, Dr. Kollath did an experiment whereby he put some animals on a Western diet of cooked and processed food and others on a diet of raw food to see what happened to their bodies. Initially there was no difference, however as the animals became adults those on a standard Western diet started to develop chronic, degenerative diseases resembling what we have in our Western diets such as osteoarthritis, constipation and osteoporosis. They found that the only way to bring the animals back to full health was to put them on the raw food diet. It stands to reason that the body cannot function properly for a long period of time on additives. And that is why Jamie, myself, and many other experts are advocates for putting our kids on a mainly additive-free diet, if you want them to live a long, disease-free life.
The real question, I say in the introduction of How Happy is Your Health? is ‘‘How will the way I treat my body now affect in 5 years, 10 years and 40 years from now?’ If how you are taking care of you body now will support your long-term vitality and help slow down your aging, then go for it, otherwise you need to change some habits before it’s too late.’
So what better way to kick-start some new habits with Food Revolution Day on Saturday May 19th? A day dedicated to getting you to focus on food issues, and the importance of food education. There are events all over the world – in parks, in homes, gardens and restaurants. You can check the site to see if there is an event going on in your area, if there aren’t any, you could organize your own ‘real food’ dinner party for friends and family and converse on what ‘real’ food is. You can learn a new healthy recipe or take a trip to your farmers market to support your local farmers. Make sure that whatever you do you pledge support to bring food education to schools. And, if you’re a new Mom, or Mom to be, perhaps you can use this day to decide to worry less about how long you are going to breast feed for and to educate yourself on how you can healthily nourish your kids once they are off the milk.
In a joint campaign to raise consciousness about health, How Happy is Your Health? will be profiled on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution website throughout the month of June. For more info about Sophie Keller and the ‘How Happy is’ brand and book series go here. You can follow Sophie on twitter @Sophie_Keller and connect on Facebook, to get daily tips to help you to become happier in your love life, home and health.