Mad about healthcare? Then do something about your health.

Posted on March 26, 2010

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Watching Jamie Olivers’ series on ABC that started this week, is so sad as we see child after child who is heavy, kids

What a typical Japanese school lunch looks like.

 who are in middle school being tested for type-II diabetes, school administrators unwilling to see what is staring them in the face – that they’ve sold out their school to processed food companies. (Calm down school administrators…I get it, you have no money & its lucrative to have fast food places set up shop in the cafeteria, and to order preservative-filled chickens, and to have Coca-Cola drop some coin with you to put a soda machine in the cafeteria…but we’ve got to find some other way for you to get good food into your schools. Getting cheaper product now is going to cost us dearly in the long run, to the tune of 147 million, which is the latest figure outlining the true cost of obesity in this country.)

So many people are upset about the decisions our has made this past week; passing a health care insurance reform bill has angered many, but it was something. It was a start. It may not be anywhere near perfect, but it’s a step towards trying to have more people in this country have access to health care – which again, is fine once you’re sick. But what about when you’re trying to stay healthy???

Frankly, health care insurance reform is fine for a person once they are sick, but currently, far too many Americans still aren’t doing anything about taking action for their health, the health of their family, & the health of their community. If we did that, we’d have far less need for health care insurance reform.

Watching Jamie’s show tonight has fired me up more than ever to get through to people about what a really big deal it is that they eat the proper food. And I wasn’t always this way, so I can relate to those of you out there whose taste buds enjoy pizzas & cakes & soda. For the bulk of my life, I too enjoyed the taste of those foods – little did I know how much they were harming my health! And with a few exceptions, I rarely cooked at home. Just ask Drew – the 1st year of our dating life I think I cooked the following meal 3 out of 4 nights that he’d come over for dinner. *Pre-formed factory-farmed turkey burgers grilled with swiss cheese & High Fructose Corn Syrup-filled BBQ sauce *Microwaved frozen peas/carrots/corn (the most useless of all veg!) *Microwave in the bag brown rice…..and some of you may be saying right now, “but that sounds fine & healthy!” And compared to picking up McD’s, it is! But it is a far cry from a nutritionally complete meal.

And that is why I cannot stress enough to you- It’s OK to not know what to do with food right now. We’ve been confused by savvy marketers and seen quality become overtaken by convenience. It’s OK not to know what to do, as long as you’re willing to learn…and keep learning. Because to understand food & nutrition truly is to learn a language. And this language is constantly evolving. As we learn more about nutrients, how food production affects quality, and what foods work for us and which ones do not, we become more educated & thus, can make better choices.

When I was in college, I thought a certain cereal bar was a perfect way to start the day – 9o cals, minimal protein, carbs & gluten galore – the perfect way to raise my inflammation & get fat. I thought it was better than eating a doughnut (which I guess it was) but still – there are infinitely better options out there (like Greek yogurt!) I just didn’t know about them yet, and once I learned it, I never went back to the old ways. Because once someone has proved to you that the sun is yellow – how can you ever think that it’s green? Once you know that cereal bars are a poor way to start the day, why would you continue to choose them? If you’re informed, then you’re empowered. And you’re in control.

Here’s an article for you to get going on improving your childs’ nutrition so they aren’t facing the same health crises your generation is (although they are already pegged to be the 1st generation to live shorter lives than any other previous one if we don’t change things). And since your kids spend a large part of their week at school, here’s the low-down on what the “school guidelines” say is “healthy” – which they are not. Also, you can support local agriculture by Google-ing “CSA” to find local farms that will be selling their fruits, veggies & proteins this year. And, in April, PBS will be airing ‘Food, Inc.’ – the most real documentary about the sorry state of our food supply ever. It’s a must watch.

If you’re not doing anything about your health, I’m not so sure you have a right to complain about health care insurance – since those of us working to stay healthy are going to be the ones paying for you when you get sick with diseases at 30 that you shouldn’t even be able to get until 50+. But I think we can do one better than discussing who’s right with health care insurance reform – we can work as a community to improve the health of ourselves & everyone around us. We CAN turn the tide – and there really are people out there (like me!) who want that tide to turn & would do anything to make it happen! So grab an oar & start paddling so we can get this ship turned around & have a healthier, happier society in our lifetime!

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